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Logo of ASI 2019: Business Unusual

The Neglected Class

Cynthia Heidi


Cynthia Heidi

Managemant Consultant. Leadership of Nicodemus Society.




  • August 2, 2019
    10:45 AM
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I really admire people who can take fantastic photographs a friend of mine who is a photographer she told me that the trick to a great photo is to optimize 3 factors lighting your subject and the composition so I decided to take your advice and I went to New Zealand for vacation I thought it would be a great place to take some National Geographic worthy photos. And about 3 days into my trip I was in the South Island in New Zealand and I actually spotted the world. Parrots called the New Zealand Kiya I was absolutely thrilled I pulled out my telephoto lens and I started snapping some photos before the parrot flew away I want to show you my best photo of the New Zealand. I really maximized plaiting subject and composition. Now what's interesting is that I found that having the right perspective on the purpose in life is much like having the right lens through which to view the world. And what happened for me personally is I had a personal encounter with God A few years ago up until that time I felt like I was living my life out of focus and it wasn't until I had that person encounter where I felt like. God gave me a different lens through which to view my life and so I left my job in a private equity fund in Boston and I spent 2 years in a unique mission field it is still one of the most unchurched places on the planet pastors and Bible workers aren't going there these are people that are incredibly skeptical about God and they speak a different language that mission field. Was the Harvard Business School. I want you to think about the Harvard Business School as an incredibly challenging and untapped mission field like I said passers by workers aren't going there these are some of the most healthy us legit. And intelligent people on the planet they are they have a lot of their earthly needs are satisfied and the Bible tells us in Proverbs that the satisfied soul has little interest in the things of God. Furthermore I was the only Adventist Christian in a population of about 2000 people that ratio is worse than the ratio of Adventists in the 1040 window. Now what I want you to think about is the Harvard Business School is actually just a representation of a much larger mission field filled with the people group I refer to as the wealthy the worldly and the well educated or the W 3 is for short. Now I actually want to define the W 3 is a bit more for you because I think many of you are in this group so let's start with the well educated most of you are probably one of the 77000000 Americans over the age of 25 with a bachelor's degree or above. What you might not be surprised to find is that a lot of the research out there says that there's a negative correlation between education and belief in God I've lost count of the number of times over the years people find out I'm a Christian and they're like wow really you're Christian but you're so logical. And so this is a tough crowd let's talk about the worldly the worldly very much have the aspirational mindset that is focused on power and influence and money and beauty I'm sure you can all relate to those temptations and you probably have lots of friends who do as well but I want to spend a little bit more time on the wealthy if you zoom in on this graph this is showing the mix of annual household income in the United States you can see that there's a big chunk of the population about 84000000 people that have 100000 or more an annual income Now let's contrast that with the advent of North American division population. You look at that little bar there there's only about 7 percent of Adventists in this group so while we have about $200.00. Many 3 non Adventists for every Adventist overall in this particular group it's more like $997.00 non Adventists for every one Adventists So this is truly an untapped mission field these numbers suggest that we as a church have not done a very good job of reaching these people with the gospel and. The question is not firstly gotten this question a lot is should we even care about reaching this group. So what I'd like to share is that interesting Lee enough Ellen White who many of you know is a very inspired prolific author from the 19th century she actually wrote a lot about this group and she said that we talk and write much of the neglected poor should not some attention be given also to the neglected rich many look upon this class as hopeless thousands of wealthy men have gone to their graves unworn because they have been judged by appearance and passed by as hopeless subjects but indifferent as they may appear I have been shown that most of this class are sold burdened there are thousands of rich men who are starving for spiritual food many an official life feel their need of something which they have not when I was in business school I had many classmates who were going to the school psychologist taking anxiety medication using marijuana to deal to stress in fact one of the most popular topics I came across with talking to my to my classmates was actually about the Sabbath. I had one particular classmate who is a self identified atheist from the Czech Republic and he actually asked me a lot of questions about the Sabbath and how you keep it in the health benefits and even though he didn't believe in God he actually wants to keep the Sabbath and so he's trying. She actually has another reason so Ellen why talk about another reason why we should be privatizing this group she also said that men in business life in high positions of trust and men with large inventive faculties and scientific insight men of genius and I add women to this phrase we should be the 1st to hear the. Call to them the invitation must be given so she's actually saying not only does this group need God their soul burdened they should actually be prioritised with the gospel why is that well she's that converted to the truth they will become agencies in the hand of God to communicate the light will have a special burden for other souls of this to go back to class time and money will be consecrated to