Sitting in a café in Montreal I am reminded of just how hard the people of Montreal work. As they walk past me focused on the tasks that await them, I can literally see the stress in their eyes as they carry the heavy burden of what they must do in order to be successful at work. Many carry this burden alone since only one-half percent have a relationship with Jesus. Whether they succeed or fail at work will not really matter in the end because they live each day without hope and every day they come a little closer to eternal suffering.
Hebrews 11 is a great encouragement for those of us praying for the people in our context and seeking to share the gospel with them. The faith demonstrated throughout the Bible is the faith we need in order to share the gospel where it has never been shared before. Commonly, the gospel is not often shared in the workplace. We need to expand our mission force in the many restaurants, banks, universities, etc. throughout our vibrant cities, neighborhoods, rural county seats, and the nations. If we do not, we will never reach the billions of people who do not know where they will spend eternity. There are a few great stories I want to share with you of men and women who go to work each day implementing a strategy to lead their coworkers, colleagues and friends to Christ. Here are a few of my favorites. They are practicing what I call “bold at work.”
The hotel industry is an unforgiving business especially in a day when it is easy to instantly praise or critique your hotel experience online. The balance between competitive pricing and quality service is not an easy maze to navigate. One of my best friends here has spent the last 30 years working for hotels. He started his career washing clothes and worked his way up to general manager. He lives out his faith every day by serving not only his guests but his employees as well. You can see him unloading luggage from cars to mopping floors. He truly models what it means to be a servant leader, so much so that he is able to have gospel conversations. His faith shines through in everything he does. Who he is at work is who he is at home and at church. In my experience, this type of leader is unfortunately more and more rare, yet in a city where people respect actions more than words, it is a very successful evangelism strategy.
The public universities in Montreal are filled with the next leaders of Canada and often the world. Most of the campuses here are not Bible friendly. There is a sculpture called “The Illuminated Crowd” that defines the campus culture here. This sculpture communicates well what most students believe. That is that once the people of Montreal left religion, namely Catholicism in the late 1960s, they became illuminated and would no longer fall for another promise of hope only to be abused again by the church. There is a desperate need in Montreal and throughout Quebec for the word “church” to be redefined. North American Mission Board church plants are starting to thrive here because the church planters are doing an incredible job of providing a biblical definition of church for the city. At the same time Millennials in Montreal have become curious about Christ. I have a friend who is seizing this important moment in our history. He is a professor at a major university and is transforming philosophical conversations into gospel conversations by pairing Christian students with those that do not yet believe. The students then are able to share the gospel in a way that their fellow students can understand and respond to. These gospel conversations are naturally happening all over campus. These students are often growing in their understanding of who Christ is in community groups all over the city. I believe his strategy has helped this university have the highest Christian population to date of all of the universities in Montreal.
The rental car business is one of the most difficult in our city. The winters here make it difficult to maintain vehicles, not to mention the law that requires every car to have two sets of tires. If you rent a car in my city, you will often be given one that is a bit older since the cost of living is so high here. My friend who manages a rental car company in the city has done a great job at renting high quality cars at a lower price. His business expertise coupled with his gift for customer service has helped him succeed in the highly competitive world of rental cars. He is planting a church in one of the most challenging neighborhoods in the city. I have had the opportunity to teach at his church on more than one occasion and I am always impressed by the way the members of this church are sharing their faith at work. I believe it is because my friend models this for them everyday. He doesn’t merely preach about sharing his faith at work, he actually does it.
As I walk the streets of my city, praying for the people here, I am reminded that we are never more aware of the hope we have in Christ as when we are surrounded by those who don’t yet have it. Many here live every day in constant fear of what will happen at work. They need someone to introduce them to the Prince of Peace. In a day when so many need the hope we have in Jesus, why would we ever be afraid to share our faith at work? What if you began a Bible study that began to meet at your house and grew to become a church? Do you believe that you serve a King who can transform your work into a church?