30 Simple Ways To Be Missional In Your Workplace

30 Simple Ways To Be Missional In Your Workplace

I was looking for some inspiration to share on being a witness in the workplace the other day and stumbled upon this list. It was compiled a couple years ago by Josh Reeves, who is the Lead Planting Pastor with Redeemer Church in Round Rock, Texas.

Josh offers some great ideas to bring Jesus into the workplace. His list doesn’t include the stereo-typical leaving a Bible sitting on your desk or a Christian screensaver on your Mac or PC. It doesn’t even include wearing a cool t-shirt on casual Fridays, WWJD bracelets, crosses, jewellery or bumper stickers.

Instead, Josh lists very simple actions. Intentional, kind moments that are breaths of fresh air. Gentle glimpses of life as it was meant to be, even on the job.

It might seem strange that I would think of such things given I am no-longer in secular employment. But the heart behind this advice rings true no matter who you work alongside. Wouldn’t we all prefer to work in an uplifting environment?

Actually… I mostly work from home and I don’t see many people during my day. But I can still make deliberate choices to be salt and light in my encounters with other people and support my husband in being missional at his work.

As you read this list, I challenge you to ponder Josh’s ideas and see if they spark other possibilities. Let the Holy Spirit help you stir up pleasant, Jesus-like experiences for your co-workers and, if you’re in a similar situation to mine, help you support someone else put this into practice.

  1. Instead of eating lunch alone, intentionally eat with other co-workers and learn their story.
  2. Get to work early so you can spend some time praying for your co-workers and the day ahead.
  3. Make it a daily priority to speak or write encouragement when someone does good work.
  4. Bring extra snacks when you make your lunch to give away to others.
  5. Bring breakfast (donuts, burritos, cereal, etc.) once a month for everyone in your department.
  6. Organize a running/walking group in the before or after work.
  7. Have your missional community/small group bring lunch to your workplace once a month.
  8. Create a regular time to invite co-workers over or out for drinks.
  9. Make a list of your co-workers birthdays and find a way to bless everyone on their birthday.
  10. Organize and throw office parties as appropriate to your job.
  11. Make every effort to avoid gossip in the office. Be a voice of thanksgiving not complaining.
  12. Find others that live near you and create a car pool.
  13. Offer to throw a shower for a co-worker who is having a baby.
  14. Offer to cover for a co-worker who needs off for something.
  15. Start a regular lunch out with co-workers (don’t be selective on the invites).
  16. Organize a weekly/monthly pot luck to make lunch a bit more exciting.
  17. Ask someone who others typically ignore if you can grab them a soda/coffee while you’re out.
  18. Be the first person to greet and welcome new people.
  19. Make every effort to know the names of co-workers and clients along with their families.
  20. Visit co-workers when they are in the hospital.
  21. Bring sodas or work appropriate drinks to keep in your break room for co-workers to enjoy. Know what your co-workers like.
  22. Go out of your way to talk to your janitors and cleaning people who most people overlook.
  23. Find out your co-workers favourite music and make a playlist that includes as much as you can (if suitable for work).
  24. Invite your co-workers in to the service projects you are already involved in.
  25. Start/join a city league team with your co-workers.
  26. Organize a weekly co-working group for local entrepreneurs at a local coffee shop.
  27. Start a small business that will bless your community and create space for mission.
  28. Work hard to reconcile co-workers who are fighting with one another.
  29. Keep small candy, gum, or little snacks around to offer to others during a long day.
  30. Lead the charge in organizing others to help co-workers in need.

Now, the challenge. Step out in faith and intentionally give it a go!

We’d love it if you would share some of your ideas here and stories of your experiences.

 

Blessings,

Gayann

Gayann_thumbnailGayann  and her husband, Stephen, have provided web design and email communication support to NZCN since 2006. She has home schooled their two children for the past nine years, but was ‘made redundant’ at the start of 2013. Since then, she has taken a more active role with NZCN. Her family fellowships at Grace Church, Auckland – which is part of Newfrontiers.
 
