Dakota – Operations Manager, USA.
"That's why every Monday morning, I tell my guys to take their shoes off so I can wash their feet. Just Kidding,” Dakota says jokingly. No, for Dakota, an Operations Manager at a remodeling company, kingdom impact looks like “serving the team so that they'll serve one another."
This is what excites Dakota most about his job: it’s making a kingdom impact in his community by doing good work and using his God-given wiring to serve his colleagues and clients every day.
Dakota's role requires him to work in all sorts of different fields and capacities, but his main role is ensuring the company implements the corporate vision. For Dakota, he loves when he hears about a customer who had a great experience with his team or when a coworker succeeds on a project. Although Dakota might not be physically washing feet every day, he’s changing the culture around him by reflecting the hope and goodness of Jesus in his everyday moments of life and work.
“Everybody is in a position of coming into work and affecting those that you directly touch," explains Dakota.
You see, Dakota understands that his unique, God-given shape has a kingdom impact in and through his role at work. "The reality may be (that) you only impact ten people's lives, but then think if each of those people are impacting ten other people's lives, then you may have an influence on one hundred people now," Dakota states.
One of the ways he uses his influence is by giving space for his team to share ideas. Dakota hopes that through this encounter he is able to make each team member better by the way he shows excitement for them.
By keeping this kingdom lens, Dakota sees how God is using him – with his unique skills, passions, personality, and experiences – to uniquely influence the lives of the people he works with. And this impact is causing a ripple effect in the lives of others and the surrounding community.
Dakota’s heart is to see those around him feel loved and served. But he didn’t always view his work and workplace this way. It wasn’t until a boss at work stopped long enough to show that he really cared about Dakota as a person – not just an employee – that God began to transform how he viewed his work and the people around him.
Dakota was mourning the loss of a job he loved and feeling restless about the future when his boss noticed a shift. In a season of transition with a lot of unknowns, Dakota appreciated that his boss cared enough about him personally to reach out. Dakota felt as though his boss was really concerned about his life by creating a safe comfortable environment for him to open up.
"He (Dakota’s boss) had created something where I could feel so at ease to the point of tears, and I'll never forget that," Dakota states.
This experience transformed how Dakota views his workplace. Now, he tries to create this “safe place” on his own team by being intentional with the influence he has been given in the company. That's why once a week, Dakota gathers his whole team into one big room, has them sit down, and gives them space to share experiences from the week.
The team is encouraged to share how others have exemplified servanthood, integrity, responsibility, and other company core values. Given this time and space, Dakota’s team has built a vibrant community and created a positive culture.
Dakota is not alone in being able to make a difference in his workplace. In fact, every person is uniquely wired, by God, to go out into the world and represent Him. Everyone has influence over their workplace and can proactively contribute to building a vibrant community wherever they are.
For Dakota, this comes easily because he recognizes the way God has shaped him.
"I really resonate with this reality that we are made by a Creator to create," he explains.
Dakota has learned that God created him to be an image-bearer who goes into the world, reflecting Him, and that God has uniquely equipped him to do so. This is his S.H.A.P.E. (skills, passions, abilities, personality, and experiences). For Dakota, he‘s discovered that God has uniquely shaped him to be patient, a gentle listener, an advice giver, and a teacher – all skills he uses daily in his role as an operations manager.
"I love listening to people's feelings and (the) deeper meanings behind why they are the way that they are," Dakota states.
That’s why, when Dakota sees others struggling, he is quick to jump in to help bring clarity and offer gentle guidance. Dakota’s shape is helping build a vibrant, kingdom community within his workplace.
So, what about us? Can God use anyone for his kingdom?
Yes! God created each of us to image him and his kingdom in the everyday moments of daily life. This includes our work – in whatever field that may be. By using our God-given shape in and through our work, we can take part in pointing people to Jesus and being part of building vibrant communities that experience the abundant life of God’s kingdom today!
"Faith is a big time part of why I do what I do, '' Dakota says simply. So when one coworker reached out about planning a team event, Dakota was quick to support the idea. Seeing God move within his team as he watches his teammates serve and love one another excites Dakota.
So how do we reflect Jesus in our everyday workplace?
Dakota finds that the best conversations start naturally. One story that comes to mind, Dakota shares, started out like any other day. Dakota remembers going with a coworker to a job for a client but left sharing Jesus. While Dakota and a coworker were installing showers into a woman's home, they began to simply talk with her. The conversation eventually led to his coworker being able to share how he encountered Jesus.
"She prayed with us and for us, and we prayed for her and left that day just kind of shocked that we had this experience together," he shares.
Dakota walked away from this experience amazed at what God had done in a simple encounter while installing a shower for a client. Dakota recognized, then and there, the incredible opportunity that he and his team have and the need for God’s kingdom within his community.
Through many experiences of seeing his job as a part of the kingdom flourishing, Dakota has seen the power of using work to transform a community. Dakota has found that work is a big part of the process of becoming more like Jesus.
"The reality (is) that work is hard, and you have to do (it),” he says. “ (But) it changes you. And the way in which you do it can become an experience where you become more like Jesus,"
Dakota recognizes the influence he has in impacting the community as well as how it has transformed his own life. So, what advice would Dakota give to others seeking to obey and follow Jesus? It’s simple: invite Jesus into every area of life.
"Get as close to Jesus as possible. [...] you will NOT find life, in work alone" Dakota states.
Dakota sees firsthand the abundant life found in God’s kingdom and how that has transformed his own life. "If the gospel, the good news, if it's actually transformed your life, then the next thing should be how am I going to help transform the next person's life?" Dakota asks.
Imagine what your community, your workplace, and the world around you would look like if followers of Jesus really started using their God-given abilities for a kingdom impact. The marketplace – and surrounding community – would be transformed. As an image bearer of God, we all can take part in seeing the kingdom flourishing in every industry and every place.
While Dakota may not be physically washing people's feet, he is still having a kingdom impact every day. So can you! How are you using your influence in the workplace? How are you transforming the community around you?
To learn more about how God can use your job to make a kingdom impact in communities around the world, connect with a coach on a ten-minute Discovery Call.
Written by: Elle Soistmann
Scatter Stories is a monthly series spotlighting how God is using everyday people in everyday jobs to reflect His kingdom around the world.