Implementing a Theology of Work - Lesson 8

Walking Through Open Doors

We look at the four steps of walking thru open doors as we share Christ in our workplace or community. We examine the seven open doors of crises and the steps to take in order to be able to graciously communicate the Gospel of Christ.

Kent  Humphreys
Implementing a Theology of Work
Lesson 8
Watching Now
Walking Through Open Doors

 Walking through Open Doors



Christ@Work Opening Doors. Kent Humphreys. Pages 42 – 62.

Shepherding Horses Volume II. Kent Humphreys. Pages 112 – 138.

Show and then Tell. Kent and Davidene Humphreys (Moody Press).


  1. A question


  1. Colossians 3 and 4


  1. Ephesians  5 and 6


  1. Colossians 4:2 – 6
    God Opens the Door
    We respond


  1. Workplace Pastor List


  1. Open Doors of Crises


  1. Opportunities to Serve Others


  1. An Example


  1. Ministry in the Workplace


  1.  Review the Process


  1.  This Type of Ministry


  1.  Think Strategically


  1. Think from a Servant’s Perspective


  1.  Taking Christ to your Workplace


  1.  Remember


  1. Biblical Examples


  1.  Focus on Your Friends that Need Christ


  1.  Stories!!!!

All Lessons
Class Resources
  • In every church there are a few leaders that can be compared more to horses, rather than sheep. These are "Leaders in the Workplace," not necessarily leaders in your church. Pastors have a dual responsibility of leading their sheep and training their horses.

  • There are four primary ways that leaders grow spiritually. Jesus modeled each of those four activities for the twelve. Successful leaders learn how to grow in these ways spiritually, and as a leader, as a professional, and how to support the transformation of their community.

  • There are five questions that every believer must answer as they take their faith to their workplace.

  • As we take our faith outside the walls of the church to our workplace, we must change our thinking patterns.  These false assumptions, wrong focus, unreasonable expectations, and these prohibit us from being effective for Him.

  • There are five specific activities that Jesus did in His ministry.  We need to pattern our ministry after His example as we go into the workplace and our communities.

  • There are twelve different styles or ways that we can assist others spiritually. The better that we know how God has gifted us and what different activities are needed for various situations the more effective that we will be as we teach and train others.

  • Over the years walls have been erected between pastors and leaders in the workplace. God has called you to be a “bridge builder” by first tearing down those walls and building bridges between church leaders and leaders from the marketplace, so that together they might reach their communities for Christ.

  • We look at the four steps of walking thru open doors as we share Christ in our workplace or community. We examine the seven open doors of crises and the steps to take in order to be able to graciously communicate the Gospel of Christ.

  • Every good leader in the workplace has three key character qualities and every poor leader exhibits three characteristics. A leader looks for certain character qualities in their followers. Effective leaders build trust through relationships.

  • What does it mean to finish well spiritually? What are six specific tools that we need to have in our lives as we seek to be leaders that finish well? We will look at specific Biblical examples of those who finished well.

With Kent Humphreys. Using the mental picture of a shepherd caring for his sheep, Kent Humphreys likens the shepherd to a pastor and the congregation to sheep, into which a few horses (strong business leaders) have been let loose. It is hard to understand these horses, who are just as capable of causing chaos with their strength and of standing quietly off in a corner of the pasture by themselves. How is a pastor to understand and equip these potentially powerful creatures to be part of the “flock” and then to go out into their workplace to minister and influence it for God? The answer to that question is the focus of this book. Taking the example of how Jesus handled His “horses”, a simple plan is offered that can build bridges between pastors and workplace leaders, impacting both the church and the community.