Read more of Gayann’s stories by selecting her name in the tag list below.

 

Four Words on Living All of Life Faith

Four Words on Living All of Life Faith

by Nigel Dixon
member of NZCN All of Life Faith discussion group

I guess my concern, as I write these words, is to express the essential core of what it means to be Christian in our context. So, in choosing these words, I am seeking words that can define us as a community as well as being missional (there being an integrity between how we live together and how we face/embrace the world).

Living the story

We are called to live in the story that begins with creation and concludes with the completion of the new creation – in the story of God. This narrative invites us to take part in God’s unfolding purposes and longings for human life and the care of creation. This story centres on Jesus who incarnated God, who Died and rose again and reigns as King and calls us to live in this kingdom reality and kingdom dream. We invite every person to be participators in this new covenant and new creation.

Living as community

Karl Barth once said; ‘there is no such thing as an individual christian’ yet our culture, however, has radcially individualized the way we see our lives and the way we live together. Central to Jesus’ mission (indeed the whole Bible) is the formation of a community that would live in the life of God – for the sake of the world. This community, the church, to called to live incarnationally (forgiving, serving,…), relationally (committed friendships, healthy marriages…), missionally, the message they know and believe.

Living vocationally

Every person is God breathed and God called . Our human journey, in part, is a journey of discovering who we are, how we are wired, and how to serve God best in the world. The church, therefore, ought to be deeply committed to helping people discover who they are and supporting them as they navigate their way in the world. This involves valuing the world of work – that the church is developing leaders and giftedness to bless, and to have influence, in the world.

Living compassionately

The church is a community that lives for the sake of the vulnerable, the disadvantaged, the outsider. Loving our neighbour, whether they are in Christian community or outside it, is the essence of Christlikeness. Jesus always practiced a radical inclusion of the outsider – this involves seeing people, accepting people and acting with compassion; hospitality, generosity and creativity for the sake of the other.

Nigel Dixon a member of NZCN’s All of Life Faith discussion group. He is a life coach, husband, father, and bible teacher. He completed a post-graduate theological study through Regent College in Vancouver. He loves exploring scripture and culture and the challenge that being Christian poses in a post-Christian world. Nigel is employed part-time by Emmaus to organise the curriculum and lecture. He is the author of  Villages Without Walls.

Better than prayer in schools

Better than prayer in schools

Wow, what a statement. I didn’t know what to think when I saw the title of the video clip that one of NZCN’s Secularism discussion panel members circulated, but I’m glad I watched it.

What Role Can Churches Play in Community Renewal?

On 9 August, 2013, The NY Times shared the story of Kip Jacob’s church in Portland, Oregon and the amazing partnership they’ve had with Roosevelt High School. Help from Evangelicals (Without Evangelizing) The Times called it. The initial paragraph reads:

PORTLAND, Ore. — Four summers ago, on her first day as an administrator at Roosevelt High School here, Charlene Williams heard that the Christians were coming. Some members of an evangelical church were supposed to be painting hallways, repairing bleachers, that sort of thing. The prospect of such help, in the fervently liberal and secular microclimate of Portland, did not exactly fill her with joy.

Following is a  6:31 minute sizzle reel of the documentary made about the project.

Qideas.com filmed an interview with Kip Jacobs, pastor at SouthLake Church, about this project.  Click here to watch the story of what happens when a mostly white, affluent suburban church shows up at the doorsteps of an urban high school with a desire to work together. Through his experience, Jacob challenges churches to get involved with their neighbourhood schools and invest in their renewal.

After watching these videos, I followed the link on Qideas.org to a follow-up story. In this clip, The presenter interviews two friends, Tom Krattenmaker, who is a regular contributor to USA Today, and Kevin Palau, president of the Luis Palau Association, as they discuss how God is moving in Portland, what dynamics are at play that movements in other cities might resemble and urge us to prepare for future cultural shifts.

Other videos about this particular project in Portland can be found on the BeUndivided YouTube channel. Their website, which is full of resources and ideas, can be accessed here.

