I came from the business world and it feels like home to me. The planning, strategizing, organizing, and leading are energizing and bring me back to my own days as a successful business executive. My experience was the perfect foundation to build Saddleback@Work, the workplace ministry of Saddleback Church. The experience made it easy for me to pastor hundreds of people in the marketplace, but I have realized that my experience is not the norm. I have met many wonderful pastors who have a desire to effectively pastor their working congregation but in many cases struggle to connect with the individual in their work or to understand their work life.
Most pastors have no trouble making hospital visits when one of their church members is sick. When I ask what medical training they have to pastor someone in the hospital they tell me, ‘none.’ In the hospital, your church member is looking for you to be their pastor not their doctor. And your working congregation is looking for you to be their pastor in all the areas of their life, not to solve their business and work problems.
The role and influence of today’s pastor is more needed (and bigger) than ever before. Your influence and shaping can impact thousands of people and places of work.
Seven things a pastor can do to guide business leaders (and others):
1. Increase understanding on the integration of faith, work, and economics.
Books such as Business for the Glory of God by Wayne Grudem, Work Matters by Tom Nelson, and Business for the Common Good by Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae are a few of my picks. www.theologyofwork.org has a robust website with articles, resources, and an in-depth biblical review for each book of the Bible. www.convenenow.com is a nationwide group of Christian CEOs growing exceptional businesses built on kingdom principles.
2. Join a community of like-minded pastors in this conversation.
Made to Flourish, a pastors network for the common good, is an effective forum for pastors to support and learn from one another, access tools, resources, and assistance: www.madetoflourish.org
3. Visit your business leaders at their place of business.
Walk with them and experience their life on a regular basis. Understand how their company operates, their challenges and opportunities.
4. Read what your business leaders are reading.
Pick up the latest management, leadership, or business book and discuss it with your business leaders. Subscribe to a journal or business magazine to keep current with business and economic trends.
5. Consider the needs of the unemployed in your church.
Consider what your church can do to provide assistance in finding a job, from résumé writing to interviewing skills. The unemployed may be a talent pool for your business leaders.
6. Find someone in your church who is passionate about this topic.
Pray for and find individuals with whom you can collaborate and empower to lead and develop initiatives in your church for your working congregation.
7. Cast a vision of a whole-life discipleship church.
Helping your congregation identify the godly value in their daily work, at home and in the marketplace, is not another idea to add, but one to integrate into the ministries and culture of our churches.
You don’t need to be an expert in every person’s field of work – just your own. Who can you pastor in their work life today?
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