Missionaries in the Workplace

November 14th, 2012

Several times during the year, churches I served would send people on short-term mission trips to work with orphans in Mexico, or fix up dilapidated houses in New Orleans, or serve in medical and dental clinics in Ethiopia.

Before each trip, mission-trip participants would come to the front of the church, and we would offer a “Prayer of Commissioning” to remind the congregation that we were sending these individuals out as God’s representatives to these specific mission points. That is all commendable.
But here’s a question:  As a pastor, have you considered commissioning church members to be missionaries in their places of employment?  It’s likely that many in your congregation don’t participate in short-term mission trips, however, every day they enter the greatest mission field of all: Their workplace.

Peter makes it clear that every Christian is a priest (1 Peter 2:9) and Paul reminds us that we’re all Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). If we believe the Scripture, then wouldn’t it make sense to “commission” our members as Christ’s representative and missionaries in their workplaces?

A few examples:  One Sunday you might ask physicians, dentists, nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals to s in the healthcare field to come forward for commissioning. Thank God for using them to heal us and oversee our physical well-being.  Another Sunday you can commission entrepreneurs and business owners. 

Ask God to help their businesses become more than just a place for financial transactions, but entities that provide quality goods and services, employment for families, and help the community flourish. 

The Sunday before school starts in the fall, commission the all the educators and students as God’s representatives on their respective campuses. Thank God for the knowledge He has given us, and ask that He make us good stewards of learning.  Visualize all the different professions in your congregations—law enforcement officers, firefighters, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, sales professionals, restaurateurs and contractors—and have a commissioning service for them. 

Recognizing these dedicated Christ-followers as ambassadors for Christ in their workplaces will help fulfill the Great Commission. Believers will go to their jobs with a renewed sense of purpose and meaning, and Christ will be exalted.

What do you think? What occasion can you use to celebrate and commission your members to their workplace mission field?
For an idea of how to conduct a workplace commissioning service see our Workplace Commissioning Litergy.

Image by Chris Yarzab. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.