By Jacqueline J. Holness
I love summer. I love hot, sunny weather. And even though we continue to work during the summer months, I love how Americans seem to loosen their collective ties and let the sunlight guide their attitudes.
That’s a good thing because, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest “American Time Use Survey,” employed Americans between ages 25 and 54 spend most of their days working. Since Christians are called to be salt and light, and since most employed people spend such a significant amount of their time at work, our workplaces are prime mission fields.
Evangelism in the Workplace
So how do we go about making disciples at work, especially since our primary purpose at work is to do the job we are being paid to do? The old adage “Actions speak louder than words” is true. What we say doesn’t matter nearly as much. Having worked in a number of different environments, I’ve often been surprised to discover that some of my coworkers were Christians. I’ve worked with Christians who could be mean to customers one minute and discuss the Bible the next. And I’ve worked with people who claim to be atheists and agnostics who were generally very kind to their customers. In fact, it seemed better to me that some people who claim Christ not bring up their faith at work, because of their poor witness. I have to watch my own demeanor at work as well. Although I have to be aggressive as a reporter, I try not to be rude.
In “10 Non-Obnoxious Ways to Share Your Faith at Work,” written for Today’s Christian Woman, Kelli B. Trujillo cautioned Christians not to be like her obnoxious acquaintance. “Alice” claims she was fired from two jobs for witnessing at work. In reality, she was fired because of her actions and attitudes. Kelli suggests non-obnoxious ways to share your faith in your place of employment. “When it naturally fits a conversation, freely talk about the role your church, prayer, Scripture, and Christian community have in your life. Let others see the joy and purpose you find in your faith.” When I was working on my book, I was hesitant to talk to my coworkers about it on company time. However, I felt free to speak to those who asked about it.
Prayer and Sensitivity
In a “D-Girl’s Witnessing Stories” blog post, a hairstylist describes how she witnesses as she does clients’ hair. “When any client is in my chair, I try to make it a point to pray for her, and ask the Lord for wisdom [to know what to say] during our time together.” As any woman knows, going to the hairstylist can be a spiritual experience!
While no one wishes for a crisis, a crisis often makes people realize their need for God. In an article titled “Witnessing in the Workplace” on the website ChurchLeaders.com, Mike Streeter described how he offered to pray for a coworker’s mother who had been hospitalized, and what happened as a result. “We now have a special friendship that exists within the workplace, and I have the opportunity to share Christ with her.”
Some months ago, I noticed that a usually outgoing coworker seemed quiet. She revealed that a friend was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness and she didn’t know what to say to her friend. I didn’t know what to say either, but I mentioned that I often pray about situations I don’t understand.
In addition to praying for my coworkers, I also pray for the salvation of my employers. I have discovered that I am better able to get along with a boss if I’m praying for her. Some years ago, I worked for a no-nonsense woman who used to be in the military. I prayed for her a lot, primarily and selfishly because she was always finding fault with my work! I was elated years later when I discovered she had given her life to Christ not long before her death.
We all need to be reminded of what we are commissioned to do as Christians. Most of us are not called to full-time ministry, but that doesn’t mean we can’t minister to those around us, particularly at work.
Jacqueline J. Holness, a member of Central Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, is a correspondent for Courthouse News Service,
an online, national news service for attorneys. Contact Jacqueline at afterthealtarcall.com.