By Boe Parrish
Today is like most days as we all prepare for another day at the office. Planning, thinking, executing, meetings, reports, deadlines, stress, pressures, bosses, co-workers, overtime, etc…Does Jesus really desire to have a meaningful presence in the midst of all of this? Can he breakthrough the corporate veil and touch lives in this setting? Do individuals check their souls at the door when they enter the marketplace? What kind of people would God select to use if he desired to manifest his presence in the middle of our business world? Would the servant in the marketplace wear robes, priest collars, suits, or other religious garb to set themselves apart from others working in the rank and file? Would the preachers that fill our churches be received by today’s work force? Would they be effective in their efforts to bring compassion into the boardroom? There are so many questions concerning the opportunities available in today’s marketplace.
Since we all have everything totally together at home there is no need to have any advice or assistance for marriage relationships, children, finances, health issues, mental or emotional bumps in the road, aging parents, or wayward teenagers, right? There are so many things employees face day in and day out which require wisdom and counsel. So much encouragement could be utilized if we could somehow bring the compassionate presence of our God into our second home…our office. Most of us continue to bottle up the “life issues” we deal with everyday and think I really must get some help with this when I can find a little time to sort everything out. Problem is, that day seems to never come unless there is a crisis which forces us to have to face our giants. We are all very similar in that if it isn’t broken…don’t fix it right? Wrong. If it’s not broken let’s break it and then we can put things back together the right way in a proactive manner verses a reactive manner.
I am always amazed at how many issues we deal with every day. Most of the time we do an admirable job, but what about the few times in life when nothing we do seems to make any difference, and the weight of all the pressures comes pressing in on us? What do we do then? Who can we turn to? Do we visit with our employer? Should we visit with our boss? Should I visit with a co-worker? The ideal person would be someone with years of practical life experience, deep business experience, comprehensive and wise understanding, compassionate heart, listening ears, and faithful hands. Where would we ever find someone with these attributes? The answer may surprise you when you look closely enough. It would be a person just like YOU! You are uniquely qualified to offer encouragement, counsel, guidance, options, and answers to life’s everyday challenges. How, you may ask would I be qualified? Many times you have already walked through the challenges which many of your co-workers are currently facing both personally and professionally. You have survived and even thrived through it all. By taking your life’s experiences and sharing them as the Lord leads you.
God is calling countless thousands back into the very marketplace we have vacated to venture into “full time” professional ministry. I am not knocking that if that is what God is calling you into, but for many professionals turning away from the culture and the people God has around you currently, and moving into a sphere of influence you have never worked or prepared for, can lead to some serious culture shock. Church business is very different from business in the marketplace, as you can only imagine. I realize many professionals are being tapped by the hand of God to work inside the walls of the church…but at the same time there is a huge need of God to have many thousands of individuals remain in the marketplace where the need is so great as well. I have been a minister inside the church walls, and I have served as a corporate chaplain for almost twenty years as well. It is equally rewarding in either role, when we are allowing God to use our gifts and talents to make a difference in the lives of others around us.
I grew up during a season of time where individuals who were preparing for a ministry position and in fact entered a full time church ministry position, were thought less of if they ever ventured outside of that role. Today is so different because there are some very exciting ministry opportunities existing outside the walls of the church. Corporate chaplaincy happens to be one of those positions. If you have a call of God on your life, and are finding it hard to face another church position roll, then a position in corporate chaplaincy might just be perfect for you.
God is invading the marketplace today and finding thousands of individuals hungry for knowledge about God, but may never find their way into the walls of a church setting. Ministry is so much more than sitting inside the walls of a church building and hanging a shingle out on the street. God wants us to go into all the world and preach, teach and baptize in his name. I have discovered a wonderful sense of acceptance and openness among the professionals in the marketplace for the Lord.
Most people enjoy conversations about God, heaven, and the Bible…they just do not want to be judged or condemned by some religious person who has some hidden motive. People love to engage in thought-provoking discussions and expanding their knowledge about the Creator of the universe. Building relationships with people long before any crisis occurs, opens the door of opportunity during the crises of life. Relationship positions us for being at the right place at the right time for people when they need us later. Remember there are two times in life when people need you…when they need you, and when they need you. We must be there when people need us.
Is it possible that maybe the Lord is calling you to a ministry outside the walls of the church, and into the confines of the boardroom? Search your heart and listen to the still small voice of God. You will not go wrong if for some strange reason God begins a movement of caring for the masses right where they work everyday. Is he calling you to a fulfilling ministry career in the marketplace? Only you and God know for sure.