Pastors tend to meet their congregants at church or in a home, or perhaps at a neutral site like a coffee shop. Less common is when a pastor goes out to meet a congregant where they spend the majority of their time—in the workplace.
Since people spend the majority of their lives outside of church each week, shouldn’t we diligently seek to understand their primary places of formation and discipleship?
This summer, Made to Flourish is challenging our network pastors to visit their congregants at their workplaces. These visits could be one-on-one meetings, lunch appointments, or shadowing them for a day. If their job doesn’t allow for you to visit during the work day, consider visiting their workplace on a weekend or outside their work hours, or simply meet over lunch to learn specifically about their work.
In Discipleship with Monday in Mind, authors Skye Jethani and Luke Bobo state that “curiosity pushes pastors outside the church walls and into the work environment of their church members.” They also discovered that “regularly visiting people at their work is by far the most cited and most transformative pastoral practice.”
We challenge you to seize these visits as an opportunity to share the passions and empathize with the struggles of your church family. Let your visitations sharpen your preaching, teaching, and pastoral care. Affirm your congregants and watch your church ministry benefit because of it.
David Gill, former director at the Mockler Center for Faith & Ethics in the Workplace at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, describes the benefits this way:
For the workplace member of our congregation, this visit from you says “my pastor cares about me.” “My pastor is interested in what I do during the week.” “My work matters to my pastor and to our Lord.” And when that workplace disciple comes to worship, the brief, knowing eye contact with the pastor, the more attentive hearing of the sermon, the brief work-related comment in the sermon, the buzz generated when other workplace folk hear that the pastor came over to their company for lunch and a tour . . . this is a transforming, revitalizing experience for you, for that worker, and for the whole congregation.
The point is not for the pastor to come to offer advice or counsel but to listen and observe — asking about the church member’s work experiences, challenges, and opportunities — and offering them only encouragement and prayer.
Take the Challenge
From June 12 – July 24, consider visiting 1 or 2 of your congregants at their workplace. We’ve made it easy:
- Register by June 12 (for communication purposes)
- Download our helpful Visitation Guide
- Visit your congregant(s)
- Share your experience(s) with us by July 24 by submitting this simple form. We’ll share your stories with our wider network