I loved going back to school as an adult. I adored getting my higher education at a Christian college. I literally loved every bit of it—looking at each subject through a Christian lens, starting classes with prayer, meeting fellow students who shared my love of Jesus Christ, and especially the Bible classes. I loved the Old and the New Testament classes.
As a Strength Finder “Learner” who loved Jesus, I was truly in my element.
The Bible classes that were part of my degree program were truly my favorite. The earnest desire of my heart to learn more about God and his word must have been apparent as I threw myself into my studies because it was regularly reflected in comments from fellow students and professors.
“Shari, why aren’t you in the ministry program?” was the question that was repeatedly voiced. It reverberated through my mind, sometimes causing me to doubt what I knew to be true.
I want to be! was what wanted to shout in reply. Instead, my canned answer came out—at first with great effort, much more easily after practice. The more times I repeated my reply, the more I genuinely believed what I knew to be true. It didn’t matter what I wanted to do or say, I simply knew what I was supposed to do.
I did long to be in the ministry program; the observations of those around me came with good reason. But I also knew without a doubt that I had heard the call of God to be a Christian in the business world.
And I knew where the call was birthed and why it burned so strongly in my heart.
A born-again believer who built a friendship with me at work had shared Christ with me.
I grew up in a denomination that believed in God; however, when my friend talked about salvation and giving her heart to Jesus, I was unfamiliar with the terms and ideas.
Because of that experience, I realized how important it is to be a Christian who is willing to give testimony to Jesus Christ in the workplace. I wasn’t involved in a church when I interacted with my friend, and would not have come to faith in Christ if it had not been for the time I spent with a friend that I had met in the workplace.
So, when I entered my course of study later in life, I studied the New and Old Testament along with math and science while in my business degree program, trusting that God had a plan that would unfold. It did. And it didn’t take long.
I was only midway through my business degree when a tough layoff had me seeking new employment. I was hopeful an entry-level position at Medtronic would more easily allow me to complete my college education.
One month after starting in my new position, there was a short note in the company newsletter mentioning a new employee group for Christians at Medtronic. The idea of an organized group for Christian employees immediately grabbed my attention. My heart leapt at the idea of Christians meeting together.
I reached out to learn more about the Medtronic Christian Employee Resource Group (CERG, pronounced “surge”), not to get involved, but to satisfy my curiosity. Unknowingly, I began the lifelong journey God had for me to connect my passions with his purpose for my life.
The term “marketplace ministry” was a new concept for me, even though the idea of reaching people for Christ in the world outside of the church was not.
What began as a bid to satisfy my curiosity led to me serving on the leadership team of CERG for nearly thirteen years, the same number of years I worked at Medtronic, and introduced me to other Christ-following men and women in the business world.
It has been an honor and a privilege to continue the work since leaving Medtronic. Christians in business are hungry to connect their faith to their everyday work. Companies that do not have organized faith work groups are hungry to learn more about starting them.
God continues to use my book, Walking in Faith: Stories of Hope and Encouragement, as he continues to use me in his Kingdom work.
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Shari is currently serving as a Hospice Chaplain at Olive Grove Hospice. Shari is a certified coach who lends a blend of business and ministry experience to her every endeavor. God has given her a passion to encourage people to integrate work and faith. You can learn more about her book, Walking in Faith: Stories of Hope and Encouragement on her website: www.sharjharris.com and contact her at email@example.com