Mr. Kent Humphreys
Implementing a Theology of Work
Walking Through Open Doors
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:05] Welcome to our session on Walking through Open Doors. And this session, along with the other sessions, one of the resources that we're using for this session is a book that I've written, a small book, short book, 60 or 70 pages, Christ at Work, Opening Doors, Impacting Your Workplace for Jesus Christ, and you'll find a number of the things that we're going to share with you and even some more stories involved in that resource which will be available for you as you take this class. So walking through open doors and here's the question that I have for you today, how do we take his kingdom to where we live, work and play? How do we do day to day relationships and develop relationships, form communities, seek neighborhoods in our cities, in our workplaces, so that we can see people transformed by Jesus Christ, see their lives transformed? Well, I'd like to take you to your Bibles today, is to start out with and Colossians chapter three and four. And if you remember in Colossians three, for all you Bible scholars out there in Colossians 318, it says Wives submit to your husbands first, 19 husbands love your wife, children, verse 20 Obey your parents. Fathers do not exasperate your children. Then it talks about slaves. In verse 22 of chapter three of Colossians, what we as leaders and teachers and pastors kind of skip over that because we know that slavery was that issue was dealt with in the 1860s in the civil war in our country. But really slaves there is talking about employees in the workplace relationship. And in chapter one, verse four, chapter four, verse one, it talks about masters, who are the employers or the leaders in the workplace or the business world.

[00:01:52] So but if you turn back to Ephesians five and six, which Paul also wrote that letter, we have the same identical sequence that we have in Colossians three and four wives, verse five or 20 to submit to your husbands. Husbands love your wives, children obey your parents, Fathers do not abuse your children. And then in chapter six verse Fiber, Ephesians, it talks about slaves again, and then verse nine, it talks about masters. Now it asks you, and I won't embarrass you, but how many of you have heard talks and messages and sermons given by you as a pastor on slaves and masters, and probably you haven't given one. If you have, you may have given one, but you've given many sermons and messages on marriage and many sermons on parenting. But we skip over that passage. So Paul, in two books in the identical order, talked about marriage, talked about parenting, and talked about the workplace. And you say, well, where is the church in all of that? Well, the church is in all three of them. We are the church, the body of Christ, followers of Jesus. We're involved in marriage, we're involved in parenting, and we're involved in the workplace. So we want to go to Colossians chapter four, verse 2 to 6 for our text for this session. And in chapter two, chapter four of Colossians verse to Paul says this He says, Devote yourselves to prayer. Now, pastors, can I be real honest with you? We as workplace leaders will only resort to prayer at a last resort because we believe in our own power and our own mind, and we have not submitted that to Christ. So Christ wants us to submit that to him. He wants us to pray.

[00:03:37] The most difficult thing that you as a pastor will ask of us is to ask us to pray because we have to be broken, we have to be dependent, and God is called as to a dependency relationship with him. So men and women in the workplace, young executives, people who are involved in the workplace every day, we need to be men and women of prayer. Chapter four Verse two says, Step one is Devote yourself to prayer. Then verse three says that God will open the door. And I've got to be honest with you, I've been involved for 30 or 40 years in the workplace. I'm 63. I've been in the distribution business all my life, and I like kicking down doors for Jesus. When I tried to bring Christ to the workplace, I wanted to kick down those doors. But Henry Black Abbey says, Watch where God is working. Then join him there. God will already open the door for us. We simply need to pray and watch for the open door. And Colossians four three says that God will open the door for the word so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ. God will open the door in your workplace. You'll never have to kick a door down. You don't have to strategize. We simply need to listen and watch and have a prayerful attitude and God will open the door for us. And then in verse five, it says that God will give us the opportunity. We watch for the open door. God gives us an opportunity. And then at verse six, it says, We simply. We have to respond to the opportunity. So here's the four steps. If you want to have a viable workplace ministry that is ultimately successful, it's this simple.

[00:05:15] Number one, pray. Number two, you look around for an open door. Number three, God through that open door will provide an opportunity for you to share the mystery of Christ. And you simply have to respond to that opportunity. See, Workplace Ministry is not taking religion to work. It's not necessarily having a prayer meeting. It's not having a worship service. It's not even having a Bible study. It's not taking church to work, workplace ministry, assembling loving people and serving people and watching for the open door. As we pray to Jesus Christ. It's that simple. But it works. And so we pray. Make a list of 12 people in your workplace, your neighborhood, or your school and begin to pray for them on a regular basis. Some of those people may be believers, followers of Jesus. Some of them, you know, do not know Christ and others you're not sure. So make a list of 12 people in your workplace. There's 12 people around your desk. Make a people of 12 people around in your neighborhood. You make an it could look something like this. Now you can do this on a piece of paper like this, or you can do it in your head. You can say, here's the believers. Here's two or three believers here. Some nonbelievers I know they don't know Christ here. I'm unsure. Then you list some needs in their life. Let's say it's for a believer. You say, well, they've got a teenager that has some difficulties. I'm going to give them a book that might be helpful to them. Or I'm going to say, let me pray with you with your 14 year old that you're struggling with. So list a need, give them a resource and then write down.

