Healthy Leaders


How to Keep the Mission in the Middle

Ben MarshallBen Marshall

I work in a church, so talking about faith in the workplace seems irrelevant. It’s easy to live out my faith where I am. It’s acceptable, encouraged and there is no hostility toward reading my Bible or praying during work hours. In fact, the hostility may come if I didn’t live out my faith in my workplace. It is certainly a unique job to have.

However, one thing we can all easily lose sight of is the mission. I can, and should, live out my faith in my workplace every day. But at the same time, there’s the human element involved where it can become easy to drift into maintenance mode. 

It is far too easy for conversations to tread a little too closely to gossip, to be easily frustrated, to be bogged down in the tedium of paperwork, emails, phone calls, and visits so that what seems to constitute “real work” is sacrificed.

What does it look like to live out my faith in my workplace, the local church? It looks like keeping the mission in the middle. Why am I making phone calls, visiting people, writing notes, sending and responding to emails, etc.? It is because I want to live out what Jesus lived out, and I want my life to be defined by what He found important.

Jesus called all His followers to be disciples and to make disciples. It didn’t matter whether you were the apostle Paul, James, the half-brother of Jesus or a newly converted Gentile ‒ Jesus called those first-century believers to be and to make disciples. 

The same is true today, for you and for me. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer, a politician, a pastor, a construction work, a janitor, a teacher, a doctor, a painter, an artist, or anything else ‒ you are called to be and to make disciples. That is the mission.

When we keep the mission in the middle, our job suddenly has more meaning. There is a lot more at stake when we remember eternity hangs in the balance. Each day we make decisions as if they are short-term or temporary, but they have an eternal lasting effect.

That mean comment spoken in the moment of a heated argument with a co-worker; that mess you left in the microwave and blamed on someone else; that food you stole out of the shared employee fridge and never told anyone about … those are seemingly small decisions that actually can make a very big impact.

We are called to let our light (the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ) shine forth in our words, actions, and lifestyle in such a way that other people see it and want to follow Jesus too! That’s what it looks like to live out our faith in the workplace. It’s certainly not easy ‒ especially when things get busy and the pace of life overtakes the purpose of life.

Remember this:

1. The mission is the main thing.

2. What seems temporary may actually have a more lasting impact than I realize.

3. The decisions I make each day reflect the God (or idol) I serve.

When we remember these three things, we will be more likely to keep the mission in the middle. What would it look like for you to be and make disciples in your work context?

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