Ken Grace is the co-founder and CEO of an investment-banking firm in Detroit. When he offered his friend Roger Van Noord office space at his firm 12 years ago, he got more than simply another tenant. Roger, who works with The Navigators Metro Ministry, also had a background in the investment business, but he had something else on his heart when he moved into Ken’s office. “For 25 years,” says Roger, “I’ve had a heart for reaching people in the workplace.” So when Roger moved in he immediately began to think, “How can we have an impact on this workplace?”
Soon, Roger surfaced that idea with Ken. He asked him, “What are you doing intentionally to reach your office for Christ?”
Ken was taken aback. “I started talking about how I was a nice guy and that people around the office knew I went to church,” Ken chuckled. “I told him how I’d weave spiritual language into conversations. And I’d even invited Roger to set up his office in my building.”
Roger wasn’t satisfied. “What are you doing intentionally, to leverage the relationships you have with your co-workers to reach them for Christ?” He asked. Ken had no answer.
So Roger and Ken began talking about what they could do and agreed that they could organize some Bible-reading groups at the office. Although Ken said the idea initially scared the daylights out of him, he took a step of faith and moved ahead with the plan.
Part of the reason they moved ahead was Roger’s conviction about the power of the Word of God. “I knew if I could get the Word of God into my workplace, that it would change peoples’ hearts in a way that I never could.”
The two friends invited some co-workers to a small conference room and began reading the Gospel of John together. Roger had made photocopies of the Bible passages and handed them out. Wanting to respect their co-workers time, Ken said, “We promised the people we’d invited that we’d keep it to 30 minutes. But after the third time we’d met, the participants asked us if we couldn’t go a little longer. They felt like we were just getting to ‘the good stuff’ and then we’d have to quit.” Roger and Ken were thrilled at the group’s eagerness to pursue the truths of the Bible.
But were they having an impact? Kevin, one of the participants, explained personally, “Life was chaotic. I was lost. Nothing worked.” But as Kevin began coming to the Bible-reading group, he began to see Jesus in a new way.
“I was searching,” says Kevin, “and over time, through conversations in that office, Ken walked me through what I needed to know. I started to develop that intimate relationship with Jesus—which is what it’s really all about.”
“Now Kevin has his own ministry, in his own office,” says Ken. “It continues. It’s the exponential growth of the Kingdom!”
“It doesn’t take a paid professional to do this,” says Roger. “Anybody can sit down with a small group of people and read through a chapter of the Gospel of John. Anybody can sit down with another individual at a restaurant before work to read through a few verses together and discuss it.”
“This has given me a whole new meaning to why I come to work,” says Ken. “Before, people were a means to my end. They were here to help me accomplish what I set out to do. Now I realize they are my ends. They are why I am here.”
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