One of the central tenets of “Kingdom Theology”, aka bringing Heaven to Earth, is that God’s Presence was never meant to be confined to your Sunday church service. We preach a message that says you can be just as spiritually influential in the workplace as you can from the pulpit.
And that sounds amazing.
But if you’re anything like me, you may have had the thought, “What on Earth does that actually mean?”
I know exactly how to be influential in church:
- Preach an entertaining sermon
- Share healing testimonies
- Say things everyone agrees with
- Say things no one understands
- Share healing testimonies
But unless you’re a keynote speaker or have turned #3 into a way of life, how do you apply any of these proven influence models to the workplace?
Well, over the last 3 years, while balancing ministry school with a full-time writing/marketing career, I’ve discovered that bringing Kingdom into the workplace is often ridiculously practical. I’ve discovered that by simply following Kingdom principles and staying connected with Holy Spirit, I’m actually EXACTLY what the world is looking for.
Allow me to explain with an uncomfortably practical example.
That moment your contract explodes…
I’m a freelancer, which means, for the purposes of this example, that I have ZERO guarantees anyone is going to pay me. Doesn’t that sound fun?
In order to protect myself, I need to have a very cautious, assume-the-worst mentality when it comes to forging writing contracts and establishing business relationships. If I don’t make absolutely sure that I get paid, I probably won’t be.
Now, what’s more fun than working without the guarantee of pay?
Working without the guarantee of pay WHILE SAVING FOR YOUR WEDDING.
Yep, that was my July 2014.
After landing a lucrative contract to complete 300 web pages for a startup, I spent the entirety of July working 50-60 hours a week while also helping prepare for my August 3rd wedding.
Things went smoothly enough. I completed the first half of the work and was paid the first half of the compensation. The wedding was survived, the honeymoon enjoyed, and I was back in the swing of work, when suddenly, the freelancer’s worst nightmare came true.
That moment he says, “Give me my money back.”
My employer sent me an extra 600 pages that were supposedly “covered within our agreement”. I promptly told him “No,” that would put the total project at TRIPLE the agreed upon size.
And he responded by demanding his money back and implying he’d sue if I didn’t return the money or complete the 600 extra pages.
Wow. Let’s just say I was PISSED.
I wasn’t about to pay back compensation for 250 hours of work. I didn’t even have the money, as most of it had gone into the wedding and all the other expenses involved in starting a marriage. I also wasn’t about to work triple the agreed upon amount.
As I sat in my bed thinking angry thoughts and bemoaning the wicked encircling me from every side, God dropped a bomb on me.
He said, “You’ve been thinking plenty about how this affects you. How do you think this situation is affecting [your employer]? Why don’t you take a moment and think about this from his perspective?”
So I did. I tried to envision our email exchange from his world, and I came up with a few thinking points.
- In the two months we’d been working together, my employer had never “done me wrong” up to this point.
- My employer was extremely disorganized, and it was entirely possible he sincerely believed this new folder of work had been a part of our agreement.
- My employer had invested a significant sum in my work and was probably scared at the thought of losing his copywriter and having to start over from scratch.
- Accordingly, he was probably just as much on the defensive about this situation as I was.
It was here that I realized I had two options. I could operate in a safe, assume-the-worst, protect-myself-at-all-costs spirit, or I could do this the Jesus way. I could meet my employer where he was at, extend an olive branch, and invest in his success.
So that’s what I did.
I sent him an email saying,
“Hey, I was getting ready to send you a “fight-back” email, when it occurred to me that your goal in all this, despite how it would seem to me, is not to screw me over. Your goal is simply to get the writing done for your website. On my end, my goal is not to leave you scrambling to find a new copywriter. I like this project and have enjoyed working on it. Here’s where I think we had a misunderstanding. Here’s where I’m coming from. I’m 100% committed to finding a mutually beneficial solution to this issue.”
And what would you know? He responded back positively, and we worked out a way to complete what he needed using a drastically lower page count.
That moment you realize HE’s right…
[bctt tweet=”meeting people at their level is what Jesus was all about.”]
When you think about it, meeting people at their level is what Jesus was all about. And as a result, it’s what us “Christ”ians are supposedly all about. And where better to “meet people where they’re at” than literally… where they’re at.
Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest isn’t “just a theory.” It’s how the world operates. In a fallen world, power and success go to those who take it.
But Jesus didn’t come to take. He came to give. He came to give us abundant life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10
What’s so interesting about the Kingdom, is that it’s entirely contradictory to the way of the world and yet, at the same time, it’s ludicrously attractive to that very world. You don’t have to take it. You receive it.
And when you give it away… you actually have more than you had before!
My natural response to that nightmare email was to take the half-pay I’d already received, flip the bird (referring to Sesame Street acrobatics, of course), and run. But Abundant Life had another direction in mind. By taking the Kingdom route, not only did the situation resolve itself ideally – not only did I go on to complete the project and receive full payment – but I also was able to deposit a bit of Kingdom into this man’s life.
And guess what, people really, really like Kingdom. Thanks to a Kingdom mindset, I’m now a REALLY attractive individual to work with. I get recommendations all the time and find myself influencing people in the most unexpected places.
I didn’t need to preach, entertain, or heal him of cancer (although all those are awesome!). I didn’t even need to have a holy first-response to the situation. All I had to do was stop long enough to see one person from God’s perspective. All I had to do was choose abundant life rather than grasping to safeguard “what’s mine”.
If I could manage that, you’ll have no problem with it.
* Check out my free ebook 10 Ridiculous Myths About Christian Dating You Probably Believe.
Feel free to share this with your friends and encourage those that want to bring the Kingdom in the Workplace. And let me know your thoughts on the comment section below.