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Ministry in the Marketplace: Expecting the Unexpected

Published Date: September 20, 2013

by Dr. Andrea Baare, (2009, D.Min)

Serving Christ in the corporate world means working with God’s enthusiasm for unexpected moves, twists, and turns to plant a seed of faith. I try to obediently follow based on the promise, “For I know the plans I have for you, … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).” In this secular, spiritually challenging environment God never ceases to surprise me with opening the correct doors or introducing right people at the perfect time to help the seed to grow. Growth is, however, slow, and therefore requires much patience and trust.

How good to know that God arrived in our company long before I even noticed there is a Christian ministry which Christians@telekom started in 2001. When I joined the group a couple of years ago, Dr. Galloway’s leadership class (2005) at Asbury urged me to think big and develop a vision and mission for Christians@telekom. I boldly predicted growth for our faithful few in our complex, competitive German Headquarters.

Back in Germany after my first quarter, I felt a little like a fraud not knowing how to turn this vision into a reality. Dr. Rynkewich’s cultural anthropology class (2005) had not necessarily lulled my skepticism regarding spiritual growth following a closer analysis of Germany history, socio-cultural, and religious developments after World War II. Could the powers and principalities which pay no heed to Christian presence in the corporate world be curtailed by the faithful dedication of Christians@telekom?

God loves to surprise with the unexpected when growth is on the agenda. Does not the Lord declare, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 8)? Following my graduation in May 2009, everything seemed to fall into place neatly. As befits a distinguished Asbury graduate, I made a “career move”. I was offered to work as Expert for “Ethnicity” and “Religion” in the reorganized Diversity Department at our German headquarters. God had provided the perfect gift match for my qualifications. Diversity has been part and parcel of my personal life, and turned into a degree at Fuller Seminary in the early nineties. Suddenly, I was at liberty to co-lead Christians@telekom as part of my job description in a secular setting.

The Chief Executive of Human Resources in 2010 initiated the unexpected twist concerning my personal bliss. He committed the Management Board to implement a women’s quota for top management and board positions. The Diversity Department was charged with implementing this quota globally and promoting it politically. I was commissioned with the implementation in the company subsidiary I had worked for until 2009. With no Human Resources background, I was bound to fail and ended up going through 2 ½ miserable years, professionally, personally and spiritually. But God kept the promise from Jeremiah.

First of all, my old network at that affiliate offered me a different position. Secondly, Asbury’s careful preparation had supplied the solid foundation and spiritual stronghold that kept me from sinking during that difficult professional period. Thirdly, the Opus Gloria which we were asked to put together in our first year and had to adjust throughout the D.Min. program had helped to restructure my day in such a way that I very rarely venture out without my early morning “coffee talk with God”.

I am filled with awe how God turned this experience into something so fruitful. God skillfully used my presence to realize the vision and mission for growth in the Diversity Department by using the company’s core competencies:

  1. The Diversity Department integrated us into the official employee networks in our corporate intranet which is open to everyone globally.
  2. As one of Europe’s leading providers of internet and communication technology, Deutsche Telekom maintains its own social media platforms. Christians@telekom felt God’s extra nudge last year to join and has experienced an amazing growth! There are cell groups in various subsidiaries all over Germany now.
  3. Some participants join our bi-weekly meetings via telephone conference.

Ministry in the marketplace means “business” and that requires trusting God’s passion for the unexpected twists and turns. Without this presence the corporate would be a God-less place, void of any attractions, purpose, or meaning, especially for someone with my background. With Christ the marketplace is a mission field that promises growth and prosperity, hope and a future for a growing group of Christians who want to make a difference.

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