135: Putting people first wins souls and increases business productivity with Terry Messinger

Photo courtesy of Michael Tapp.

Terry Messinger has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of SC and a Masters of Christian Ministries from North Greenville University. He serves as the Chief People Officer for Renfrow Brothers Industrial Contractors where he ministers to, mentors, and cares for the employees through Human Resource functions. Terry is also active in his church and has been married to the lovely and gracious Debbie for 37 years.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • [2 min 12 sec] Tell us about you and your family. Married 37 years, two married daughters, two grandsons. Background in plant engineering and project management. Now functions as a corporate chaplain with some human resources duties.
  • [3 min 01 sec] Tell us about your current vocation and how God has led you to this point in your career. Left a job after 18 years to join Renfrow Brothers as a project manager and maintenance manager. At age 52 felt The Lord calling him into ministry. Surrendered in September 2008. Thought at first they’d have to go overseas. Eventually understood they he was supposed to serve where he already was. Got his degree in 3.5 years. Waited on God to show him the next step. About 3.5 years later his current position was created at the company he works for, and it was created just for him to live out his calling. Lesson: We often make mistakes by NOT waiting on The Lord’s timing.
  • [8 min 20 sec] How are you using your career to impact others for Christ? Looks after the needs of the company’s employees. Prays with them. Helps them find the best job for them. Helps them deal with personal matters from a biblical perspective. Visits guys on job sites. Generally encourages the folks. Cross between corporate chaplain and human resources director.
  • [13 min 36 sec] Biggest career challenge: When younger, pushed his staff real hard without consideration of their status as people first, workers second. He did poorly on a review from his staff that threatened his employment as a manager. He turned it around, however, by learning how to treat people respectfully at work without compromising standards of excellence.


  • [22 min 12 sec] What was your biggest career success? He had moved to another plant, and when he took the spot, the attitude survey from the employees was the worst it had ever been in any company the survey company had ever seen. In one year, he improved the morale of the people to the point that the attitude survey was one of the best that the survey company had ever seen. His success boiled down to treating people right – as creations of God.
  • [26 min 44 sec] Time where you were confused about which career path God wanted you to take. He was a little confused about the ministry call (see above) while he was waiting for 3.5 years for God to confirm the form his ministry would take. As for other career positions, he always took the attitude of “bloom where you are planted” until God makes it obvious that you are to move on.
  • [28 min 02 sec] Ever been faced with a challenge to your faith in the workplace? Not really. Lives his life, doesn’t overtly evangelize. People are drawn to him. One time, in one workplace, he did ask his co-workers to stop swearing around him. At first, some laughed at the request, but soon all respected it. He’ll bless the food at lunch with customers, and that will demonstrate Christ to them. No backlashes yet.
  • [33 min 21 sec] #1 personal habit that drives career success. Pays attention to his health. Diet and exercise are important. Can’t work productively if unhealthy.
  • [35 min 03 sec] #1 business habit that drives career success. Lifelong learner. Reads a couple of books per month. Continue to learn and grow. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • [37 min 04 sec] Productivity tool. Different colored index cards to make notes and keep track of them.
  • [39 min 55 sec] #1 book (besides the Bible) that you would recommend. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Lesson: Don’t choose a career for how much money it can make you. Choose a career based on how well it will position you to win souls. Money can be made in any career field.
  • [42 min 28 sec] Advice for high school seniors. Know who you are. Who does God say that you are? Who did God create you to be? Know what your strengths are and play to them. Know what your personality is. Continue to learn.
  • [45 min 05 sec] Best way to connect with you. 864-579-0558 ext 146. terrym@renfrowbros.com.
  • [46 min 01 sec] One last thought: Terry meets with an accountability group each Friday morning. It really helps to have a group who will hold us accountable.

Resources Mentioned:


Killer Resources:

Subscribe to Career Callings Radio!





imgRobbie Romeiser is a commercial real estate broker, real estate instructor, and author of the daily devotional Today’s Quote From God (www.TodaysQuoteFromGod.com). Desiring to help his own children follow God’s calling in their lives, Robbie founded Career Callings (www.CareerCallings.net) to help people find, prepare for, and pursue the work God has called them to do. To have Robbie speak at your church, business, professional association, or civic club, please email Robbie at robbie@careercallings.net.