TRANSFORMED AND TRANSFORMING!
In Luke 12 Jesus told his disciples – and therefore us too – that we must be ready, for, just like a thief in the night, He will come ‘when least expected’ (New Living Translation). He goes on to ask a question or is he making an invitation? “Who then is the faithful and wise manager whom his master will set over this household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is the servant whom his Master will find so doing when he comes.” (12:39-42)
In this year 2020 it seems like we, Transform Work UK, have been living through this conversation. Covid like a thief struck the world completely by surprise and with unfolding, massive devastation. I’ve given up counting how many times I’ve heard the word ‘challenge’. It has also been a year that has brought much change and it’s been a very hard year for many families, workers and businesses.
Covid has exposed the myth we humans cherish that ‘I’m in control’. Rich and poor, government and governed, rich nation and poor nation, it has been a great leveller of humanity and has exposed our vulnerability, disorientating us from familiar, comfortable, certainties.
Covid has also disrupted community. It has closed many physical workplaces, creating the virtual work place, exchanging in person interaction with Zoom etc. These conditions have increased loneliness and stress as we are forced to keep apart and have produced fear and anxiety as businesses and lives have been churned over like a field under the plough.
And yet Jesus has still come, often with equal surprise. As we’ve prayed as a Board on Monday evenings during this year we’ve seen how God has been creating good soil conditions for faith as well as breaking down barriers and settled ways of thinking – using this pandemic for the King to come into many lives and situations – and using Christians to bring the life of the Kingdom into their work even through this time of crisis and change.
It’s not been easy for everyone but we’ve been encouraged by many Christian Workplace Groups reporting record numbers of believers joining online prayer meetings, meeting more often, connecting with believers in wider geographic locations, receiving requests for prayer from colleagues, taking the initiative to organise Alpha courses and carol services, deepening relationships with HR and Management, and doing so many other things. It’s been as if Zoom has become a new highway for connection and engagement. This wouldn’t have been possible but for our amazing Ambassador team and the tools and encouragement they have given to CWGs to adapt to and use these new opportunities.
This Zoom phenomenon has also created what one might term business development opportunities for us to deepen partnerships with other workplace Christian organisations such as Thrive, which serves workplaces in Scotland, very much drawing on Ros’s energies and talents.
The severity of this pandemic has also thrown a spotlight on society’s dependence on the NHS and all those who serve us as key workers and it’s been so humbling to hear stories of the remarkable ways that Christians have brought the fullness of their faith and compassion into places of great need and pressure; and a great privilege for TWUK to support Christian Professional Sector Groups in health and social care such as the Christian Medical Fellowship, Christians in Pharmacy and the Christian Ambulance Association as well as help in the starting of the Care Homes Christian Network and Christians Working with the Bereaved. We believe that the pandemic has created good soil for these communities of believers to cause their light to shine in ways that can transform culture in their workplaces.
I was struck when reading the Luke 12 teaching how Jesus spoke of faithful and wise managers who are set over a household – this is business language. Over 2020 I feel that God has been challenging TWUK to grow in faith and wisdom like a good manager – all part of His ‘get ready’ strategy. Through the survey of CWGs carried out by Eido and their excellent report, received during the summer, in which we learned a lot about our members’ experiences and perceptions, the Board has a much more realistic understanding of where we are and we have been given the tools to help us assess where we need to be and the steps to get there – still an ongoing journey of drawing closer to each other as a new team, as well as learning how to partner with the Holy Spirit, in preparing TWUK’s 5 year Strategy.
This process has helped us shift our mindset to dreaming where we would like TWUK and our members (those we represent and serve) to be – an adventure of expansion, going wider into new organisations, both big and small, and new UK regions and partnering with similar movements in new nations. Also going deeper, with more effective influence and impact both within our workplaces and organisations as well as over the influencers within our culture such as MPs, the media and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Agenda. And additionally, to engage better with pastors to help drive a more holistic vision of the Kingdom and Christian vocation within the vitally important local church setting. All sustained by the Firepower of prayer and the prophetic and the best technology and governance.
I’m very excited about the ideas that God is showing us, ideas which we believe will inspire and equip believers to fulfil their destiny whether already in the workplace or training to enter the workplace as students; will draw the broader Christian community to invest and partner with us; and help us together to see our co-workers, organisations and even our culture transformed through the radical disciple making power of the gospel.
Let’s get ourselves ready!