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Go to Where Your Men Work

Pastors, go to where your men work.

Over the last few years as a pastor in the Bay Area I’ve discovered that one of the most important things for me to do is to hang out with men in my church at their workplace.

This helps the men. It shows them that I care about their callings, how they spend 50+ hours of their week, and the people they work with.

This helps me. It teaches me about the unique opportunities and challenges men are facing in their different workplaces, it opens my eyes to a world bigger than our church, and it helps set new trajectories for my preaching and discipling.

This is how I do it:

-Schedule a lunch-time visit with a man in your church. The best use of your time is to make most of these visits with men who are leader types. Schedule to meet the guy at his office, not at the lunch spot.

-Once you show up have the guy show you around his workspace. If you’re naturally curious like me, you’ll quickly have 20 questions about all that you’re seeing around you. Ask your questions. Learn the man’s world.

-Introduce yourself to his co-workers. Don’t tell people you’re a pastor, unless asked or introduced that way. They will find out eventually and they’ll be incredibly surprised that a pastor looks and talks like a normal person and doesn’t spend all his time on church property.

-Once you get the tour, take the man out to lunch (if there’s a lunch place on the work campus, go there, it will lead to more learning about the workplace) and let him talk to you at length about his work. You’ll quickly discover how you can best encourage and empower the man in his calling.

-Always speak out against the “higher calling of ministry” idea if it surfaces. Three out of five times when I meet a man at his work he talks to me about how the work I’m doing as a pastor is “so much more important” than what he’s doing as a software engineer, financial analyst, etc. I always immediately crush and correct this unbiblical view of vocation. Your men need you to tell them that all work is a means of glorifying God, and that working for a church is not superior to working for Google or working as a plumber. It’s your job to empower your men, to help them see the nobility of the work God has called them to do.

Men need pastors to jump into the fire of their work world with them and empower them to keep their eyes on Jesus and do their work in Jesus’ honor, whatever that work might be.

Also, at least for me, doing this is a whole lot of fun. It’s a blast visiting men at their workplaces here in the Bay Area. I’ve been able to see:

-The financial analysis &  game development sector at Electronic Arts.

-The inner workings of a Secret Service office.

-A two-person flower shop in the financial district of San Francisco.

-A small architect firm’s hip office quarters.

-A contractor’s truck-office.

-The sprawling, impressive campus at Google.

-Several software companies who do things I still don’t fully understand.

-The venture capital world on Sand Hill Road.

-Several impressive work-from-home offices.

-(And when I didn’t have a man working there, AnneMarie gave me a great tour of Facebook).

Pastors, if you’re not already doing something like this, start incorporating it into your schedule. I think you should aim for a minimum of 1 workplace visit per week. Doing this is part of what keeps my calling fresh and alive, and what keeps me connected to men and the larger working world.

And make sure you budget for this. This is just as important as your book budget. Budget funds to cover meals and mileage for these crucial visits.

(PS. I’ve written this post from an architect/contractor’s home office)

Photo: Took this shot last week of Boston firefighters fighting a 3 alarm fire in Beacon Hill.

14. July 2010 by Justin Buzzard

Comments (51)

  1. I really like this…..not a man or a Pastor, but it makes so much sense in really creating a meaningful connection!

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  3. excellent…and women in the workplace can also benefit from this type of encouragement and care.

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  7. Very inspiring and helpful post. This is some advice I’m going to put to good use. Thanks for this.

  8. Helpful stuff. Thank you. Are you now in San Fran or Boston?

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  13. My teacher for my Pastoral Leadership class in seminary told us to do teh same thing. He said it was one of the best things he did while he was pastoring.

  14. Thanks for this advice. But… a book budget?! a meal budget?! What are these strange phrases?

  15. Kudos! This should be fundamental for every pastor. Keep it up sir.

  16. RT @JustinBuzzard: Go to Where Your Men Work // Great Advice.

  17. You wrote: Schedule a lunch-time visit with a man in your church. The best use of your time is to make most of these visits with men who are leader types.

    Why spend your time with only “leader types”. And how would you define a leader type?

  18. RT @JustinBuzzard: Go to Where Your Men Work

  19. » Go to Where Your Men Work | Buzzard Blog (shared by Chris)

  20. RT @JustinBuzzard: Go to Where Your Men Work //beautiful concept.

  21. RT @PillarOnTheRock » Go to Where Your Men Work | Buzzard Blog (shared by Chris)

  22. This is an AWESOME thing you are doing. I get so frustrated when ministers try to tell me how to act in the work place and most haven’t been in a work space out side of their church since they were bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly when they were 15. I feel like there is such a distance between church staff and memebers when it comes to real world stuff. When you do stuff like you are doing you empower men and they have some ownership in living for Christ. I know you can’t live it out for them, but you letting them know that they are just as much a minister as you are is a great thing.

