The following is the transcript from an interview of Christ at Work Founder Bernie Fineman, discussing the inspiration that started the Christ at Work nonprofit. You can also watch the video above.
Yeah, really the genesis, so to speak, of Christ at work is that there were actually two parallel things going on in my head at the same time. One, quite a few years ago, I had a vision that woke me up in the middle of the night. And they were words that came to me, and I woke up and wrote them down on the Post-it note.
And the words were, “Boast upon the paths before you, everyone shall be rejoiced.”
But this followed along the lines that after several years of my having come to Christ and now knowing the Bible just a little bit better, I knew that that wasn't a Bible sight, it wasn't anything that I needed to look for in the Bible specifically. But that it was a sense of direction.
So I wrote that down and still to this day have it and look at it daily, trying to still understand what that really means. But the words were, again, “Boast upon these the paths before you, everyone shall be rejoiced.”
Parallel with that, along the same lines, I had already met Tim. We had done some filming for Prayer at Work and bringing God intentionally into the workplace so that we could show those stories to our folks that we work with and our teammates throughout the two companies that we’re involved with and be able to tell that story to everyone and to be able to tell it repeatedly.
So we had already produced a couple of videos and then I went to Tim and I said, you know, as I get opportunities to tell people what we're doing within the company is to bring God intentionally in the workplace, I'm getting opportunities to talk with other business owners and CEOs that at lunch, and I always fumble over my words when I'm trying to explain something, and I don't have any anything to hand to anybody. And Tim said, hey, you know, let's produce a video that kind of gives the summary of what you're doing or what's going on here at both Caldwell and Preload.
So, we produced a shorter summary that I could use in a format on my phone and on an iPad. So now, when I went to lunch, or I was at a dinner, and this topic invariably came up, I was able to show a really quick video to folks. And the video was so much more impactful than just my words or my story and trying to fumble through being disconnected and disjointed.
And with the video, it produced emotional content that you catch. So it's a much more effective way for me to kind of just tell our story to other people. And as that happened, I ran into some other businesses that had similar stories, stories that were much, much deeper than our stories, stories that have been going on for much, much longer. I was just fascinated by that.
I talked to Tim once again, and I said, “You know, let's go capture some of these stories, and then when I tell the story about what we're doing, I could talk about a couple of other companies and show them a quick little blurb on these other companies as well.”
And that began the video content that we're using now at Christ at Work. And as the journey continues, as we continue to walk down the paths and talk with other CEOs, it occurred to me that there is no concise way for folks to gather information about chaplaincy in the businesses. What are the options for chaplaincy? Is it just Corporate Chaplains where you pay fees? Are there part-time chaplains? Are there full-time chaplains? Are they just companies that chaplains belong to or do some folks just do this on their own? Part-time pastors that might not have a big church that they're involved with? What do they do in their spare time? Well, lots of those folks around the country are doing chaplaincy work in the marketplace. And then how do you reach those folks? What organizations are out there that can benefit individuals in companies and can benefit CEOs? And so there's just a myriad of content and of people doing mission work within businesses.
But they're very difficult to find. And you make lots of phone calls. You talk to other people. It's all very time-consuming. And so this vision that happened a few years ago now says, “Boast upon these paths before you,” kind of gave rise to the fact that, maybe what that means is, put together this information in a format in which we could tell all these other stories and just become a clearinghouse, the Consumer Reports, for how to bring Christ into the workplace. And so when we started to look at that as an option, and found that it wasn't out there, it wasn't already available. The chaplain groups all had their own websites. Lots of different companies like CBMC and C12, all had their own websites, but no one was putting together a library of where someone could go.
There wasn't a way to Google:
“Where are all the companies that are doing work with bringing God into the workplace.”
“What are the organizations that can help you to do that?”
There wasn't a search engine out there providing you with that information. And so we said, hey, let's just create a website and be able to do that and share the information freely and fund it completely within our own companies so that we're not looking for donations from people.
We're not telling just the Caldwell story or the Preload story. We're just one of 60-some-odd stories at this point.
But there are thousands of stories out there. We just don't know them all quite yet. And then there are millions of people, we think, that are looking for this kind of information but can't find it. Lots of companies that are doing this are thinking to themselves, we're the only ones doing this, just as I did when we first started praying intentionally at work, before meetings, etc.
Those prayers led to Bible studies. Those prayers led to chaplaincy. Those prayers led to intentional community outreach. Lots of different things that have happened within our businesses. But almost all the businesses that we talk with are doing something similar to this. And we are certainly no poster child for this because there are many businesses doing it much better than we are, much longer than we have, they're much larger than we than we are, they're public companies that have worldwide reach to their employee bases, and they're doing it as well.
But no one's telling that story. And so we just want to be a storyteller, and we want to share the content freely with everybody. And the entire hope is that it might inspire somebody else to start somewhere and give them some ideas as to where that might be, what the possibilities are. Because there's no one road map to this, just start somewhere.
“Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it when it is in your power to do so.”
“Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”