How can you be a good Christian witness at work?
To be fair, it’s not always easy. The stress and struggle of a hard job can bring the worst out of even the godliest Christian. Still, you are called to work heartily for the Lord and to honor him and in everything that you do which, of course, includes your job.
The Lord saved me right around the time I started to work, which was around my early teenage years. Since then, I’ve had various jobs in all kinds of fields and have learned a lot about what it looks like to be a witness at work. Here are a few things to consider:
How to Witness at Work
1. Do competent work
Character is king, but competence is not irrelevant. In fact, it matters a ton. Especially at the workplace. As Tim Keller says, “The very first way to be sure you are serving God in your work is to be competent.”
Evangelism in the workplace is not uninportant, but people around you won’t care what you have to say until they see that you’re worth listening to — which comes from character and competence.
2. Create excellent work
If competence is the ability and skills to perform a task, then excellence is the ability and skills to perform a task well. Don’t worry about being perfect, but strive for excellence. Laziness is dishonoring to God and unhelpful for others. Over time, excellent work will stand out. This, in turn, glorifies God, helps your employer, and serves those around you. Who knows, it may even bring about an evangelistic opportunity.
3. Guard your tongue
One of the fastest ways to ruin your witness at work is by saying something inappropriate or flat-out sinful.
In one sense, you’ll want to avoid certain flawed communication: gossip, complaining, slander, etc. Many people on the job commit these sins regularly. If you don’t, others will notice, even if they don’t tell you. They may ask you why don’t malign others, and that’s when you can “ . . . be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
In another sense, you can be a good witness through proper communication, which usually looks like encouragement, respect, and appropriateness through your words. No one at your job is over encouraged and speaking truth in love over time will make an impact on people. You can be a good witness at work through saying the right things.
4. By bringing foretastes of God’s Kingdom to your workplace
In her excellent book Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, Amy Sherman writes that one of the ways Christians can glorify God in the workplace is not necessarily by “incessantly talking about Jesus,” but by advancing God’s foretastes of the Kingdom.
Think about Kingdom values — things like unity, peace, and justice. You can honor God at work by mirroring and bringing these distinctives to your workplace.
By way of example, think of unity. Let’s say that there’s a complex problem at work and it’s bringing division among your team. If you solve the problem, you resolve the issue and bring unity to your team. Did you ever mention Jesus? No. But did you glorify God? Absolutely. How? By bringing God’s foretastes to your workplace.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Speaking about Jesus at work matters (more on that in a bit), but evangelism is merely one way to glorify God at work, not the only way.
5. By building relationships with those on your team
There are some Christians who faithfully work hard, yet hardly anyone on their team knows them. They never attend after hours events and avoid co-workers on social media at all costs. Of course, you can’t be everyone’s best friends (and you don’t have to add everyone on your team on Facebook). But spend time with your co-workers. Time is a valuable commodity and giving it to others shows love.
It’s hard to imagine that Jesus wouldn’t seek to deeply get to know the people around him at work.
Seek to spend time with your co-workers. Just be yourself. Ask them if they need prayers. Be their friend. Evangelistic opportunities happen most in this area.
6. By doing evangelism
There are usually two perspectives on evangelism at work. Some say that evangelism is most important aspect of Christian witness at work. If this is true, then how can you get any work done if all you’re ever doing is evangelism?
On the other side, however, some say that evangelism doesn’t really matter and that you shouldn’t intrude on people at work — this is disrespectful. Your faith is private and you should just keep it to yourself at work.
If this is true, then how can you make disciples if you never share your faith with others? The only imperative verb in the original language in the Great Commission is “to make disciples” which does not exclude your coworkers.
Again, be sure to create competent and excellent work. But over time, as you spend time with your coworkers, pray and seek evangelistic opportunities. God likes to answer those prayers.
I once had a boss who was really, really lost (that’s putting it mildly). At first, I didn’t really like him and didn’t desire to get to know him. He just annoyed me, for some reason. After a while, I became convicted and convinced that I needed to be his friend and love him. Reluctantly, I did. After spending lots of time with him, to my surprise, I began to like him. I shared my faith with him and invited him to church. And guess what? He actually came.
He came to church and heard the Gospel. I don’t think he became a Christian, but the point is that evangelistic opportunities on the job place can happen. And if you invite your coworkers to church, they just might come.
Finally, don’t forget to read some good books on faith in the workplace. There’s plenty of resources for you. Here are a few of them:
1. Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller
2. Kingdom Calling by Amy Sherman
3. Business for the Glory of God by Wayne Grudem
4. Work Matters by Tom Nelson
I hope that God uses you in the workplace. Your calling is not inferior. And if you create excellent work while loving the people around you, you’ll make a bigger difference than you realize.
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