In a split second, a question crosses Matthew’s mind:
"Do I need to ask someone for permission to do this?"
We can picture Matthew sitting at a desk in an office in a corporate building. His computer screen displays a workplace social networking system: an online forum where employees create community chats around various topics. He's been looking for anything glorifying Jesus Christ. There’s nothing.
Suddenly, God-given conviction puts Matthew's self-doubts to rest: "It was like He said, 'When have you ever needed permission to tell people about me?'"
So Matthew creates a new conversation thread called Iron Sharpens Iron. He boldly includes the following description: A place where followers of Jesus Christ encourage and strengthen each other and shine His light in the workplace.
For many of us, thinking about the workplace as an environment to engage with other Christians sounds a bit like a fairy tale. What's your workplace like? Does talk of Jesus evoke shifting side glances, hostile comments, or serious consequences? Do you dare to share the gospel of Jesus Christ at work?
When Matthew first encountered corporate culture, he was surprised. Coming from a 30-year career in the U.S. Navy, he'd seen Bible studies and chapel services widely accepted. He credits
two faithful roommates at the Naval Academy as God's means of saving him. "I looked at them and said, I just wanna follow you guys around and see what this faith thing is all about."
But today, Matthew's workplace mission surprises others.
At first, Iron Sharpens Iron attracted the attention of the company's legal, communications, and HR directors. After an automatically generated company-wide email shared one of the chat thread’s posts, an employee strongly objected to its Christian content. The threat of a shutdown became real.
Instead, God used the conflict for good. Matthew and his friends extended kindness to their objector. The company decided that no action would be taken. And Iron Sharpens Iron's views and contributors increased. So Matthew leaned in all the more:
"It became clear to me there was a vacuum here in the workplace – and a hunger. So I said, let's use the tools God gave us and start a workplace Bible study."
Using the WordGo app as a study guide and discussion tool, Matthew has consistently led a 30-minute lunchtime Bible study — every Monday this year!
They start with three minutes of self-introductions and updates. Then, they dive into their WordGo questions, discuss what the week's reading reveals about God, and encourage one another to respond today. Lastly, they share prayer requests and pray for one another before returning to work.
In their most recent WordGo study, Hope Has a Name: Christ's Life and Work, Matthew shares how God has been strengthening them anew:
"In all our WordGo studies, but especially in studying Stephen before the Sanhedrin, we've learned we can confidently talk about Christ — even in a world that pushes back. We must be loving and considerate. But we can boldly explain the hope we have: We have a living Savior!"
God's message has impact. Matthew and his friends are out in the open where people can see. They're not hiding nor about to stop. They're constantly inviting people and trusting God to grow their numbers.
Using WordGo, they've become prayerfully connected across cubicle divisions, office doorways, and computer screens. God’s Word has transformed their relationships.
"Sometimes we think faith has its little stage – church, family, and maybe a small group – that faith doesn't belong in the workplace. But my 'aha' moment has been, 'Why is that?’ Our mission is to take faith to every corner of our lives!"
Matthew says people are often surprised, saying, "I didn't know you could do this. I didn't know this was possible. I've never heard of anything like this at work." But as we read his story, let’s be surprised and inspired. Matthew's WordGo story encourages us to see our workplaces with fresh wonder and awe at what God can do.
How might you take God’s Word into your workplace? What fears or concerns might you have? Matthew shares this encouragement:
"It's scary when you're called into your boss's office and don't know why. You've got a zillion concerns – how you got there, what you should or shouldn’t say. But remember: We work for the ultimate, perfect Boss. His door is open; we don't even have to ask to get on the calendar. And He has already solved any problem we are about to face. So, if we're walkin' into our earthly boss's office, nothing in that meeting is without eternal significance. And whatever happens, the Lord is there to walk through it with us."