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Workplace Chaplaincy - Linking with others

Thursday 2nd February, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

by Reverend Rachel Shock | tags: , , , , ,

Not that I want to be seen to be endorsing products, but a certain online site which encourages business people to join and link up with others, is proving to be an intriguing concept. When this site first appeared, I thought of it as nothing more than an elaborate business card holder and I wasn’t sure of its potential use. However, as far as promoting the name of the workplace chaplaincy, it has been very useful. As with most of these sites, if they are used wisely, they can be useful tools. I have had people contact me quickly and easily when quite honestly, contacts wouldn’t previously have been made.

What the site shows you is just how many people we are connected to and who those people are connected to as well. As the saying goes, it really is a small world.

I had someone contact me who never thought he would see a contact in his business world that was to do with religion. He didn’t see how the two could possibly be connected! He’s not the only one; even if you are a Christian, it is sometimes difficult to see how what we do in the church connects with what you are doing when at work. The church certainly struggles sometimes to engage with its parishioners working lives. It doesn’t know how to help people make connections between faith and work.

I’ve spoken to people who don’t really believe that the work they do is significant to God. For them, it’s just a job to pay the bills – how can God be interested in the fact they drive a bus, fix the electrics or sort the mail? All I can tell them, is that God is interested – he’s as interested in those jobs as he is in any other job. God is intimately involved in our world and part of his love for us, is his interest in what we work at – whatever that is and however ordinary we might imagine those tasks to be.

Where churches often forget to engage with work is in the simple action of praying for people. When did you last ask your minister to pray for something that was happening at work? As ministers we are often asked to pray for someone who is ill but not so much when one is facing redundancy, or a manager who has a difficult or ethical decision to make. We can underestimate the power of prayer and don’t do it enough, possibly because we are worried that we might not have the right words. God isn’t interested in right words; he is interested in the intention in our hearts.

All work is significant - the Bible is full of affirmation of the work we do; “Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3.

Work is significant to God because we are significant to God – he is interested in us and what we do; he uses it as an instrument to get things done. God’s wish is for the world to be made a better place, a place where his kingdom flourishes. Work is what he wants us to do and our work is a context for us to use our God-given skills and gifts.

If we were to be a little more upfront about being Christian, we would be amazed how many people we can touch with the love of God simply by them knowing you are a Christian. Letting people know allows for potential conversations. We are to act as agents for transformation in the world. In the workplace we are called to be a model of Christ to others, a mouthpiece of Christ to others whether in tough times or easy times; we are called out to be part of the transforming mission of God.

The workplace chaplaincy is working hard to make connections across the city, linking up with people offering an informal and confidential listening service; a structured visiting programme in many workplaces and providing pastoral care and support. We have also discovered that we are ‘doing’ church in some of the workplaces by offering memorial services on work premises. Going to where the people are rather than expecting them to come into a strange environment. All this means we are linking up with people and making connections.

May I wish you all a Happy New Year and may your connections be fruitful!

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