[00:06:54] When you do that, if you simply while you're working just on your breaks and on your lunch, just on whatever you may be an executive so you can determine your own schedule. But if you go around looking at people, looking at their needs, giving them resources, just simply loving them and serving them, you will develop a relationship with them because most people in the workplace are simply trying to survive. But you can do that as you walk along the way without taking away from your work. In fact, it'll add to your work because you'll have greater unity in your workplace. Now, let me give you some crises that happen in a person's life. We're just going to list seven for you. Number one is the birth of a new baby. You say, well, that's not a crisis. That's a blessing. No, it's a crisis. Believe me, if you've had a new baby lately. I was just with a young mother the first three months. She had so many problems with her baby. But it can be a tremendous time, a blessing. Every birth is a miracle, but a birth of a new baby brings particularly the first brings a whole new realm of understanding to that young couple or the death of a loved one. Let me give you an example. The average church, when they lose, when someone loses a mom or dad or son or daughter or their aunt or uncle, grandfather, the church will send some flowers. Now the flowers are gone within 7 to 10 days. The people will bring by food and that's gone. Within a week or two they'll send a card or they'll come by and visit. And all of that happens in about the first 2 to 3 weeks.

[00:08:24] But then there's silence. And in fact, we don't know what to say. My best friend Bill just lost his wife to cancer on December 31st. And so now a few months later, Bill is struggling in the fact he told me over the phone last night, then the third or fourth month, that that was the hardest week that he had had so far. The grieving process really starts about the third or fourth month. So I have got to be close to my brother. He's one of my inner circle. He's one of my dearest friends. I've got to be close to him over the next 12 months as he goes through the grieving process of losing his wife. I need to be there to take him out for dinner. I need to be there to go to a basketball game with him. I need to be there to sit and just listen to him. I need to be sensitive to my brother because he's going through the grieving process, and most of that doesn't even start the third or fourth month. Let me give you an example. In our church. I'm in a medium sized church, and we have we had three or four ladies. I think we had four that lost their husbands one summer in our medium sized church. One was to a boating accident. Another was to disease. I forget the other two, but each of those four ladies became widows in their thirties or forties in a short period of time. All happened in one summer. In our church that normally has four or 500 in attendance, a medium sized church. And so my wife and I did what we always did. Over the next 6 to 12 months, we sent a pamphlet.

[00:09:52] One month we send a little card, one month we sent a little some other little thing, a book the next month, each month, every month in an envelope. We would send something to that grieving widow I. Done that for the last 20 years to my key coworkers, to my key friends, to people that I'm close to. And so several times a year when they lose a really close loved one. Over the next 6 to 12 months, then I will minister to them. In this crisis door of the death of a loved one. They may be a believer. They may not be a believer. I found that whether they're a believer or not, even if they don't know Christ, a helpful 23rd Psalm or a little card or little pamphlet or whatever it is, is a great help to them. But what I found was, is after about six months, one of those ladies met me in the hall. I really didn't even know her personally. She said, You're a cat, I'm afraid. I said, Yes. She said, Thank you for sending those things. She said, You know, I've been ready to leave the church. She said, The first 30 days the church was so helpful to me, so encouraging. But then after about a month of grieving, they didn't know really what to say. So they would kind of avoid me. They wouldn't say anything. And she said, every month, she said I was really ready to leave the church because I just felt like that they'd pushed me off and didn't know how to deal with me as a widow. But she said then something would come in the mail from you, and every month I would read that and it would be an encouragement to me.