What do you think? Is it better than prayer in schools? What can we take from this and apply to our culture, here in Aotearoa?

Please leave your thoughts and comments below and share this link with others. Challenge your Christian friends to think about what role they can take while living in a secular society. We look forward to the discussions!

 

Blessings,

Gayann

Gayann_thumbnailGayann  and her husband, Stephen, have provided web design and email communication support to NZCN since 2006. She has home schooled their two children for the past nine years, but was ‘made redundant’ at the start of 2013. Since then, she has taken a more active role with NZCN. Her family fellowships at Grace Church, Auckland – which is part of Newfrontiers.
 
Read more of Gayann’s stories by selecting her name in the tag list below.

 

Last week, we posted an essay by EAUK’s Danny Webster titled One Way Christians Can Respond to Secularism. In his essay, Danny described how the churches of Southampton partnered with local government when the council asked for their help. Fantastic.

 

One Way Christians Can Respond to Secularism

One Way Christians Can Respond to Secularism

One of NZ Christian Network’s objectives is to help NZ Christians understand and respond to secularism.  The following article is relevant and hopefully might stimulate some local initiatives.

How UK Christians Can Respond to Secularism?

Instead of separating from our local government, churches in my hometown partnered with it. Danny Webster | 19 August, 2013

It is supposedly the place where King Canute stood and futilely ordered the sea to retreat. It’s certainly the place King Henry V set sail from to reach the Battle of Agincourt. The gate through which the troops marched stands in a forgotten corner of the city. It is the place where the Titanic set sail. On that fateful voyage, 549 people from this city lost their lives.

Illustrious history mixed with patches of ignominy. Sacked by the French in the 14th century, walls restored and strengthened, never again breached. Struck by the plague soon after and again, 300 years later. A city defined by fears of invasion as well as the prospect of prosperity brought through its docks. Its proximity to the sea and other countries both a virtue and a threat.

It’s also where I grew up. Several years ago, the leaders of Southampton, on the south coast of England 70 miles out of London, adopted a vision statement: Southampton would be a city that is “good to grow up in and good to grow old in.” A few years before, Eugene Peterson had used similar language to interpret Zechariah’s ancient words: “Old men and old women will come back to Jerusalem, sit on benches on the streets and spin tales, move around safely with their canes—a good city to grow old in. And boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing—a good city to grow up in.”

 

Praying on the City Walls

Around the time the City Council was unintentionally borrowing from the Old Testament, I stood on the city walls. Every other Wednesday night at midnight, a small group of us met here to pray. We looked out over the developments rising from land reclaimed from the sea. We looked down to see revellers staggering from bar to bar, and the homeless man shrunk beneath a park bench. On one occasion, a larger group gathered—too many for our regular perch—so we moved in front of the main city gate. There we knelt. And we prayed. We prayed for our families, for our friends, but most of all, for our city.

Five years ago I left Southampton, a place that will in some way always be home. My parents remain; my sister and her family too. My nephew Josiah, born a few weeks ago, entered this world in the same hospital ward I did nearly 30 years ago. It is a city I love, and a city in difficult times. But Southampton is also a city with churches committed to helping it prosper once again.

In 1925, the Methodist Central Hall was built in the center of Southampton. On the scaffolding stretching across the half-finished structure hung a sign calling for workers. But it wasn’t a call for carpenters and masons; it was a call for workers to carry out the work of the church: “Workers wanted with grace, grit, and gumption.” For a food bank, a clothing bank, a poor man’s lawyer, maternity care, Boys’ Brigade, Girls’ Brigade. It is not a new thing for the church to serve the city. It is just something it has on occasion forgot.