  23. RT @JustinBuzzard: Go to Where Your Men Work

  24. Ministry in action, get out there. Amen and amen. Next time you are in Boston look us up, we would love to share life, God Bless Now!!

  25. RT @JustinBuzzard: Go to Where Your Men Work @joseabella @aleuni

  26. Loved this post. Highlighted it over at Red Letter Believer. “Take your pastor to work day”

  27. I have done this very thing and found it tremendously helpful. It not only helps my relationship with that man but also my prayer life for that man as I am able to pray more specifically for him and picture “his world” as I pray.

  28. Praise God for you pastor. There are far too few clergy who leave the walls of the church to be with their congregations throughout the week. I’m not sure how we got from Paul making tents and preaching to where we are today, but I’m glad there are men like you who see the need for the church to be a part of the other 6 days of our lives in an authentic way.

    P.S. I found out about your post from David at Red Letter Believers.

  29. "Go to Where Your Men Work" by @JustinBuzzard There's a great need for pastors to follow this example. I hope you will.

  30. RT @Brad_Harmon: "Go to Where Your Men Work" by @JustinBuzzard There's a great need for pastors to follow this exampl …

  31. Hi Justin! I was already posting a comment for this Blog – but at the wrong place… (the Bookstore Blog). Sorry for that! I found this Blog through a link from a german site and I was impressed how you work! So different like at us in Germany. I like this way working and if I would be a pastor I would try it (I’m a software engineer). But these a good thoughts and maybe they can help me (or my pastor) somehow. Incidentally: I’m 31 years old as well :-) Marcel – a guy from Germany

  32. Great post. Very inspiring to see the action mindset of validating the men and women in the church to see that their countless hours every week have the opportunity to inspire and validate what God is doing. If you don’t mind, I’d love to repost this article on my blog and direct people to your site. If you’re ever out in Dallas, give me a shout. Would love to treat you to some Texas BBQ.

  33. Justin-

    I just commented on your post about following the people in your church to work. Absolutely loved it and would like to feature it in an email blast to 5,000 church and business leaders.

    I started glancing at some other posts and noticed you mentioned you wanted to come to 4-5 conferences but might not be able to make it because of so much going on and cost.

    If you can get here to Dallas, I’d gladly give you two of my personal guest passes (if you want to bring someone) to come experience the RightNow Conference which is all about inspiring and equipping pastors to unleash men and women to serve in their community. We’re going to be doing a couple of things in there to specifically focus on one of the most overlooked opportunities in the church (our people ministering in the workplace).

    Anyone that has your kind of passion and posts something like that is welcome any day of the week. We’d love to have you. I’d email you personally but couldn’t find your email address online so I hope to hear from you and just strike up a conversation.


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  34. Great post and makes sense. Just a thought: Pastors should make sure they understand the resumes and backgrounds of those they wish to equip. We need to carefully help those God assigns to us discern their assignment rather than try to get them to fulfill our own agendas. The steps you suggest are a good example of how to move in this direction.

  35. Re: zhansman- Why spend your time with only “leader types”. And how would you define a leader type?

    I would imagine when he says “leader type”, he does not mean only spend time with charismatic people, managers, or individuals who are influential within their work place pecking order. It seems to me, he is referring to people who have shown fruit in their own walk with Jesus and seek to be influential for the Lord.

    I don’t think it is about playing favorites. It has been my observation, that for a Pastor or any Christian in a mentoring role, their time and energy is a resource like any other and God requires us to invest it wisely. Making a three hour excursion to everyone’s work who wants to hang out is not good stewardship. Investing in people who invest in others, who influence others for Jesus, is the wisest way to minister.

  36. Great encouragement here and well said (actually, done). This is a necessary pattern in fighting dualism, since most men think that what they do in the workforce doesn’t really matter and pastors are notorious for fostering a quasi dualism (that only ‘work for God’ matters).

    When I used to be in construction management (between being a pastor prior and again serving as one now) I hardly ever felt that my day job mattered at all to my pastor at the time. Now I hope to make those connections. You’ve obviously done it in more thoughtful ways than I have/am doing. Thanks for sharing and pointing the way.

  37. RT @PraxisJustin: Good stuff from @justinbuzzard // Thx Justin!

  38. RT @JustinBuzzard: RT @PraxisJustin: Good stuff from @justinbuzzard // Thx Justin!

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  41. Well, women belong at home in the kitchen/taking care of kids, so no need to address them I guess!

    • And women obviously don’t have any spiritual needs either, that could possibly be addressed by meeting with a pastor over lunch. I mean, why meet with women? They can’t possibly be LEADERS in a church so why bother?

  42. Women must be silent and obedient, so no need to worry about them, right?

  43. And what about women? Or do you not think women are equal to men deserving of the same treatment?

  44. Pingback: 15 Life-Giving Habits to Cultivate As a Church Planter/Pastor | Justin Buzzard

  45. This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something
    which helped me. Kudos!

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