[00:11:19] So thank you for sending that. You see, for less than the price of flowers, for far less than the price of flowers, you can for about 35 bucks. You can buy some things, pay the postage, do it all for 12 months. You can send something to your friend or coworker for less than the price of flowers and you can influence them and encourage them and give them hope for months after all the flowers and the food and the visits are gone. That's a door of crisis that I find that is the most the easiest one to minister to people. Both those who know Christ and don't know Christ is minister to them in their time of grief, because we're really not very sensitive. I mean, it's hard for me to visit the hospital. It's hard for me to know what to say, but a little note, a little scripture, a little card can be such an encouragement to those who have lost their people. In fact, I have a ministry to widows. I mean, I told God that I ministered to CEOs and they said, well, you haven't read the list. And he said, Well, Lord, I mean, I'm minister to CEOs, and you've helped me to have a ministry that business leaders and pastors. And he said, Well, you haven't read the list. The list is orphans, widows, the foreigners, the poor. One day I was driving into church and I waved at a widow and she waved back in the spirit of God said to me, You have a minister dwells. I went in the church and I sit down. I said, Okay, God, I give up. I'll do it, I'll do it. And in the end, the pastor gets up to give the sermon.

[00:12:44] You know what he preached on? He had never preached on it before and never preached on it since he preached on widows. So the next day I called my church office and said, Look, God's convicted me, the minister widows, but I don't know how to fix a hot water heater. I'm not good at fixing a car. I'm not mechanical. I mean, but could you give me the list of the addresses of the 17 found out? There was 17 widows in our church, and I wrote them each a letter and I said, let me just being encourager to you. I want to try that. I can do that. I can write you a one page letter of encouragement once a month. And so now I have a couple of hundred widows that I ministered to across the country, and some of them will read that letter of encouragement every day till they get the next one the next month. Because if you're ministering to them as a widow, you're ministering to them in a time of need. A third door crisis is a major illness, or a fourth one would be marriage problems or issues with their children or financial difficulties. Or perhaps they've lost their job. These are the seven doors of crisis that when a person is going through that, when they're in financial difficulties, if you can be a counselor to them, if you can be an assistance to them, if you can minister to them and their door of door of crisis, then you have an opportunity to both disciple them as a believer and to encourage them as a person who doesn't know Christ in a way for you to share Christ with them. So we minister to them with doors of crisis.

[00:14:06] And here's the steps that I kind of go through in my mind for an insensitive business leader. This was really hard for me. I had to learn to observe. I mean, what I've been trying to do in my evangelism training is going to catch them by the collar and share the gospel with them and make sure that you do it at every opportunity. But but Jesus wants us to use the techniques of observing, looking around, to observe, to identify their needs, as I said before, to be sensitive. When you're an insensitive leader like me, that was really hard for me to learn to listen, man. We got to learn to listen, to listen to the issues that they're facing in their life, to be available to them, to serve them. There's that word again. If we love and serve, love and serve to care for them, to encourage for them, to encourage them to love them and finally communicate the gospel. These are the steps that in my mind I go through. It is simply looking for people with. Needs, identifying their needs, being sensitive, listening as I'm available and serve and care and encourage. Finally, I can communicate the gospel with them are the principles that God's trying to teach them. That's how you minister in the workplace. You just simply walk around like Jesus did. Loving and serving people. Being sensitive to their needs and ministering to them. So I've been praying for Joe for several months. Perhaps his mom has died. I know he's going through a normal grieving process. I send him a card. I listen to Joe. I maybe go out and have coffee with him, finding out how he's settling the affairs of us, affairs of his mom. And I ask him to a basketball game, offer to pick him up some things for him.

[00:15:49] I send in some scriptures. I drop him a note. There's just a number of ways that I can respond to Joe as he goes through this crisis of losing his mom. And finally, I get a call from Joe late one night about his teenagers in trouble. I listen trying to encourage and counseling him. Finally, I ask if I can read the scriptures with him and have a time where I can share with with Joe. You know, my neighbor. We moved into a new home after 28 years, the last few months, and my neighbor has got stage four cancer. And I don't believe in those cries. So I've got an opportunity to share Christ with him. On the other side of me are some Muslims, some physicians who are Muslims, and so I have an opportunity to share Christ with them. God's brought me into thinking about people in the Middle East and Muslims and how I can not have a prejudiced against them but actually share Christ with them. So in your neighborhood, with your neighbor, with the people at the next desk, you can have a ministry in your neighborhood or in your workplace. Their need is to have relationships to be loved by their coworkers. And our objective is simply to communicate the love of Christ through them. Remember Colossians four? We pray. I watch for an open door. God gives me an opportunity through that open door and I simply respond, We don't have to push this. We don't have to feel religious about it. We don't have to feel guilty about it. We don't have to try to make it happen. We simply need to be build relationships, build relationships and watch for open doors. Now you can make your own list of coworkers and the problems that they're having and then the tools that you can use with them.

