God at work
A window washer, state senator, chiropractor, photographer, realtor and businessman tell how they incorporate faith into secular work.
By Callie Chase, Alicia Dahl, Jared Martinson, Abby Pautz, Lexi Reichle, Jhenna Becker and Judd Martinson
Paul Campbell works for a technology solutions sales company called Oracle and a business investment startup called Brown Venture Group. He interacts with people on a daily basis which is ample opportunity to share his faith, even if it’s through a discussion about finances.
“A lot of times we think we have to be a pastor on a stage, but it’s really taking what God’s given us and loving others with that,” Campbell said.
Addressing a company’s technology issues and helping invest in business ideas give Campbell a sense of purpose. A purpose that transcends the abstract.
“Sometimes people don’t need a weighted or heady thought,” Campbell said. “They just need someone to talk about finances with them.”
An emergency room nurse’s job is hectic and fast. But one day, Garrett Driscoll found a place to slow down, sitting next to a cancer patient who was slowly dying and wanted to talk. So he listened.
“I get an opportunity to meet people in their brokenness and pain and to shine a little bit of Jesus into a dark time,” Driscoll said.
Over and over again, the patient asked why God would allow this sickness to happen to her. Driscoll had no viable answer to that question, but one thing was on his heart to share.
“What I do know is God loves you, and he promises to be with you in all this,” he said.
Wax on wax off
Matt Herringshaw believes in acting out his faith by doing excellent work. He connects his faith to his window washing company by striving for more than earning money.
“The monotony of cleaning a window is brutal when you’re doing it all day every day,” said Herringshaw, owner of Clear Cut Window Cleaning.
Herringshaw began his window washing career by going door to door searching for customers as a 15-year-old. His parents were pastors at the time, which gave him a network of customers, so he emailed all their friends.
“I always was interested in wanting to start my own little thing,” he said.
Herringshaw kept cleaning windows during a few summers while he was in college at Bethel University where he completed his undergraduate in business. For a summer, he used his window business to hire a few at-risk, inner-city youth from a nonprofit that his friend started. He decided to pursue the business, and continued after college.
In the last year, Herringshaw was more hands off with window cleaning itself. His brother joined him full-time with the company, and they hire part-time employees in the summer.
“I viewed my business as, sort of a means to another end where it would fund other things that I wanted to do,” Herringshaw said. “I didn’t view myself as someone that wants to come to a Starbucks once a week and clean their windows.”
His brother Michael has challenged him to run the business without putting finances at the forefront. The vision should be about serving, loving and helping others to grow in their leadership skills.
“We’re called as followers of Jesus to just do whatever we do with excellence,” Matt said.
As a business, Clear Cut Window Cleaning has an opportunity to interact with customers in their homes.
“It’s super simple, you just love the person in front of you, and cool things happen.” — Matt Herringshaw
When cleaning windows at a woman’s house, Herringshaw felt led to pray for feelings of loneliness in the house to leave. Then he found out that the woman’s husband had died and she was struggling with loneliness.
It’s not a business tactic or a quest for a good tip, but it’s taking the opportunity “to come in with the love of Jesus and confuse them with how much you care for them,” Herringshaw said.
More often than not, Herringshaw and his employees end up chatting or praying with customers at the end of a job.
“It’s super simple, you just love the person in front of you, and cool things happen,” Herringshaw said.
The company cleans elderly living facilities too. Herringshaw tells his summer employees to take elderly people up on coffee conversations during the day on paid-time. The conversations open up opportunities for prayer.
“I think we had a running count at one point of how many elderly women ended up crying in these college-aged guys’ arms,” he said.
The team of people Herringshaw hires has become a focus for him. He aims to have a tight-knit community of men and women that work for the company.
Herringshaw sees his business as a training ground to teach people two things: “How do you love the person really well in front of you and how do you be really excellent at your job even when it’s boring — even when it’s redundant,” he said.
Employees who learn those skills can take them anywhere.
“You can do anything really well if you can be a really good window cleaner,” he said.
God should have Post-its
Crying in her car and unable to find a way to calm down, Michelle Benson found herself at the Saint Paul Cathedral with her face drenched with tears. When abortion is a topic of decision, Benson finds herself asking for forgiveness for the lives of unborn babies after the Minnesota Senate made the decision to fund abortion.