If the church really has good news, then it needs to make a difference to those who need it most. And Southampton, like communities across the United Kingdom, is in need. One London Borough produced a graph showing their declining income against the rising cost of adult and child social care. By 2022, they will afford nothing else. That means no libraries, no youth clubs, no pot holes filled, no bins collected. The funding crisis for local government in the UK is very real, urgent, and will get worse before it gets worse

About the time I was praying on the walls of the city, the Council was also reforming the governance of several schools. They invited bids from businesses, universities, and charities to take over running the schools. In a fit of outrageous desire to serve the city, my church, New Community Southampton, threw its hat into the ring. Four schools being merged into two, in two different but similarly deprived parts of the city, contracted out as part of the government’s academies program for 125 years. And they chose us.

It nearly brought the City Council down, I sat above the chamber as it tabled a vote of no confidence in the elected leader, then passed only because of a renegade councillor voting against her party. Billy Kennedy, senior leader of New Community Church, Southampton, signed on the dotted line. By doing so, he took responsibility for the schools for over a century to come. In the years since, the church has built relationships with the local government, and improving exam results have demonstrated credibility. In Southampton, and throughout the UK, local churches are becoming the preferred partners for local government.

 

Christians Creating Jobs

In the light of the budget cuts faced by the council—£25 million to go this year, and again the next, and the next; 300 jobs going this year alone—the council asked for churches’ help. And that little bit of grammar matters. It was the churches together, not one in competition or isolation from others, from across the city, all committed to seeing Southampton become a place that more reflects the kingdom of God. A place that is good to grow up in, and a place good to grow old in.

Southampton has prospered from its position as a trading port, bringing employment to many. This summer, Ford will close its assembly plant on the edge of the city. In 1910 Ford opened its first UK dealership in the city, with a manufacturing plant following in 1939. For generations the factory has provided work. One employee commented on the closure: “My dad worked here in 1972 for 25 years. I’ve worked here for 25 years. I’m not sure what I’ll do.”

The City Council leader met with the churches who wanted to help address unemployment. They could help with youth unemployment, they were told. They could help with youth clubs, childcare, and the shortfall of families willing to foster and adopt in the city. From across the city, 400 people from churches of every stripe met to hear the challenges and consider what they could do. They prayed and then got practical.

Christian businessmen and women started to ask what they can do to create jobs. There is the scandal of private fostering companies making money out of the lack of families able to provide a home for some of the city’s most vulnerable children. Because the local council cannot find enough families for children in care they pay private companies, at a very inflated rate, to find these places. The city needs 40 more families, and the churches have committed to find them—at last count 39 families from churches in the city have stepped up and applied to become carers. If they make it they’ll save the city £1.2 million by doing away with the need for private foster agencies.

Council budget cuts will mean all the youth workers employed by the city will lose their jobs, and children’s centres are under threat. An audit of churches discovered that between them there were 17 paid youth workers across the city and 37 mother and toddler groups. The church has resources and opportunities to serve both their own members and the communities around them.

 

Welcomed, Not Excluded

For many years, UK Christians have worried about the tide of secularism. They have worried that their beliefs are being squeezed out of public life. We have also had the call for Christians to run for office, take up positions of influence, and be a bulwark against this tide. And like Canute was mocked for his failure to roll back the waves, they have been judged for not doing enough to protect Christian values. From the sidelines, we have worried that our beliefs are being marginalised.

Southampton is just one example of churches across the UK bucking this trend. Behind the scenes and beyond the glare of newspaper headlines, churches are working for the good of their communities. And when they seek to work with local authorities, they are not turned away because of their beliefs but often welcomed as key partners. When church leaders met with Southampton City Council to discuss the issues facing the city, across the table from them sat the Head of Strategy for children’s services, the Head of Parenting, and the lead councillor, all Christians, along with a couple of others. At the time when the city needs the most help, the church is there to respond. To respond as congregations of believers and respond as individual Christians committed to finding ways to resolve some of the communities’ most intractable problems.

Christians are not excluded, they are welcomed. And when relationships are built, when credibility is established, when fears are dispelled and suspicions counted void, the church is there to serve the people of Southampton. When political tides turn, when programs are cut, when funding dries up, the church is committed to make it a city that is good to grow up in, and good to grow old in.

