Pastors explain how churches can help businesses

Last of a three-part series

MARYSVILLE – “If Jesus gave you a review, what would it be?”

Tom Nelson was talking about how a person’s faith should be a part of the workplace. “Monday matters, not just Sunday,” he said during the recent Work as Worship conference. About 20 people attended at the Marysville Free Methodist Church. They watched via livestream as the conference was in Dallas, but was shown to 13,000 people in 1,000 churches nationwide.

Nelson was one of four pastors who spoke. He is the senior pastor at Christ Community Church in Kansas. He said compassion is so important to show others at work because you don’t know what they are going through. A co-worker could be going through tough financial times. He gave the example of a single mom of seven getting help from his church.

“I don’t have to wear the same clothes every day,” he said she told him.

People should show compassion everywhere, he added. Help the poor kid on the school bus. Teasing him can be “demeaning to the soul.”

“Our church asks itself, ‘How can you get to heaven without helping the poor?’”

Nelson said faith and being a productive worker go together. “Jesus was a carpenter,” he said.

Christopher Brooks, senior pastor at Evangel Ministries in Detroit, said his church puts its money where its mouth is. It actually helps start up five new businesses each year. “We’ve been called the salvation of a broken city,” he said.

Brooks said too many communities are focused on poverty management. They are focused on business success. “Don’t just throw money at it and have bigger government programs. Things don’t change. There’s multiple generations of unemployment. It’s not for a lack of resources, it’s due to a lack of relationships.”

Brooks said to lead with compassion and gave other tips.

•Invest in the city, a church can transform a city.

•Along with being a church, be an economic development entity. “Church is a training ground, not a hideout.”

•Poverty is not permanent. Transform the poor into producers.

•Diagnose the problem and determine a treatment, and they will flourish.

•Don’t hide that you’re a Christian.

Matt Chandler said, “All work is sacred, from the janitor to the CEO.”

Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, said having faith at work can help employees be more dedicated and bring order to chaos. He said everyone wants to be happy, but joy is more long-lasting.

“Happiness is fleeting. Joy is solid ground. Abiding is the key in life,” he said.

Chandler said blue-collar workers probably have the best jobs because they don’t have to take work home with them. He had some advice for white-collar workers like himself. “See people not tasks,” he said.

Chandler said he never schedules cascading meetings. He always allows 10 minutes in-between. That gives him time to breathe, reflect and even pray to help solve problems.

That also helps him at home. After work he orients his heart by saying a prayer in the driveway. “I don’t know what I’m walking into,” he said. He gave another tip all parents should appreciate – called the high-low game. Every person at the dinner table tells their high point and low point of the day. That helps the dinner conversation at so many levels.

“God helps lessen the stress,” he said.

Chandler said in a room he can tell which employees had attention from their folks and who didn’t because their parents had deadlines, an overbearing boss and/or a psychotic client. He said businessmen need to put family first. “That can be tough in the alpha atmosphere of business,” he said.

But if you don’t it can rob your family of togetherness. You will try to make up for it with toys, technology and travel. And “imaginary hugs,” he said.

Bill Hybels, senior pastor of the Willow Creek Church in Illinois, said because the media is anti-church most don’t realize the good things that happen every day through him. He said, “Caring is the soul of a business. Little personal touches of love drive performance.”

Hybels said God has entrusted managers with treating people with respect, not leading through fear.

“The love of money is the root of all evil,” he said, correcting an often-misused saying. “It’s harder to compete today without God.”

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