Bookstore clerk. Chemical lab research worker. Accountant. Now a state senator, Benson says she has never shied away from her faith in any of her vocations. Growing up Catholic, she didn’t want to work somewhere her faith couldn’t prosper.
“I asked myself, ‘Okay God, these are all of the things you have put into my life. Am I serving your mission the way I am supposed to be serving it?’”
Benson prays every morning while eating breakfast and with her daughter on the way to school, encouraging messages playing in the background on the way to work.
“I wish God would write Post-its and put them on my mirror,” Benson said.
Benson says she could list 100 coworkers on top of her friends and family who support her faith in the workplace which makes being confident in her faith at work come naturally. Her colleagues often pause and pray for her if she has had a tough day.
There are still plenty of others that don’t want to hear what she thinks about God. As a Catholic woman in politics, she receives condemnation via email, letters or phone calls because of her conservative opinions that influence decisions that some people do not agree with.
As a state senator, Benson is faced with backlash and difficult decisions but she feels protection and comfort knowing that “God’s got it.”
“If you want to succeed you need to be who you are,” Benson said.
Scattering the seed
Brent Scheideman, a chiropractor from Becker, would have been happy with a lot of different occupations. Ultimately, his decision came down to wanting to help people and making an impact in their lives.
“I always knew my encouragement for people is to be outward focused,” Scheideman said. “The Bible says to love God and to love others. So I would check back in with myself; through work am I loving God and am I proud of how I’m working? How am I affecting others around me?”
Scheideman opened his own office: Scheideman Chiropractic & Body Shop. Being an owner allowed him to be more flexible with his schedule and busy life outside of work — leading his family of four and coaching high school football.
“I realized that if one person’s asking me [for prayer], there’s probably five or 10 that don’t ask and don’t have the ability to ask.” — Brent Scheideman
“I knew as an employee, faith was possible to be exemplified,” Scheideman said. “But as an employer, I have an even greater opportunity just because I’m in control of more things that are going on in my office.”
Scheideman started a prayer box in his office so people could fill out a slip of paper and stick it in the box. Each day, he looks over the prayers and spends time throughout his day praying for these individuals.
But the work atmosphere is not all that exemplifies his faith.
“I have patients asking (for) prayer all the time and I just pray with them, but then I realized that if one person’s asking me, there’s probably five or 10 that don’t ask and don’t have the ability to ask.”
Having a prayer box is a way for Scheideman to integrate his faith into his work life.
“We are not responsible for preparing the soul, but just to scatter the seed,” Scheideman said.
In the healthcare field, he says people easily lose hope when they receive hard news. Scheideman is surprised how often faith comes up in these situations.
“I talk a lot about how hope in my life is not related to physical wellbeing, but the joy I have that someday I’m going to be in heaven and that’s when I’ll have a glorified body,” Scheideman said. “This tent that we’re living in is just temporary.”
Faith doesn’t just impact his work, it changes the way he lives his life. He says when faith is someone’s base, it will change everything.
“I’ve worked 19 years in this profession and I’ve asked lots and lots and lots of people if I could pray for them and I’ve never had anyone say no,” Scheideman said. “That was surprising to me. I thought that would’ve been a roadblock or something people wouldn’t be comfortable with, but it doesn’t matter who they are or where they are in life; people have always been open.”
Taylor Doolittle, a co-team realtor for Remax Results on Team Steady in St. Paul, says he uses his gift of selling homes to help shed a piece of the Gospel everywhere he goes.
But Doolittle didn’t always picture himself in the real estate industry. In fact, he never did.
“I have a rough draft for my life, but that doesn’t mean it’s what God has for me,” Doolittle said.
After marrying his college sweetheart, the two moved to Australia in 2015, where Doolittle worked with Apple to oversee educating, training and hiring. Two years later, the two returned home to Minnesota in search of a new job, where his brother-in-law continued to reach out and persuade him to join his team with Remax.
“Lord, you’re opening doors. Please tell me if I should do this,” Doolittle reflected.
Shortly after, Doolittle was a part of the team with four other men.
With the constant fluctuation in the housing market, Doolittle stresses the importance of knowing what his values are rooted in.
“It can easily turn into a ‘me’ show,” Doolittle said. “But value is found in my faith and my relationship with Jesus.”