[00:17:36] So the process is simply pray for those in your sphere of influence. Again, watch for open doors. Be sensitive to the opportunities to minister to them and to respond as you build trust of relationships. Now, this kind of ministry is kingdom focused. It's not necessarily a churchy ministry, religious ministry. It's not going to add to the members of your church overnight, but it's based on relationships, it's intentional, and we have to work to build bridges with people like Joe and our neighbors and our coworkers. We have to work to extend the walls of the church out into our natural sphere of influence. And we have to think strategically How can I serve a family with a new baby? How can I face a coworker who's facing surgery? How can I care for them? What can I do with a friend who's having marital issues? What about one with financial problems? I've got to think from a servant's perspective. How can I show concern for a friend who's having trouble, discipline, problems with their child? What about a parent who has a teenager with drug trouble? What about a coworker like Joe who's just lost their job, perhaps for financial difficulties taking Christ? The workplace is not taking religion to work. It's not lifting up. It's simply lifting of our flag. But we don't want to be offensive. It's it's been a light in the middle of darkness, simply taking the light to a darkened place. So taking Christ to the workplace is offering to pray for your coworkers. You know, in the 20 years or so I've been doing this even as a CEO, they weren't intimidated to come into my office because so many times you'll see a church will operate for you. Your aunt's having surgery on Tuesday.

[00:19:17] I'll do that, but come back the next Senate can't. Thank you so much for praying. I'd forgotten all about it. So I carry in my pockets or in my desk drawer three by five cards. If someone says, If you'll pray for me, I would pull open my right hand drawer. I would take out a three before I'd write three or five card. I would write the request on the card, put it in my pocket, take it home and pray for that person. So therefore, when they said, Thank you for praying, I can say I really prayed. So write it down and take it to your quiet time Bible and place it there. Or as you walk or as you exercise. Pray for that person. Offer to pray for coworkers. Write it down. Check with them later. Hey, Sally, how did your aunt's surgery come out? They'll be so grateful. Ask them about their family. Keep a supply at your desk or your little closet. Or what? Ever keep a supply of booklets that you can give out in the right situation? Then cost a lot of money. Just a few booklets that you can get. You can buy them over the web. American Bible Society for a few dollars. Biometric Christian bookstore keeper. Supply a little booklets and pamphlets and go out to lunch as you travel together as your. You don't have to. You're not taking it off the job. You don't have to get in trouble with your employer or your own or whatever. Just simply as you walk along the way, you have opportunities to take Christ to your workplace. Remember, always pray first, preparing your heart. Look for God is at work. Look for the open door, Be patient. And as you walk through that open door, identify which opportunities you need to address first.

[00:20:51] So it's just a question of us being sensitive instead of worrying about herself all the time. Do your job. But as you're doing your job, remember the people around you. So respond carefully and sensitively. They'll want to know that you care for them before them. Listen to what you have to say. They'll look forward to you with examples of character and integrity. They want to know that you really model what you say before you preach it to others, that you really are modeling the biblical thing. And remember, it's caught by court, not taught over time. They will watch you closely. They will catch on. If you really are concerned about them. Now, there's a number of biblical examples of people did this. Jesus did it with Matthew in the tax collectors. He went and had dinner with them. The religious leaders criticized him. He went to Zacchaeus, had he had the centurion go back to the sphere of influence. He had the demonic go back to his community. We share a lot of those stories in our book show and then tell as we share in our book Opening Doors. So our greatest influence with those are going to be with those who were with every day in our workplace, in our family, in our neighborhood. So focus on your friends that need Christ. And this type of evangelism and discipleship takes place in our sphere of influence. And it's not about activities. It's not about doing something, being somewhere, showing up somewhere. It's just about as you walk through life, as you go to a ballgame, as I do something else. I mean, my pastor Ray is such an example. He loves sports and he goes to ballgames and he just influences the people who are watching his son or his grandsons ballgames.

