John King, Chaplin at Weldaloy
One of the more unique and rare features of Weldaloy Specialty Forgings is that the company employs a full-time Chaplin, John King.
King has been Chaplain for Weldaloy since 2010, where he wears many hats. He facilitates an on-site Bible study and several prayer sessions each week. He also serves as a mentor, friend, and encourager to all employees on their journey to find, develop, or strengthen their personal faith.
Some may wonder if faith has a place in the workplace. For many companies, it has become an unwritten rule not to discuss religion in the workplace. Many business executives are hesitant even to mention religion in the workplace for fear of upsetting people of other faiths.
The challenge for business leaders is to create an environment in which workers’ faith, or lack thereof, is embraced and supported. A good leader, like any other, sets the tone. King does this with much grace, finesse, humor and humility.
Hired by Weldaloy CEO, Rick Warren, a born-again Christian, King’s charge was to help implement the company’s vision statement: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To demonstrate the love of Christ Jesus to everyone we encounter,” which is prominently displayed in the office’s main entry area.
Obviously, this is not a typical corporate vision statement. King has been an integral part of facilitating this vision, helping people understand the core values of the company – honesty, respect and reliability – and the teachings of a loving and forgiving God.
Participation in the Bible studies and prayers is completely optional and voluntary. King coordinates a catered lunch on the Bible study days; employees are welcomed to partake of a free meal whether or not they attend the study sessions.
“The encouraging thing for me is that through the Bible studies, people spend time reading the Bible and really try understand what it says,” says King. “It really and truly challenges them about questions regarding their life. I see my goal as leading people one step closer in their relationship with God, no matter where they are on that scale. But my goal is to keep encouraging to move forward, to become a better human being.”
Three mornings a week, there are short Bible readings and prayers for the company, and people in the company. Over the last eleven years, John has witnessed how God has moved into other people’s lives and how God has a hand in solving issues with the company.
Having an in-house chaplain “Affords people the opportunity to learn about Jesus in an environment they wouldn’t expect to find Jesus. But they’re not necessarily looking for Jesus outside of the company either,” says King.
While the company is very upfront about its beliefs and vision, King stresses that there is absolutely no pressure for employees to attend the Bible studies and respects that not everyone is interested in learning about Christ.
“We make sure no one feels uncomfortable with ‘Jesus talk’ at work. It would create tension if pressured. We work diligently to make something available, and communicated as being important, without being mandatory,” King says.
There is no discrimination, alienation or condemnation of employees who don’t participate or don’t believe. The company has a strict policy of respecting everyone. All employees, vendors, clients are treated with respect, which makes a palpable difference in the company. No one is ‘cancelled’ for not believing.
As Chaplain, King is also a member of the Heart of Weldaloy Board of Directors, a philanthropic organization that assists people who are going through financial difficulties. Heart of Weldaloy is funded by generous donations of Weldaloy employees.
“The Fund provides a tangible way the company can live out our vision statement and demonstrate the love of Christ to others,” says King. “One of my favorite requests to date was donating part of the money a boy needed to receive a trained seizure dog that will alert his parents when the young man is having a life threatening seizure. What a privilege it is to help a family in their time of need. How much more can you show Christ’s love than to potentially help save a life? “
A tall, gregarious man, King has a remarkable sense of humor. He jokes, “I’m not paid on commission for every new Christian. I’d be baptizing people in the toilet if that were true.”