In a Christian culture where “full-time ministry” usually means church buildings and seminary, the Navs Workplace Mission will focus on equipping laborers in one of the largest mission fields in existence—the workplace.
“While Navs Workplace is technically a new Mission, The Navigators have been impacting the workplace since their early beginnings,” Navs Workplace Mission Leader Al Miyashita says. “This development is exciting because the workplace is now officially recognized as an integral part of achieving the Calling of The Navigators.”
Members of the Navs Workplace Mission will be both staff and non-staff laborers, Al says. Some staff will work out of an office, serving God through doing their job as well as being available to coworkers for counsel, mentoring, and spiritual discussions and studies. Other staff will come alongside those in the workplace, supporting their efforts. Non-staff laborers in the Mission will minister within the unique opportunities of their particular workplace. All will strive to carry the banner of Christ in character and conduct, Al says.
“Their work will be done in excellence,” Al says. “They will be known for their integrity, their decision making will be sound and principled, they will treat all people with respect, they will be humble. They will be the lights in darkness, a reflection of Christ wherever they work.”
Why the Workplace?
When Al thinks about the workplace, he is often reminded of John 4:35 and Matthew 9:37.
“John 4 says ‘lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest’,” Al says. “Matthew 9 says ‘the workers are few.’ I want to have my eyes opened to see the harvest, and I want to be involved where God is working.”
While every harvest field is worth investing in, Al sees the workplace as particularly ripe with diverse, perennial fruit. The workplace includes 155 million people, Al says, with 37 percent being under age 35, 47 percent being women, 34 percent being ethnic, and the average person spending about 30 percent of their waking hours working.
“What excites me is the significance that the workplace can have in the transformation of personal lives and the cities as a whole,” Al says. “Just think of the attitudes, words, and actions that come out at work, and how different it would be if a person lived a transformed life there. Think of the influence they could have on the people around them, and the organization or company they support.”
Another motivation for the Navs Workplace Mission is the significantly high percentage of Millennials—people who reached adulthood around the year 2000—who have turned away from their faith. The workplace is a prime place to reach them by example.
“Corruption is rampant in the workplace,” Al says. “Businesses and executives have taken advantage of their power and position for personal gain. Millennials are increasingly critical of this kind of corruption. I believe that just as Christians had an impact on the Roman Empire through living godly lives centuries ago, the Navs Workplace Mission will be used by God to transform workplaces for generations to come.”
Called to Work
Al points out that the Bible is full of verses that place great value on work, going all the way back to Genesis.
“Ultimately, our work is for God, whether we are working in the fields harvesting or on a trading floor buying and selling,” Al says. “There is no biblical distinction of any work being more important than another. Everyone is uniquely gifted by God to work, and where we work and what we do are part of His plan for reaching the world with the Gospel. No matter who we are, what we do, or where we are, He can use us.”
Attitude of Availability
Al recently heard a message about the Good Samaritan. He’d heard the passage many times before, but this time he heard it differently.
“I listened, and I thought about the story, and I began to see this Samaritan as a transformed workplace worker,” Al says. “The amount of time we spend in the workplace gives us the opportunity to hear the needs and see the hurts of our peers and employees. We can choose to get involved like the Samaritan, or we can walk right by like the two men before him. As laborers in the workplace, we have to get involved. We cannot be bystanders. Our willingness and availability will allow us to be used by God to heal hearts.”
Al Miyashita spent 31 years at IBM, holding several executive positions. Al and his wife, Moni, were married in 1997 and have two adult children and a son-in-law. Al assumed his role as Navs Workplace Mission leader in May 2014, continuing a long history of service with The Navigators.