Busyness is the new normal in America. According to the 2014 American Time Use Survey, Americans average almost nine hours a day on work-related activities. Thirty-three percent of full-time workers say their employer expects them to check email and stay in touch remotely after the business day ends.
Busyness affects Christians, too. A 2014 Barna Group poll found Bible reading is on the decline. The top reason: busyness.
When it comes to the Great Commission, many Christians would rather duck and run than add one more thing to their schedule. That’s because they think of evangelism as a solo endeavor. But that’s not what God intended. His strategy for twenty-first-century Christians is the same strategy that worked for first-century Christians: teamwork.
Working with a formal or informal team—a network of like-minded Christians committed to fulfilling their role in the Great Commission—is both biblical and practical. Think of it like this: Physicians use a “consult network” of other physicians in different specialties, whom they know and trust, for the purpose of referring patients, drawing on each other’s knowledge, and being able to take time off.
In business, networking is a time-honored tradition. Like-minded businesspeople network to build relationships, share information and generate mutually beneficial opportunities.
When it comes to evangelism, we can learn from both the healthcare and business networking models to create a team of like-minded Christians who work together for Kingdom purposes.
In the first century, networks of Christians with diverse gifts and occupations worked together to propel the gospel message far and wide. By divine design, no one person has all the gifts needed to fulfill the Great Commission. We need other members of the body of Christ to join our efforts.
You may need a network sooner rather than later. For example,
- A coworker is deeply depressed and you need a Christian counselor who can help.
- You wake up with a virus the day you wanted to do honor a coworker’s birthday.
- A coworker needs a pastor who can help with a funeral.
- You need advice on how to help a coworker who’s having parenting problems.
- A coworker expressed interest in getting to know some nice single professionals and your church doesn’t have a singles’ ministry.
- You have a difficult decision to make at work and need prayer support
Start today by praying about who might be part of your spiritual network. Think as widely as possible about Christians you know in your workplace and beyond.
- Co-workers. Are there other Christians in your workplace?
- B2B. Do you know Christians in other companies?
- Customers and clients. If you learn that a client is a Christian, considering scheduling a time to meet on personal time to gauge interest in working informally on kingdom ventures.
- People in your profession or industry sector. Christians who understand the unique challenges of a particular field can be encouraging prayer partners.
- Pastors. Your pastor is not only a valuable part of your network personally, pastors can help connect you find other Christians with whom you can team up.
- Marketplace chaplains. Hundreds of thousands of employees are served by company chaplains working independently and through two excellent national chaplaincy providers. link
- Local and national workplace ministries. Over a thousand ministries now serve people in the workplace. Almost every major metropolitan area has several ministries focused specifically on evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development in the workplace Christians in the workplace as well as offer significant resources online, in print, and through personal interaction.
As a relay team passes the baton from one member to another and works together toward a common goal, a spiritual network brings together the help we need to accomplish more than we can do alone.
See our growing list of national and local workplace ministries as you build your spiritual network.