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In Georgia, this workday lunch break connects others to Jesus

Sure Connexions attendees gather for lunch on Oct. 18. Photo from Sure Connexions

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP) – A step away from the daily work routine can make all the difference in the world.

Wayne Odom was working for a large Atlanta-based company in 1997 when the CEO made an appearance to employees. That wasn’t unusual. But what he said sparked an idea in Odom to build up Christians in secular workspaces, helping them not only grow to be better employees but share and live out their faith.

“He simply told how the company started,” Odom said. It was a testimony of how God had factored in the company’s launch, if not necessarily one about salvation.

Wayne Odom, left, introduces guest speaker Miguel Berrios, an entrepreneur and electrical engineer, at the Oct. 18 gathering for Sure Connexions. Photo from Sure Connexions

A few years later as a deacon at First Baptist Woodstock, Odom invited several co-workers to an event the church hosted that included a steak dinner and testimony. It went over well.

“I found out it wasn’t necessarily comfortable to have a conversation with someone about their faith in the office,” he said. “But if you can be together outside the office, say at lunch, a conversation can start, and you can connect with their heart.”

Founded in 2007, Sure Connexions works “to encourage, inspire and empower everyday people by connecting them to the Truth, the Life and the Way during the workweek,” according to the tagline on its website.

Odom has experience in launching a business as well as working with major companies internationally, including assisting Home Depot’s expansion into Canada. He has also built a contact list in ministry, such as through the nine-and-a-half years spent as executive ambassador for Charles Stanley’s In Touch Foundation with In Touch Ministries.

Those experiences and connections are central to Sure Connexions’ gatherings every first and third Wednesday of the month, beginning at noon, Eastern. They take place at The Innovation Spot, a meeting conference and office space in in Woodstock. Meetings are also broadcast over Zoom.

Guest speakers from the business world share their testimonies. Attendees may introduce themselves and share as well if they wish. The most recent meeting, held Oct. 18, is available for viewing.

The Nov. 1 gathering will feature former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran who, through Alliance Defending Freedom, negotiated a $1.2 million settlement in 2018 with the Atlanta city council over Cochran’s termination.

Other events in different locations have included testimonies from those more well-known, if not specific to the business community like former professional wrestler Lex Lugar. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who also served as secretary of agriculture in the Trump administration, and his wife, Mary, have committed to speak at Sure Connexions’ marriage conference in February.

Neal Hughes attended several meetings in the early 2010s when they were held at a Golden Corral. Hughes, director of missions for the Montgomery Baptist Association, was a regional mobilizer for the North American Mission Board at the time and attended in support of the ministry.

“Wayne has a connection with the business community that is quite an inspiration,” Hughes said. “I remember some attendees were tied to the local church, but some weren’t. The Gospel in the workplace is such a biblical tool, and Wayne has a heart for those in the business world.”

Connections and networking are vital in the workplace and business community and yes, networking is also a big part of the meetings.

“We’ll say that maybe you came here because you need a job and that connection,” said Odom, who moved his membership to First Atlanta while with In Touch and is now a member at First Woodstock. “We hope you meet somebody who can help in that journey. Maybe you came here because you just launched your own business and you need someone who could print business cards for you, or you need someone to help with public relations or to build up your website.

“Ultimately, we want to make sure you know where you’re going to spend eternity. That’s the ultimate connection.”