While showing homes to Doolittle’s clients, a simple conversation can easily turn into a meaningful talk about Christ and churches in neighborhoods where he shows homes.
For Doolittle, there are more opportunities to integrate faith into work. Since he is his own boss, it can be easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of work and push his faith aside.
“Faith isn’t just a Sunday thing, it should change the way an individual lives their life, including life at work.”
“It’s never been about what we do”
Jeff Anderson turns right onto County Road F. The sun is starting to rise in Roseville, the orange rays spreading across the sky. Another day of work.
The familiar landmarks pass by as Anderson approaches his workplace. The landmarks spur a memory inside him, and he starts to pray.
As a routine, every time he drives on County Road F towards the Hill-Rom building and passes by familiar landmarks, he prays for his wife and son.
As a senior clinical education specialist at Hill-Rom, Jeff Anderson works with medical equipment. However, Anderson had a lot to take into consideration for taking on the position. The job includes a lot of travel, and he didn’t want it to get in the way of his marriage and faith. He was told he would have to travel every week except Christmas.
When he talked to his wife about accepting the position, she helped him to recognize his values.
“How are you going to keep our marriage strong?” his wife asked. “How are you going to keep your faith strong?”
In his interviews, he told the recruiters his faith is the most important thing and it is something he will always follow.
“They still hired me,” Anderson said with a chuckle.
Anderson grew up in a Catholic family. After his parents separated, his father remarried a Christian who made him go to church every Sunday. His stepmother has been the biggest influencer of his faith.
“I actually heard about having a relationship with God that wasn’t me being put underneath a thumb,” Anderson said. “Instead I heard about a God who loved us and why he loved us.”
In November of 1984, after Indira Gandhi was assassinated, Anderson did missionary work and traveled by himself to India to meet up with a friend and some siblings of his siblings. He was traveling there to do evangelism, but after an interaction with a gentleman on the airplane, he realized he did not even know what the Quran was.
When Anderson found out he lost his luggage, he remembered his conversation with the gentleman on the plane. “If you have any problems, contact me,” the gentleman had said.
“I just had to stop and focus on who am I, and whose am I.” — Jeff Anderson
When he stepped into the airport of Mumbai, there was a planned fire in the terminal.
“A guru and his devotees were having a meeting,” Anderson said. “I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t speak the language, and I didn’t have a way to get a hold of my brother.”
Anderson released it to God, and remembered why he was there in the first place.
“I just had to stop and focus on who am I, and whose am I,” Anderson said.
But Anderson’s faith is not without its crossroads. Being a part of a large company requires making ethical decisions regarding credibility and disregarding product and profit.
“Ultimately if you present what is truth, even if you don’t win for that specific case, I know that I have credibility,” Anderson said. “I have to be true to what I know God would want us to do.”
“It’s never been about what we do.” — Jeff Anderson
While traveling, Anderson interacts with a lot of people around the country, which he sees as an opportunity to be an influencer. One encounter included a coworker in Texas of a different faith who was growing frustrated with being able to start a family.
“We are lights,” Anderson said. “I haven’t gone out and hit people between the eyes with Christianity and my faith, but I’ve rather chosen to live my faith as I go.”
Anderson reassured his coworker, sharing his story about the adoption of his own child.
“It’s never been about what we do,” Anderson said.
Tucker Anderson, Discipleship Pastor at Calvary Church in Roseville and White Bear Lake, works with the pastoral team who initiated a series this year called “This Time Tomorrow.”
Once a month, a church member has explained how they integrate faith into everyday work while interviewed on stage at Sunday service.
A businessman, an emergency room nurse and a television news producer are among the people highlighted so far in “This Time Tomorrow.” Anderson says plenty more Calvary members signed up to share in the coming months.
“When someone sees another person like them up front, maybe it’ll spark an interest in looking at work as contribution instead of compensation,” Anderson explained. “We want to help reframe that in people’s minds.”
The goal of opening conversation about faith in the workplace is a foundation the Calvary staff is passionate about and hopes can reach a lot of people.
“We thought this would be a great way of training the congregation to think beyond just Sunday,” Anderson said. “We want to help eliminate the sacred-secular divide and connect Sunday faith with Monday calling.”