Five months into my rounding schedule at one of the companies where I serve as a chaplain, I passed by Chris’ desk and he looked up at me and asked, “Can we go talk?” Chris is man in his early thirties, articulate, and holds an important “people person” position in his company. We met in a private place on site and for the next hour and a half he shared his story, without much emotion and in a kind of matter-of-fact way. He was obviously disillusioned with life and perhaps talking with a chaplain was a final shot in the dark to make some sense of it all. He was wrestling with confusion, and frustration, and disillusionment all at once.
He started with the death of his younger brother six years ago and how his brother had just moved to Charlotte, NC to be near him and start a new life, then his brother dies suddenly. Chris then moved into a heart-wrenching story of love and betrayal in his marriage. Currently he was legally separated and the divorce would be final soon.
He spoke of the woman he loved, a three-year-old son he adores, and the revelation a year ago that his wife was having an affair with the contractor who was building their dream home. He began to bristle with anger talking about being near the man who stole his wife and who is living in that home with his wife, and the anguish of only seeing his son every other weekend while having to listen to his boy say good things about his “other daddy.”
Then he shared his Christian faith and how he has tried to stay faithful to God even though he’s angry and confused by it all. He had all kinds of correct knowledge about God but seemed to talk about God like he was keeping God at a distance. The good thing was he wasn’t going to abandon his faith.
There was so much to his story. Where was I supposed to begin?
After confirming his salvation experience, I asked him what troubled him the most in all. He said the anger. I agreed with him and suggested one more thing: His relationship to God. I shared that although he knows all the correct truths, he seemed detached when he talked about God. He said he couldn’t remember the last time he had a heart-to-heart conversation with God.
So, I proposed two things: Complete a bible study on anger which I would tailor to his needs, and clear off an uninterrupted time and place to have an honest conversation with God. Just say what he felt—directly to God—with no filters. I told him God could take it! Say it like it is in your heart and leave nothing hidden.
Some time passed and Chris was cordial but said little about what was going on. He joined a men’s bible study I was facilitating in the workplace and became an active participant. Recently he shared a testimony with the group. He referred to our conversation and said he did the study on anger, and took a block of time and got real with God, completely honest. He shared that he woke up the next morning and all the anger he had in his heart toward the man who stole his wife was gone! It just wasn’t there. He said he could be in the same room now and treat him just like anyone else. He knew that God did it and he felt so free!
A lesson in this for me is that as chaplains one of our greatest opportunities is to not only share what we know about God, but to direct people to God—and encourage them to be honest with Him. I was reminded that power for spiritual transformation doesn’t lie within me and the employee’s contact with my wisdom. Spiritual transformation lies in their encounter and relationship with God. I might talk and share and guide and do all kinds of things, but it’s truly amazing to me what God can do in a person’s heart, in just an instant.
Rev. Hank L. Fields is a full-time chaplain serving under the ministry of Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA) whose mission statement is “to build caring relationships with others in the hope of receiving permission to share the good news of Jesus Christ in a non-threatening manner.” Corporate chaplains provide confidential and permission-based care to owners and employees by “rounding” * once a week in the workplace, providing individual care sessions for those in need, and responding 24/7 in crisis situations. CCA chaplains serve over 450 companies in nearly 1,000 locations across 42 states. Rev. Hank L. Fields serves five companies in the Charlotte, NC area.
Note: * “Rounding” is the practice of systematically visiting employees in their workplace; like a doctor making “rounds” of hospitalized patients. It is intentional pastoral contact with corporate members.
Hank Fields is one of many CBAmerica chaplains endorsed for ministry in the US market place. Join me in thanking God for CEOs and other corporate executives who see the need for pastoral care in the workplace. From executive offices, to food processing plants, to manufacturing facilities (yes, even vehicle batteries), chaplains are operating daily as part of company employee assistant programs (EAP). Pray that Hank will have eyes to see, ears to hear, and the words of God to speak in each encounter.
For more stories of creative and effective chaplaincy ministries, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. For information on chaplaincy endorsement, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.