Workplace Grace: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work by Bill Peel and Walt Larimore. LeTourneau University. 202 pages. 2014
The authors of this helpful book tell us that between Sundays, we can be pipelines of God’s grace to people who would never darken the door of a church. They introduce us to a four-phase model of evangelism – cultivating, planting, harvesting, and multiplying – each with appropriate activities on our part that match the spiritual needs of non-Christians on their way to faith in Christ and beyond. They write that evangelism is a process, not an event and that each of us must think carefully about the best way to make Christ known in the workplace, given the particular limitations and constraints where we work.
The authors write that many Christians walk out of church on Sunday and see no connection between their faith and their work. The next six days between Sundays seem like a spiritual black hole with little or no spiritual meaning. But they tell us that the Bible has much to say about how God values work. They write that when work is done with reverence for God and with all your heart, it must be recognized for what it is – worship.
The first phase of the evangelism model is cultivation. This phase is about earning the right to be a spiritual influence in someone’s life. The goal of this phase is to break down emotional barriers by earning trust and creating curiosity about our faith.
In evangelism, a story is a potent yet understated way to communicate truth without confrontation. Telling a story about a personal experience with God or about how a principle in the Bible changed our lives, or family, or career, can resonate with an unbeliever’s longings and allow us to connect on an emotional level.
The authors introduce us to “faith flags” and “faith stories”. A Faith Flag is a brief mention or statement about God, the Bible, or prayer in the natural course of conversation that communicates we have a spiritual dimension. A Faith Story is another powerful way to communicate spiritual truth in an inviting form. It briefly describes a particular instance when we had an encounter with God or a time when we learned an important spiritual lesson. It lets the listener see how God is at work, making a meaningful and practical difference in our lives.
The next phase of the evangelism model is planting. In this phase, nonbelievers begin to view the Bible from a different perspective and consider how it might be personally relevant. The goal of this phase is not to win arguments but for nonbelievers to gain understanding. The Planting Phase of evangelism is about scattering seeds of truth in heart soil that has been cultivated and softened.
The authors tell us that every phase of the evangelism process—from cultivating to harvesting—depends on prayer. We do our part in cultivating, planting, praying for the harvest, and seeking His guidance. The rest is in His hands.
The multiplying phase is about making disciples. The authors tell us that in the Great Commission, Jesus did not mandate that we sign up new recruits or volunteers for His kingdom agenda, He told us to make disciples. The word disciple occurs 269 times in the New Testament. The New Testament is a book about disciples, by disciples, and for disciples of Jesus Christ. Learning to read and study the Bible, both personally and with other believers, is essential to the spiritual growth of new believers.
We need not look far for opportunities to help others. It starts in our own work. Seeing our daily work as an opportunity to meet legitimate needs is vital to spiritual growth and serves as a witness of our faith in Christ. You do not have to leave the workplace to know the joy of being used by God. He can use you right where you are.
This is a very useful and practical book that shows Christians that God values their work, and how they can shine His light in their workplace. Throughout the book the authors share helpful experiences from their life to supplement the points being made.