Leading God’s People in the Workplace

“And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” - Ephesians 6:9

As a man or woman of God in a position of leadership in the church of the Lord Jesus, you may have the awesome privilege of leading your brothers and sisters in Christ, not only in the spiritual aspects of the church, but also in the workplace as well. It is vitally important that you take very seriously and reverently the responsibility and privilege that God has given you. Ephesians 6:9 reveals that, in the eyes of God, we are simply stewards over those whom we have authority over in the workplace, and we will answer to God for our stewardship of His people. This is one of the reasons why the scripture says to “forbear threatening.” The word translated threatening simply refers to being a menace. The Message translation reads this way: no abuse please and no threats. This Scripture reminds us that when we mistreat people by abusing our God-given authority over them, our Master in Heaven is watching and we will ultimately reap what we sow.

As leaders, it is important to remember that the individuals that work with us (notice I didn’t say for us) are God’s people not ours. They are His to accomplish His purposes, not ours to accomplish our purposes. We must be especially careful to not let the enemy use us to thwart, frustrate or hinder the plan or purposes of God in someone else’s life while we hold the position of a spiritual big brother or sister in their life. The bottom line is that you should treat God’s people properly, especially in the workplace. How you treat those employee may have a big impact on them and their walk with God.

The following are a list of possible issues that those of us who are employers may need to address:

  1. Hours Required to Work

    As a Faith Leader, it is important to be mindful of amount of hours assigned your employees and how those hours will impact their lives. Be mindful of the fact that they, too, have families and lives. Also note that work productivity tends to decrease when the hours required for employees to work are excessive. A good rule to follow is to not ask employees to do what you would not do. Lead from the front!

  2. Appropriate Pay & Proper Benefit Packages

    “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” 1 Timothy 5:18

    “And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” Luke 10:7

    These scriptures are clear. To not pay your employees fairly is sin. It may be in your best interest to gather information from outside sources, such as our Ministerial Alliance, to determine what is fair and what is not.

  3. Operating in Pride vs. Humility in the Workplace

    “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29

    “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

    “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3

    Follow the example of Jesus and be a servant-leader. All contention arises from pride. As a successful Faith Leader, you may be more susceptible to pride than others. Keep yourself in remembrance of the fact that God is the One who gave you success and that a wise man will hear and increase learning. Scripture is very accurate when it says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” - Prov. 16:18

  4. Improper Understanding of Biblical Submission and Authority Principles

    “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Proverbs 18:13

    “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19

    God has not called any of us to dominate our peers, but to lead them as Jesus leads us. Just like in a marriage relationship, an employee has the right to fully communicate his or her viewpoint in a respectful manner.

  5. The Proper Way to Speak to Employees

    “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29

    “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2

    “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:8

    Most people I know were taught by their parent(s) to not speak to others in a way they would not want to be spoken to. As we read earlier in Ephesians 6:9, God instructs us to forbear making threats or verbally abusing those who work with and under us. Corrupt communication is sin, even in the workplace and when talking to employees.

  6. Offering Praise and Encouragement Regularly vs. Only Correction or Criticism

    “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

    “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29

    It is a proven fact that giving words of encouragement and praise raises employees’ morale more than a slight increase in pay. As a Faith Leader, you must grow past the idea that your only responsibility is to pay employees and therefore, they should be happy. The reality is that employees are people and not just products; they need a pat on the back from time to time as well as a paycheck.

  7. Prioritizing People over Tasks

    “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

    “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:14

    People come first, ALWAYS. No matter what you accomplish in life or ministry, it is nothing but “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” in God's eyes if you mistreat people or you mistreated people to get to your position. That success is similar to buying expensive products with “blood money.” Always remember that the person you are working with is God’s son or daughter and you should act accordingly.

  8. Supporting Employees in Fulfilling God’s Plan for Their Lives Within the Vision He Entrusted to You)

    “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

    Remember that God has a plan for their lives just as He does for you, and it is just as important to Him. Sometimes that plan will be fulfilled within helping carry out the vision He has given you. Or, sometimes they are there to help you for a season. Whatever the case, it is our responsibility to help our Christian brothers and sisters who work with us to fulfill God’s plan for their lives. We should also pray, provide wisdom and provide support to them. Ultimately, we have been given the task to serve others, not just have them serve us.