Mary recently graduated from university and has just started a graduate job as a Research Analyst. For many, it's time to start thinking about life after graduation, and Mary has some fantastic insight into turning work into worship!
Towards the end of university, the world of work is a daunting place. I loved my course and learning in a way that culminated to something so tangible, but so much of my life whilst studying was focused on Jesus; my relationship with Him and serving at my local church. I wanted to continue this after uni and started looking into church-based work when pressure came to secure something for when I graduated. After I told my academic supervisor that I wanted to go down that route she seemed disappointed, telling me that I should put my fantastic degree to good use. She was right.
Whilst serving in church would have been hugely rewarding, and is what some people are called to, I felt myself being drawn to something more “mainstream”. My dilemma now was job hunting whilst trying to take direction from God, which isn’t as simple as it should be. It’s an overwhelming cycle of excitement, disappointment, anticipation and fear. I knew the kind of job I wanted
but did this fit into God’s plans for my life?
After lots of thinking and praying I decided to start looking further afield, beyond my “home life”, open to living and working somewhere new. The choices were vast, but then I saw it: “Graduate Research Analyst: Christian Ministry”- I had to do a double take! As soon as I saw this I knew it was the job for me, an ultimate best of both worlds solution; why pick between ministry and a secular job when there was a job that combined the two?!
I started looking into marketplace ministry, thinking about moving to a new part of the country, and I felt so at peace about it; I knew God was in this decision.
Flash forward 6 months, I got the job, graduated from uni, moved to Kent, started work and have been loving this new season of life.
"Nothing could prepare me for all the amazing things God has done since taking those steps, but I’m so thankful that He did."
I’ve been working as a marketplace minister and research analyst for 3 months and have learned so much on both parts. Here are three of my biggest takeaways from marketplace ministry training;
1. My work is worship.
This is such a simple and powerful statement, but it took me a
little while to get my head around. Worship for me was so attached to musical
worship, at home with my guitar or at church with the congregation. Coming to a
place where I could see all my daily tasks as an act of worship to Him was so fulfilling and altered the way I looked at the mundane things throughout the day.
This changed the way I see ministry as well, I can minister at work, sat at my desk
completing projects for clients, interacting with people from other offices or whilst
praying as I begin my day, fixing my eyes and giving my work to Him. Our work is
redeemed, it is an act of worship because we work at what the Lord has given us to do.
“Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.” (Colossians 3:23)
2. Bless first.
It’s a game changer! Every piece of work we do, every room we work in,
even the laptops we work on are blessed before anything. The work we do should bless our clients and meet felt needs. We’re not preaching the gospel, but we can
proclaim God’s love and light into people’s lives. Even though throughout a project I
won’t necessarily interact with a client, every time I complete a presentation slide or
create graph to present findings, I can pray a blessing over the work I have done
which will be sent into the hands of our clients. It’s a new perspective on ministry
but still so tangible and transformative.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house’.” (Luke 5:10)
3. God puts us in the right situations without us realising.
God has shown me this over and over again in the past few months. Even when you think you know what God is doing He does something new! Moving to a new place without knowing anyone, signing a contract for a job that I had minimal experience of and leaving behind my loved ones were all big steps of faith for me, but I was expectant for what God would do and how He would move and work through me. Nothing could prepare me for all the amazing things God has done since taking those steps, but I’m so thankful that He did.
Every day I’m working with amazing people, doing exciting and innovative
work, learning new things and challenging myself. Not only that but I’m able to be a
blessing to others around me, in a way that would have been impossible if I had
stayed in my comfort zone and not gone where God led me.
It hasn’t been easy by any means, but God has been with me throughout, and working in a team of like-minded Christians is one of the most encouraging things I’ve ever done.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)