Written by: Maureen Kaiser
Cultural Engagement Specialist
Every Sunday, Jasper Ventures employees sit in church pews across East Texas and listen as their pastors faithfully bring instruction and encouragement. On August 22, the Beyond Business department turned the tables and offered nearly 30 pastors and ministry leaders the chance to listen and receive encouragement at Jasper Venture’s first Pastor Appreciation Day.
Carrie-Ann Jasper-Yearty, Vice President of People, opened the morning by thanking the pastors for pouring so much time into others. She said she hoped they would leave Jasper Ventures feeling appreciated, encouraged, and better resourced to equip those on mission in their places of work.
Melissa Winebarger, Beyond Business Manager, explained that Jasper Ventures’ commitment to love and care for its employees resulted in the development of the Beyond Business department, which sponsored this outreach/in-reach event.
Ministry leaders and employees in attendance were then treated to a devotional led by Blake Schwarz, director of Pegasus Fellowship, a ministry of Park Cities Presbyterian Church. Blake joined the staff of Park Cities in Dallas, Texas in 2015 to help build a new faith and work ministry called PCPC@WORK.
He began by posing a question to the room full of spiritual leaders: If you were tasked with preparing the way for Jesus to come, how would you tell people to spend their time?
Blake referred to Luke 3:1-14 and pointed out that after various groups were taught and baptized by John the Baptist, they then asked him how they should live. John the Baptist did not tell all of them to quit their jobs and go into ministry. Rather, he specifically told the soldiers and tax collectors to do their jobs differently.
The question for each of us, then, is, how can I do my specific job differently to point those around me to Jesus?
Blake ended by sharing a few practical tools to help us move through each day with our focus on Jesus. For instance, at the beginning of the day as you put on your shoes, ask God to help you be His feet here on earth.
Blake also introduced the Prayer of Examen as an evening routine:
- Open with a prayer of invitation, becoming aware of God’s presence.
- Review the day with gratitude.
- Pay attention to your emotions. God may show us through this where we fell short.
- Pray for one feature of the day.
- Close by looking ahead to tomorrow.
Before the Jasper employees returned to work, everyone received a reprinted chapter from Deploying Vocational Power: Four Pathways by Amy Sherman along with a practical tool to encourage prayer for the workday called Prayers for Vocation.
Blake then shared with the pastors about the importance helping their congregations connect Sunday teaching to Monday work. He reinforced the importance of work, noting that there are two primary spheres in everyone’s life: family and vocation. Blake explained that sometimes in Hebrew, work and worship are the same word. So whatever vocation we find ourselves in, we are worshipping something as we work. Because we are always working, we are always worshipping. Blake cautioned people to be careful of what you worship.
He challenged the ministry and church leaders to think outside the box for ways they can help people grow in their faith beyond the actual church building. What does it look like to impact people during the week? Since people spend the bulk of their time in their workplace, how can you move Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness forward in those places?
The day ended with a panel of three Jasper employees answering questions about the challenges of following Jesus at work. The thoughtful questions and answers helped the church leaders more clearly see the challenges of working in the midstream oil and gas industry through the eyes of the men and women of Jasper Ventures.
Pastors play an important role in our communities. Regardless of personal church attendance, people in crises often turn to churches and their leaders for support in hard times. Next time you drive past a church or think about a ministry, please pray for its leaders. Carrie-Ann suggests these possible prayer points:
- Deep spiritual encouragement: for strength and refreshment
- Families and marriages: surrounded with a hedge of protection
- Physical strength and health: energy to serve faithfully
If you were unable to attend but would a copy of the resources mentioned above, please email Maureen Kaiser in the Beyond Business Department at [email protected].
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