[00:22:34] And it's just he's such an example to me of just walking through life and everyday life, remodels models, that kind of evangelism. And so there's an example of booklets, like I said, the American Bible Society. There's a lot of different places on the Web where you can get books with very expensive, very inexpensive biblical passages, helping people with grief, helping them with different areas of raising children, etc.. Let me just share with you a few stories about what we've done practically in our workplace, in our distribution business. We gave away children's Bible story books. You know, we would do this at special times of the year, so they'd want to get one at Easter or at Christmas. It was fantastic. I mean, I had mothers that had not been to church in years and grandmothers, but they would take a children's Bible storybook off the table. We would say, you can choose any one of these two books. We would have about 80% Christian books and about 20% secular so that we had a mix. But one of the more popular things was a children's Bible story book, and these mothers and grandmothers would take it even if they weren't followers of Jesus, because they knew it was good to read the Bible to their children. The message Bible was very popular. The Spanish Bible. I gave away 37 tourists, panic employees one day, and they were dying for more. We had to get some more. I'd gotten a real good deal on some nice leather Spanish bibles and I won your Bible as great to offer them. If you're in a leadership position, offer them a one year Bible at the first of the year and say, let me give you a gift of a one year Bible and you can read the Bible through in a year, give up your parking place as an executive and park at the back.

[00:24:18] I had to, you know, God had to work me on this. I earned the place next to the front door. I owned the company. I'd been there since the start. And God said, If you want to be a servant, give up your parking place. I said, Okay. So I parked at the back of the lot. We had some black eyes that first day on the blacktop. I slipped and fell. God kind of laughed at me and said, See what your other people are going through. You park next to the front door. So I gave up my parking place and then we would give it to the servant of the month of our firm each month. What an example of just of servant leadership. Cards. Birthday cards signed with notes. I wrote a monthly letter of my heart to yours. To each of our employees and coworkers. We would put it in the paycheck and actually the spouses would read the letter before the. Because they wanted to know what the CEO of the business owner had to say. We would send a Christmas letter. I've done this for over 30 years. You can find that on our website. It lifestyle impact. Com There's some examples on our website. There were I think I've got to get it back on there but some Christmas letters and examples of what you can use at Christmas time to share the gospel in a non-religious way. I sent cards to my Jewish competitors. We had Christmas dinners, we gave away free books. We had a summer picnic for the entire family. We had marriage retreats. We said thank you to people. We had pizza lunches. I would take new employees, and for the first six weeks that they were with our firm as coworkers, we would talk about values every Thursday afternoon and feed them pizza.

[00:25:53] We would have monthly cookouts. We would have Mother's Day for an entire week in May. We would have flowers one day, a card, one day candy, another day on every woman that worked in our firm. You'd say, well, you know, maybe they're not a mother. Well, they had a mother. So we said that you have a mother or you are a mother or your grandmother. And so we celebrated those ladies in our firm during that week of Mother's Day. Can you imagine when they went home to their spouse and shared with their employer, did just a little thing? One one Christmas, we said, take your family to the movies. And we gave them three movies. We gave them It's a Wonderful Life, the Jesus film in a children's video. We gave them the three videos or DVDs and went then with a sack of popcorn and said, Take your family to the movie. And they loved it. I mean, there's just so many things that you can do in so many ways that particularly if you're in leadership in the workplace, that you can help your coworkers. So you pray for those in your sphere of influence. You watch for the doors that God has opened. We're sensitive to those opportunities and we simply respond with what God wants us to do. Thank you for thank you for being considered of these ideas that you can take to your community. You can take to your workplace. Let me pray for you as a leader as you do that, Father, I thank you that we've learned from colostrum. The simple thing that Paula taught us is to pray and watch for open doors. Lord, you want each of us as leaders, whether we're a pastor, we're a leader in our workplace, we're out in the community wherever we are.

[00:27:33] Lord, that we as a church and followers of Jesus Christ would take you to our sphere of influence, to our communities, to our workplaces, to our cities, to our nation. Father, help us in a non-religious way to be able to take the gospel to those around us, help us in a non-religious way to be able to disciple those around us who are followers of you, but who haven't grown much in their work. Help us to be able to do that. Help us as churches to be equipping churches that will release our people out into the neighborhoods and out in the workplace as we walk through open doors. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of impacting others lives for you. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ and for his sake. Amen.

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