Part I: Work as Worship – It All Starts with Relationships
Reduce Work Stress: A lesson from the grapevine can help you improve work relationships and make your job more meaningful. This is the first in a multi-article series on improving your corporate work culture.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 6/3/2018
If Jesus led your business, what would it look like? You might respond, “Well, he has an advantage of knowing a lot more than me.” And while that is true, you and your management team are the ones responsible for running a better company.
Looking at my little business, I have often thought that I could do a better job caring for our team and empowering them to do their jobs better. In February, I set out for a Christian business conference to learn a bit more about what some faith leaders have found in terms of running their companies by Biblical principles. This is what I learned and am struggling to apply in my context.
The conference was held in Texas and simulcasted throughout the country. The location I selected was Denver Seminary, a three-hour drive from my house. While it was a long trek to get there, I left inspired. The “Work as Worship” event was produced by RightNow Media, which offers a variety of educational resources for Christian business leaders. You can find out more at https://www.rightnowmedia.org/
The first speaker was Matt Chandler, the lead pastor at Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. Chandler challenged the audience to realize that work is a sacred space. Pointing to Genesis 1:26-28, he suggested that we should not have a sacred/secular divide in our thinking when it comes to work and other parts of our lives. It isn’t that God gets the family and religious part of our lives, and our company is the focus of the workplace. If someone is a Christian, all areas should be done for God’s glory. And that means when we work, we work unto God. The good news for the employer is that when somebody works unto God that person should be giving their very best effort.
Chandler referred to Genesis in how God created work as part of humanity’s mission. That means that God cares about our work, and the Lord desires to be part of our workday including those moments when we want to go in a room and scream at the wall. So, how do we do this… make God part of our workday? That sounds simple, but it can be really hard to do.
The key can be found by looking at a grapevine. This concept came to life for me one day when I had the opportunity to dress vines in Samaria in Israel with a Jewish wine maker. It was a fairly simple process. You put the vines that have fallen down onto a trellis that keeps everything orderly. If a vine is not growing right, you prune it by cutting off the unhealthy or dead parts. You may also come across part of the vine that has been cut off from the main trunk. These are dead and just need to be removed completely and thrown away. By cutting back some areas, you allow the branch to grow more fruit.
Jesus knew the power of pointing to lesson from life and nature to make a spiritual truth come alive. In John 15:5, Jesus said to his followers, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Those are powerful words because they stress the importance of remaining or abiding in Christ for a follower of Jesus to reach their potential. This includes our work life, according to Chandler. He said, “If you don’t abide, your work life will wither away and be burned up at the end of your days… The joy and peace of God comes from abiding in Christ.”
You may be thinking, “That sounds easy for a pastor to do. But you don’t know my schedule. I am part chauffer for my kids, babysitter for problem employees, answer man for the other employees, spouse to my love who deserves more, etc. How can I find time to abide?”
Abiding is not about adding something else to your schedule. It is about realizing how God wants to walk through you in the midst of your calendar crunch. Does this create some tension in your life and force you to slow down sometimes? Sure, it does. In essence, what Jesus is saying is “Don’t leave, stay close to me.”
One of the best ways to know how you are doing on the whole abiding front is to evaluate your present reality. Asking a few questions and following a few basic principles can make all the difference. You can read those questions in the sidebar on page 38. Many times in life we never learn from our experiences because we don’t stop to truly evaluate them.
Chandler offered a few basic tips that he uses to balance running a megachurch, taking care of his family and ensuring a deep walk with Christ. He gets up early to have time with the Lord daily. That helps set the foundation for the day. He schedules a 10-15-minute buffer between meetings. This gives him time to breathe, re-center, maybe even pray quickly so that he can give others the best of himself.
When he returns home at the end of the day, Chandler takes a few minutes to pray driveway prayers asking for divine assistance before walking into the house. He explained that this helps to prepare him for whatever adventures have occurred to his family on that day. Around the dinner table each person shares the highs or lows of their day.
What is clear from what Chandler shared is that he prioritizes relationships. At the end of your life those are the things that will matter most. One of the ways he does this is to schedule extended weekends to party with close family and friends a few times per year. This helps ensure that those people stay close and know how to have fun together.
So, how are you doing at abiding in Christ and putting relationships first at the office, at home and in the community? Consider taking some time this week to think about the questions on page 38. You may find out that abiding in Christ is a lot easier than the current way you work when you give it a try.
Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a multi-article series on how to change your corporate culture and the way that you work. This series is based on Biblical principles and can work for even those people who are not religious in any way. Much of the content is based on a conference and materials developed by RightNow Media. For more information, visit www.rightnowmedia.org.
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Reduce Work Stress