Business as Ministry: Fostering Transformation & Hope at Work

Tuesday, June 30 2020, I’ll be a panelist at a Friends General Conference workshop with the above title. You are welcome to join us:

Event day and time: 6/30 Tuesday 4:00-5:30pm(Eastern)
Zoom meeting

Capitalism is much maligned these days, not without reason. Sometimes it seems that the race to see who accumulates the largest pile of bones (money/assets) brings out the worst in people, and by extension, their corporations.

I believe that as both business owners and employees, we have a responsibility to conduct our work ethically. What does business look like when it’s guided by religious ethics, i.e. the Holy Spirit? Can it be a force for transforming society at large, and the individual lives it touches? I think the answer is Yes!

The outline follows. I hope to turn it into an essay.

Work as Ministry: Creating Transformation & Hope Through Business

  1. A bit about me.
  2. Function of business/ work
    1. Provide product or service
    2. Make money (profit), keep body & soul together
    3. What else?
      1. Be part of community, care for employees, environment
      2. Ministry? Nothing in the contract that says we can’t.
  • Importance of questioning status quo, i.e. world as we observe it
  1. What if… (an important question)
    1. Life is communion, actions are sacraments
    2. Part of the function of business was to do the work of the Spirit
  • Even the task is incidental, a substrate for something larger: Work
  1. The function of Work was the actualization of the Kingdom, doing Spirit’s work here on earth?
  1. What, exactly, is ministry?
    1. Evolution of my understanding
      1. Man in a black robe telling us how to live, what a wretched lot humans are
      2. Spirit is accessible to us through worship. Limited to MFW
  • Spirit is accessible to ME through worship. Still only in MFW.
  1. Fox: HS not confined to buildings. Worship can happen anywhere.
  2. I can be (I am) a minister => messenger of the Word. That old thing about telling us how to live.
  3. HS as a spectrum of light: IR => visible => UV
  • Let your life speak: vocal ministry is only a small part of where HS is active. How, then, to speak?
  1. What does a life lived in the Presence look like & how do we practice it?
    1. Fruits of the Spirit. Gal. 5:22 But thefruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
    2. Jesus as role model/mentor. Acceptance of Church teachings not required to live as He taught
  • Individual as a tool or conduit for the activity of the HS
  1. Ministry reaches outward and inward simultaneously.
  1. In this model, all of life presents the opportunity for ministry.
    1. In being faithful, our own needs are met. Able to let go of need for control.
    2. Expand the concept of “neighbor.”
  • The search for “that of God” in customers & neighbors.
  1. Firewood: a co-product. Burdensome. Offer to people in need, or if they pay, pay it forward.
  1. What does this look like? What are the possibilities?
    1. “audience:” employees, customers, public, and of course, yourself (ministry as a 2-way street)
    2. Witness (traditional language). People notice “something different.”
    3. Mentorship, empowerment, agency, self-image
      1. Victims of abuse
      2. Released prisoners
  • Recent graduates
  1. Modeling life lived in response to Spirit/ “Let your life speak.”
  2. Even as an employee, there are subtle, and not-so-subtle ways to influence the culture at work.
  3. Conflict resolution, listening, helping others achieve clearness
  4. Work is relational.
    1. Customers are often looking for a relationship as much as they are to get a specific job done.
    2. Testimonies address this: integrity = “my yea is yea, and my nay, nay.” AKA “you can count on me. Anchor point in a world where so much is beyond control.
  5. Helps address uncertainty. Plan A to plan ZZ. All in a day.
    1. Roll with it.
    2. All will turn out as it is supposed to. Not fatalistic
  • John Esh. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
    1. The power of brainstorming
    2. HS “thought” processes are often different from ours.
  1. And how do you do this?
    1. Life as communion, actions as sacraments
    2. Power of intentionality.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s