the work of the Lord and new efficiency and power will be added to the church so let's think about this an illustration. Is in the Forbes $400.00 number one list he has a net worth about $160000000000.00. The advent of global ties and offerings is about $3200000000.00 a year. If you had Jeff Bezos working for God he could fund the world church for almost 50 years. Now you want to be a billionaire for your tithes and talents to matter of course but you're getting the idea of how trees can help accelerate the spread of the gospel. So I want to actually ask you a question we've clearly been lax in reaching this group but want list I want to probe it on why have we neglected this class so I want you to take a look at this photo spread over the over the top but take a look at this guy what do you think when you see this gentleman do you think he would be interested in God. Do you think that he would accept your offer of a Bible study. If you're like a lot of people that I've shown this picture to you'd probably be thinking No there's absolutely no way that this guy would be interested in God. And I was interesting is that right there is the reason why we have not reached this group is because we kind of assume they're just not interested so why bother with the thing is a lot of times when we make judgments about people like this it actually says something about ourselves what we're really thinking is what he has is better than what I have. That's right now Ellen White did not mince words about this she said there are intelligent men and women who we are afraid to work for fearing ripples but earnest efforts should be made for the higher classes coming close to their hearts visiting them and using special wisdom to win them to the truth one reason why efforts have not heretofore been made for the higher classes I have presented before you is a lack of faith and real courage in God So the reason why we have not reached the screw is because we're scared we don't have enough faith and we don't have enough courage and God I always cringe when I think about a situation where I was in like a few years ago I was working in that private equity fund in Boston I had a coworker who was curious about my faith and instead of deploying any of the techniques that I'm going to share with you later I basically choked I outsourced the opportunity to share the gospel I basically referred him to a prophecy seminar according. To say that didn't really go anywhere and he never watched it. And so if we think about this scared we are missing faith and real courage in God there's actually another reason why we're not reaching this group and that's because our traditional evangelist methods don't tend to work with this group think about Cole Porter Inc think about prophecy seminars think about Mailer's hell and why even said that the hook is not baited to catch this class the best way to reach this group is actually through all of you you are the ones who have personally seen ships who have daily interactions with this group here their friends their coworkers their classmates their neighbors their customers their bosses in some cases you are the ones who have the best opportunity to share the gospel which is why when I talk about access it is so important that we encourage more people to go into the W 3 mission fields around the world we actually more engineers more scientists more professors more doctors more lawyers more engineers all of these people need. To be working for God I was in actually in Andrews University last year and I had a student come up to me and this young person basically said you know I've really wanted to be an engineer but my mentors are telling me I should go into seminary instead so that I can work for God. That's right we should be basically outraged at this rate because that implication is that you can't work for God as an engineer which I resent because I am an engineer and we actually need all of you to actually take the Gospel message to your friends and coworkers Now you might be wondering OK fine I believe that there is a problem we have been evangelist sickly neglecting a significant part of the population you know you clearly all a critical part of the solution how do I share the gospel effectively with a group that's often incredibly skeptical about God and faith so let's talk about that but before I jump into some tips I want to cover some very important prerequisites 1st you have to experience heart conversion because you cannot share what you don't have. We actually when your heart converted you actually can't help it you will be compelled to look for ways to share the gospel and 2nd is I really hope that your friends and coworkers really admire you and that they know you're a Christian because actually in Matthew 5 there's a great verse that I love that says Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven when your friends know you The admire your excellence in life and work and then they find out you're a Christian you make God look awesome and you have the credibility to share the gospel with them. And finally we talked about having natural access So assuming you have heart conversion life transformation and natural Access How do you share your faith authentically with your peers so the best analogy I've come across is fly fishing if you're familiar with 5 fly fishing you need to have the right bait he to intice. Hey where the fish is going to be any need to be constantly casting over and over waiting for a hungry fish to come to your bait Now the key word here is attract the hungry fish we're not doing this this is commercial fishing where you are basically dragging a net through the water and grabbing every fish in there no matter who they are and you're dragging them kicking and screaming into the boat and they are probably clubbing them until they were stop resisting. God doesn't work this way so we shouldn't work this way we are looking for the hungry fish so the question is how do you fly fishing and catch hungry fish in real life the way I like to think about this is using a conversational menu of options you offer a few topics in conversation one hungry fish spiritually hungry fish will pursue this spiritual topic and that's great maybe they're hungry you can keep going down that track if they are not