Work: 'An everyday laboratory in applied Christianity'
By Kyle Patterson
Drew Crandall felt a call from God to ministry, but not the traditional pastoral role. He felt God calling him to start a business that would be a place where he could put his faith into practice.
"Ever since I was saved 32 years ago (at a Christian business event) I knew I was called to be a marketplace minister,” states Crandall, who also founded Northeast Christians at Work, a ministry out of the Hartford, CT area. "Early on in my walk with the Lord, I was on fire for him, I went to the Lord in prayer, asking Lord,do you want me to get out of the business world, go to seminary, and become a pastor? Immediately he said, 'No.'"
So he started an advertising and marketing firm to serve God in the marketplace. "I wanted to build a godly business from day one. So everyday when I come to the office, I call it my everyday laboratory in applied Christianity.”
Crandall says it’s one thing to have an academic head knowledge of our faith and another thing to walk the talk and talk the walk. So that’s what he is attempting to do, to the glory of God at work, everyday. Crandall is inspired to reach the millions of people who have to go to work each day and minister his love and truth to a hurting world.
“What I realized is that there are millions of people everyday who have to get up and go to work and make a living and what an amazing, domestic mission field right in our backyard of sharing the good news, and being an ambassador for Christ with customer, suppliers, co-workers, many, many people in the everyday working world who need to know Jesus Christ.”
But he acknowledged, the marketplace presents a number of challenges for believers.
“One of the biggest fears is that Christians in the workplace feeling that they cannot testify to Christ or do anything remotely Christian in a secular workplace, or they’ll lose their job or it’s against the law, or they’re not equipped and capable of to do that."
He said Christians need to informed and aware of the freedom we do have in Christ and in our work.
“If you study our legal, freedom of speech rights in the workplace, we have many rights as Christ followers to be Christlike and have Christian material and hold Bible studies in break areas at work.”
A lot of people don’t realize they have a lot more freedom to be Christians at work than they realize.
But Crandall says there is also a balance for believers to keep, not in bondage to fear, but also not going overboard, doing and saying things that are not appropriate.
“We also want to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. You are being paid to work, not to evangelize."
Christians also need to be ready to be a witness and share their testimony.
“Another challenge that I would say for Christians who desire to be a Christian witness at work, they feel they can’t do it.”
In response to the feeling of inferiority, Crandall points people to the Holy Spirit, our comforter, guide, and teacher, and not try and do things on our own, but lean on his strength. Out of that comes the fruit of the Spirit.
“Think of a workplace where a Christ follower is full of the Holy Ghost and exhibiting the nine fruits of the Spirit. The very presence of the Holy Spirit is going to make a difference.
And Crandall is not alone in his vision of training and equipping believers to live out their faith at work. Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan has started the Center for Faith and Work, led by Rev. David H. Kim. They state, “FAITH AND WORK. We might see them as estranged. But, in truth, they share a crucial aim: to see the unseen. Nothing new has been made without faith. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither or we flourish. We don't want to just examine that collision. We want to live in the intersection where it occurs. To celebrate what flies. And to rethink what falls. To map. To explore. To create. To risk and to fail better. Not just for a nicer 9 to 5. But to serve the city we belong to and love. It comes down to one key truth: work matters. So do it well.”
Additionally our own sister ministry at UniteLeadership.com seeks to equip marketplace believers to live out their faith and play a role in funding and finishing the Great Commission.
So if you’re a believer in the marketplace, you’re on the line to live your faith and like Crandall to use your work as “an everyday laboratory in applied Christianity.” But not in your own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.