In Bill Tenny-Brittian’s Hitchhiker’s Guide To Evangelism he devotes a whole chapter to this one and gives lots of practical relationship building tips. He writes:
The average North American will spend about 90,000 hours at work before they finally punch-out on the time clock of life.
During that extended time, you and your faith is on display for all to see.
You may be able to fool the church people an hour or two each week, but you can’t fake-out the folks who see you eight hours a day, five days a week, twenty-two days a month—they know you as you really are (scary, huh?). Your workplace is faith’s litmus test.
What can you do in this sphere of influence?
I once worked for 3 years in a corporate office building, one of 6 buildings on the headquarter campus.
About 3 times a week, I saw
- The same person delivering inter-company mail pushing a cart by my desk.
- Saw the woman who’s only job was to water the house plants on people’s desks.
- The same security guard doing their rounds through the complex.
- The same checkout clerk in the cafeteria.
Think about your
- Vendors who visit you regularly
- Immediate Co-workers (boss, people you supervise)
- Other co-workers that you regularly interact with
- Custodial staff
- Mail delivery person.
- Cafeteria Staff
Which of connections can you develop a little deeper today? Who doesn’t go to church or have a faith?
Take a moment today to pray and ask the Lord to show you who he is underlining for you to intentionally develop a deeper relationship.
What about pastors?
I was in the pastorate for 11-12 years. The biggest challenge to pastors is spending too much time in the office, surrounding by your church-going employees and visiting with congregation members who come to see you.
The unchurched do not hang out at church.
- Clearly set office hours clearly when you are available to meet with members and keep those boundaries.
- Do your praying, sermon writing and reading outside of the office.
- Hold meetings in restaurants, bookstores, or cafe’s.
- Do your writing at a bookstore or coffee shop.
- Meet your parishioners in a coffee shop (if it’s not for pastoral counseling).
- Become a regular at some particular places and pretty soon, people will start talking with you.
Starbucks and Barnes and Noble became my second office. Didn’t take but a few weeks before strangers and staff started talking with me and becoming friends.