Evans Tool and Die

At Evans Tool and Die, it became clear that bringing their faith into the workplace may be the opportunity for some of their employees to hear about Jesus. That's why they decided to make a change, offering a time every Wednesday for a guest or staff pastor to come speak. This time would take precedent over all business matters. This quickly became the focus of their businesses, changing lives by offering their employees a place to be truly seen and to learn more about Jesus.

From Christian Business to Kingdom Business

Dee Barnes: So Evan's Tool and Die, we are a tool and die shop metal stamping and laser metal fabrication shop. For my grandparents who started the business, our family was always Christian, not necessarily walking in depth with the Lord or knowing what it meant to be born again. And in my grandfather's older years, he had began his real relationship with Jesus. And that's when things started changing. And that's mostly when I knew him, right? He was later in years and it became also God showing us to go from a Christian business to a kingdom business. And that's different.

Rodney Barnes: We're becoming to realize that this is, it is God's business. Mr. Evans started it, but it's his business.

Dee Barnes: But we care about people, right? The kingdom of God is making disciples. So Evans became more about the people and how we affect people's lives.

ET&D Employee: I see it in so many different ways. Faith just, it's a way of life here.

Dee Barnes: So one day, about 30 years ago, my grandfather came back from a visit to Bluebird Bus company in South Georgia. And when he got there, they had put a sign on the door that said, be back in 20 minutes, gone to devotion. And so he came back to us and said, can you believe that the whole place shut down for devotion? He said, we're going to start doing that. So he called the local pastor and said, can you come on Wednesdays? And we just started having a little room where all the employees could come if they wanted to hear devotion. And so that's been over 30 years we've been doing it, and now we do it out inside the plant and everybody just rolls up their chairs that wants to come. And we have guest pastors and we actually have pastors that work for us who also take turns doing devotion and we share prayer requests, pray for employees, and I share praise reports about what happens during the time and spend just a great time.

ET&D Employee: I'm confident of this, that God can do more through a peace loving, considerate, submissive person than you could ever possibly do on your own.

Helping Employees Experience Church for the First Time

ET&D Employee: I think for a lot of people that work here, that's kind of might be the only church they experience throughout the week.

ET&D Employee: I know as a Christian, when I walked in here, I felt strong in my faith. But just in my four years at Evans, I feel like I have grown personally in my faith even more than when I began.

Dee Barnes: I do believe that there are a lot of our employees who, this is the only church they come to on Wednesdays. They don't maybe don't go to church. I know for sure that some of them don't go anywhere and don't find a church home. So this is church for them.

ET&D Employee: We had a guy work here. He is worked here for 70 years, so he was here through the whole time of the devotion. We've been doing the devotion for I guess 30 plus years and he never went. But later in his life things happened, and this is where he went to church. This is the only thing he got. And he started coming to devotion. If he hadn't had this, I don't know what would've happened with him.

ET&D Employee: I've heard truck drivers come to pick up a load of material or deliver a load of material and they would make comments about us. Y'all still have those devotions? I said, oh yeah, yeah, we still have 'em and we will.

ET&D Employee: It is really nice that Dee and Rodney and everybody will actually invest that kind of time into us to let us hear the word of the Lord. It's just so impressive.

Dee Barnes: I feel that devotion opens the floor for people to come and ask for help when they need it. They feel like they could come to the pastors or even us leaders.

ET&D Employee: I've had multiple times when different guys would say, "Hey, I got a question. What did that preacher mean when he said, So-and-So," and yeah, he was listening.

Running a Ministry that Does Business

Dee Barnes: I think I'm running…we are running a ministry that does business. I think now. It used to be the business that did some ministry and then maybe it was about the same. And I believe now it's ministry and business runs along with it.

Yes, my ultimate authority is Jesus as Lord and Savior. The ultimate authority of this company is God, the Creator who gave us everything we have. Every good and perfect thing comes from God and it's his. And we are just stewards of what he's given us.

The mission, I believe, is glorifying God through Evans, through everything that we touch, everything that we do, everything that we put our hands to is kingdom. You don't leave that at the door when you come to work. You don't leave it when you go to the soccer field or to the gym. If we're really walking in kingdom work, we are displaying God. We are displaying who Jesus is, wherever we are. So I feel like in business we're displaying the love of God, love of God and his value for people, his love for people in the business. While we do business and make money, you have to make money or else your business is not there. So it is about making money, but more than that, it's about a kingdom, a way of living that I believe, and I hope that people learn to live by being around us.

ET&D Employee: This is our home away from home. And you see real people here and you see their responses and you see how they respond in tough situations. They've seen me in tough situations. They've seen others who are professing Christians and they've seen how we react and they see, Hey, you know what? There's something about that. It's real.

Dee Barnes: I believe we're actually tipped over into the ministry part more than business. That's fun. That's exciting. It really is. It makes me cry too. It speaks to your spirit, not your mind. It makes no sense to the mind that this could be what God's called Evans to do. It makes no sense to the natural mind that that's what business would be for, or that you could actually enter into that transition of it being more about kingdom. And he just uses business as a vehicle to manifest his kingdom and change people's lives. And it's very rewarding and it's more fulfilling than anything it would've thought. I mean, I love doing business. I love doing manufacturing, but I love doing it with Jesus.

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