 

 

Danny Webster works for the UK Evangelical Alliance on political issues and helping Christians engage in public life. He tweets @danny_webster and writes on an eclectic range of issues, from relationships and church culture to politics and theology, on his blog, Broken Cameras & Gustav Klimt.

 

Danny’s essay won the This is our City essay contest run by Christianity  Today

This article comes via How UK Christians Can Respond to Secularism | This Is Our City | Christianity Today.

It’s Time for a New Strategy

It’s Time for a New Strategy

It's Time for a New Strategy

Image by Marc Lane

by Richard Sterns

The Christian message is in trouble. From a public relations point of view, our brand is hurting. Non-Christians find us to be hypocritical, judgmental, arrogant, and constantly telling other people how to live. Our own young people are leaving the church in surprising numbers. Christian influence in American culture is probably at an all-time low.

For Christians who believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the solution to the poverty, pain, and brokenness in our world, this is very bad news. The question is, what can we do about it?

During my career as a CEO, I have led companies that were on the rise as well as on the decline. There was a time in the early ‘80s when the electronic gaming industry hit a rough patch. Sales were down, and my shareholders wanted to see a turnaround. Times were tough.

In this situation, a leader has two basic options. You can retreat to your “core competencies.” That is, you focus on what you do best, and stick to it while riding out the storm. You batten down the hatches. This is what a bank might do during a market crash, focus on the core business of collecting deposits and making loans and avoid the fancy market speculation that can produce big payoffs as well as losses.

The other strategy is to take some risks, get aggressive, and step into what might be unfamiliar territory. You use the difficult situation to find an edge when the market changes. This is what a technology giant might do when new, nimble startups fundamentally change the nature of the industry.

I believe this is what the church needs to do today.

For the last century, Christians have largely focused on the first strategy. We have sought to clarify our doctrines and purify our congregations. We stuck to the basics of the faith: believe and be baptized, and you’ll go to heaven.

That strategy had its moment and saw its share of successes. When the basic truths of Christianity were being questioned—but Christianity was still widely accepted and followed—it was important to stick to our core beliefs. However, there are times when that strategy is no longer effective.

Today, Christianity is not only questioned but even disliked. The situation is fundamentally changing, and we need to look outward, not inward. It isn’t good enough to ride out the storm if the wind and waves are likely to break the ship to pieces.

Having travelled to dozens of countries, I have seen the church succeed wildly when it takes the gospel message boldly into new arenas, but it requires us to be willing to break out of our ghetto. It means we will have to engage in the messy reality of our world.

I’ve seen Christians earn a fresh hearing for the gospel as they worked alongside Muslims and Buddhists providing a day care for the children of prostitutes. In Africa I’ve seen Christians and Muslims learn to respect each other’s faith as they work to stop the AIDS crisis. I have seen Christians working on behalf of the poor but doing so alongside governments accused of human rights abuses. What I get to see in the arena of international development, the church must also do in the arenas of culture, politics, business, art, science and entertainment.

In each situation, Christians must earn the right to offer the whole gospel—one that moves from belief to action—as the solution to the brokenness and pain in our world.

The fact is, we have to get into the messiness of the world—and get messy ourselves—if we’re going to impact it. Instead of judging those outside the church, we must engage them. We have to risk offending other Christians who want to stick to our “core competencies” and avoid the grey areas in the world.

In 1 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul advises the church not to associate with immoral people, but he offers this clarification. “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” I think Paul is saying that while we are to be holy ourselves, we must also live with and love all the swindlers and misfits in our world.

We can no longer bar our doors and close our windows seeking a refuge from the turmoil outside. We can’t expect people to come to us looking for salvation. We have to find new ways, outside the walls of the church, to demonstrate to a hurting world the good news of the gospel. We need to show people a different and authentic faith. And we have to be willing to make mistakes, get dirty, and take risks. The times are changing, and we need a new strategy.

 

Originally published at qideas.org

 

Richard Stearns is president of World Vision US and author of Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning. Follow Rich on Twitter (@RichStearns) and Facebook.