A day in the life of a workplace chaplain: guest blog by Michael Tummillo

I often get asked the question, “I’m a pastor. How can I support myself if I leave professional ministry?” A workplace chaplain is one possibility. Our company uses a workplace chaplain–not just for our employees, but if appropriate, we also make one available to our clients.

Michael Tummillo is a workplace chaplain. Here, he describes a typical day:

Photo Credit: theps.net (Creative Commons)

Yesterday, after a 3 1/2 hour drive to East Texas, I visited with and ministered to the staff at a nursing home. Aside from a few handshakes and hugs with people who, after nearly 6 years, already know if they need me, I’m available, the following instances took place:

  • I met two new employees, one whose engagement to a person of another race is not being well-received by family.
  • A woman was sobbing as she walked in to meet with me. Her step-daughter’s aunt had just had a stroke after delivering twins that very afternoon. We prayed and talked.
  • Another woman’s son is in jail and her spouse is an alcoholic. But he is attending church these days – he recently called me and told me that himself. More prayer and counseling with her.
  • After some residents died of natural causes in recent weeks, one attendee was taking those losses pretty hard. She talked. I listened. We prayed.
  • Another employee with whom I counseled last month when she had written a letter of resignation is still working there! I was delighted she’d changed her mind. She was glad of her own decision.
  • The Administrator was recently married. I brought him a wedding gift and we discussed several marketing issues.
  • A man was crying inconsolably regarding his wife’s recent doctor’s report. More prayer and counseling.
In short, it was pretty much the same as my previous visit. As I made the 3 1/2 hour trip back home, I received an additional two counseling calls on my cell phone.

Point is, similar situations exist in every workplace on earth. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, though you may not have the official title of “Workplace Chaplain,” the fact is, you are the church in the workplace. It’s Christ in YOU, the hope of glory that your hurting coworkers need to meet. We must blend the sacred with the secular! Your job is every bit as important as any apostle, pastor, prophet, teacher or evangelist. At the very least, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you may prove to be much more important to a hurting soul on any given day. With the rise in workplace violence, theft, bullying, murders and suicides, one work, one touch, one prayer from you could make all the difference in the world.

Employers, you would be wise to release this army of Jesus-lovers! Your business will be blessed for doing so. If you haven’t considered putting a Workplace Chaplain on the payroll, what are you waiting for? And if you already have a Chaplaincy, make sure your leadership team makes it a point to “drive traffic” his or her way.
Michael Tummillo is a Workplace Chaplain in Texas and founder of the international ministry, The Church @ Work (TCAW). A one-finger typist, Michael has had an online presence since 1999 and has reached millions with his email devotionals, and other Internet activities. You can reach him via email at miketummillo@me.com, and his blog can be found here.

Guest post by Michael Tummillo: How are things at work?


Mobile home parkPhoto credit: Let Ideas Compete (Creative Commons)

I was managing a mobile home park in Texas – 185 homes located about 45 minutes south of downtown Dallas – the only mobile home park owned by a big property management company in North Dallas. Single, divorced, I had long before made up my mind that I was going to allow the Father to use whatever I had available, even if all I had was time. Even if all I had was a job. Like Moses, who gave God the staff in his hand, all I had to offer Him was my job. I had no computer, no phone, none of the tools of ministry I am now utilizing.

I had resided in the park for 8 years with my wife and children. After she divorced me, I stayed there and, when working at WalMart, suffered an accident (a ton of dog food was dropped on my foot) which caused me to remain at home while I healed. One day, the park manager's groundskeeper was caught digging in her purse. She fired him and asked me if I would like the job. In time, she was promoted and I was offered the park manger's position. While I was there, that mobile home park experienced incredible revival. Not only spiritually, but physically, residents planting trees, building nice decks, cleaning up and beautifying their lots. Even the bank that owned the property commented on what a wonderful "spirit" they could feel in the park when they inspected it. 

What made the difference? For starters, I was "prayer walking" at night before I'd ever heard of that. I anointed every post, mailbox and stop sign with oil and claimed that park for the Kingdom of God. I placed encouraging Gospel tracts on car windshields. As time went on, people either committed their lives to Christ, began attending church, with me or elsewhere, or they moved out. The profile of our resident population transformed as one resident was sentenced to prison and a practicing witch's house burned to the ground. In their place, retired ministers and devoted followers of Christ began moving in and our occupancy increased to nearly 100%. Bible studies popped-up. Neighbors started reaching out and getting to know each other. Flying kites, riding bikes, having cook-outs… the Spirit of Peace was downright tangible. 

Some things I did on a "natural" level included a newsletter I created (remember, no computer) as well as a logo for the park to unify us all as a community. I developed the habit of praying for daily divine appointments back then. As park manager, ministry opportunities took place daily right there in my office/residence as visitors would sit across from my desk and pour out their hearts – often quite tearfully – including repairmen and sales people. I always had Gospel music playing softly in the background. One man, a Mormon, told me he could feel the presence of God in my office. When I inquired as to whether he felt that same presence in his church, he stopped to think and finally whispered, "No, not like this." Not only did he become a resident a few days later, but he eventually left the Mormon church and joined a non-denominational church nearby.

This revival wasn't limited to that park. It wasn't long before property managers from our company's apartment complexes throughout Dallas began calling me with Bible questions (no email back then). On occasion, several made the long drive from Dallas just to have a Bible talk. 

Was there resistance? Absolutely, even from a few so-called "Christians." But God favored me greatly. One day, when I was at the headquarters in North Dallas, as I was speaking with the owner, an intimidating woman of great wealth, two detectives walked in and took her 22-year old daughter away in handcuffs for check forgery. After they left, my boss collapsed in her over-stuffed leather chair and tearfully asked , "Mike, what would YOU do?" Suddenly, she was morphed into a hurting, vulnerable mother in need of help. So, I did what was required of me – comforted and counseled her, and received great favor from that woman for the remainder of my 3 years managing that park.

Bear in mind, I had not yet attended Bible College (something that was later paid for, anonymously, on my behalf). I was not "officially" in ministry. I wasn't a church deacon, an elder… I was just a guy who loved Jesus and who understood that we ALL have a ministry. I didn't know it, but I was being trained for the ministry Father had planned for my future. 

What is He requiring of YOU where YOU spend the majority of YOUR time? You're surrounded by hurting people every single day. Start there. Remember, YOU are the church – it's the people, NOT the buildings and NOT the denominations. Our mission is to love one another.
Michael TummilloMichael Tummillo is a Workplace Chaplain in Texas and founder of the international ministry, The Church @ Work (TCAW). A one-finger typist, Michael has had an online presence since 1999 and has reached millions with his email devotionals, and other Internet activities. His goal is not to push religion but to push people, giving his ministry away and encouraging followers of Jesus to share the love of God in the place they spend up to 70% of their lives: the workplace. You can contact Michael at miketummillo@me.com.