hungry and they don't pick that spiritual topic that's fine talk about something else respect that and move on I'll give you a quick example that's one of my favorites I was in a cafe with a friend of mine from business school and he knew I was a Christian he asked me a very interesting question he said you know Cynthia I know few of us have actually noticed that you don't wear as much makeup during class as a lot of the other women why is that is it because it's against your religion to look attractive. Yeah I was a little bit taken aback but by this time I was practicing my flyfishing skills and so I offend essentially offered a conversational menu of options and so I said well there's a lot of reasons 1st I try to live a healthy lifestyle so I don't have to wear a lot of makeup 2nd I prefer spending my time in the morning for other things like working out or having some spiritual time and finally I really only wear make up when I'm trying to look more professional or for special occasions like church on Saturday now if you had said you know you have some great deltoids What's your workout he's. Hungry fish right but on that day he actually asked me church on Saturday what church do you go to which told me he might be a hungry fish and what ended up happening is we had an interesting conversation that long story short led to about a year and a half of Bible studies and now I could give you lots more examples because flyfishing is all about casting all the time but the one thing I will tell you is that when you have a hungry fish you must always always extend an open ended invitation and what I mean by that is it sounds something like If you ever like to discuss these topics further just let me know this language is very important because you're not backing someone into a yes or no corner and you're giving them the time for them to be ready whenever the holy spirit moves them and 2nd of all people in this group tend to not want to take advantage of your time and you need to make it very clear that you are actually very happy to talk about these topics so I want to give you one more quick example this happened about a year and a half ago I had a new console and reporting to me he is an Orthodox Jew he is actually incredibly smart I think he has a G.-D. from Yale and an M.B.A. from Stanford. During one of our 1st few conversations I found out he was an Orthodox Jew and I said That's great I also keep the Sabbath is not wonderful it's one of the most important parts of my life and he said that's interesting I've never heard anybody talk about the Sabbath that way and we ended up having a really interesting spiritual conversation where he admitted to me that he was having some doubts about his own personal faith I actually shared a little bit of my personal testimony confronting some of the same questions and doubts and I left him with this open ended offer so this was a year and a half ago. About a year to 6 months ago I was having a professional development conversation with this guy and you know asking him how things were going he eventually shared again that he's still struggling with his faith I repeated my open ended in detail. And he actually accepted and so for the last 6 months I've been studying with this orthodox Jewish consultant coworker and only using the Old Testament which has been an interesting challenge but it's been a huge blessing and what I want you to remember is you never know when people will accept your offer the guy that I was having that make a conversation with that conversation actually was at the end of our time at school we both graduated I didn't talk to him didn't see him for about 9 months and out of the blue I get a text message he was in India at the time and he just texted me saying I'd like to accept your offer. And so for 9 months God had been working on this guy's heart through the Holy Spirit and he finally accepted. I want to leave you with a few other quick tips 1st if you're not in this alone pray and ask God to actually send you hungry fish and to give you the wisdom to be able to share the gospel in its most attractive way next Never assume how someone feels about a topic or what they know always ask questions and get more context it helps you anticipate their questions and it also helps you defuse any red flags. Don't try to answer a question in one or 2 minutes in the hallway right somebody ask about the status of me ask you about something in the news like don't try to just shut the door on a potential further conversation try to actually separate it gets separate dedicated time so that you are prepared your friend is in the right mindset and you can do just as the topic. Redefine success from interaction do not assume that the only thing that you can do to be successful with reaching these people is by getting them baptized into the Adventist Church even if you are just showing your atheist friend that a Christian can be smart and logical and a great friend that's success. And finally as part of getting those those questions. Were they interested in what it what are the things that they struggle with start where they're interested but always always ground the conversation in the story line of the Bible which is really God's love. So I want to leave you with one final thought that I absolutely love this quote Helen White wrote that it requires more grace more stern discipline of character to work for God in the capacity of mechanic merchant lawyer or farmer carrying the precepts of Christianity into the ordinary business of life than to labor as an acknowledged missionary in the open field. It requires a strong spiritual nerve to bring religion into the workshop and the business office think defying the details of everyday life and ordering every transaction according to the standard of God's word but this is what the Lord requires And so my challenge to you is that on Monday whenever you go back to work bring a different lens remember that God sensu and blessed you with a job that gives you access to a unique mission field the salary you earn it's just a bonus thank you this video was produced by audio for your song avatars Lehmann's services and industry. If you would like to learn more about. The site. Or if you'd like to. Visit.


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