What Not to Do
If you really want to be clear that you are a Christian in your workplace, here are a few ways to ensure that EVERYONE knows what you believe.
- Change your Zoom background to a picture of Jesus on the cross.
- Offer to baptize people at the sink in the break room.
- Ask if you can close team meetings with prayer.
- Put sticky notes with John 3:16 printed on them on everyone’s computer monitor, but don’t let them know who put them there.
- When offering your opinion on something begin every sentence with “as a Christian…” (Make sure to use an especially condescending tone.)
- Send emails to all staff members about controversial theological topics. In the subject line write: “Jesus told me to send this!”
- For the office potluck, sign up for a dish to pass and bring bread and grape juice to share with others, explaining that “this is how Jesus said to remember him and I just want us to do that here.”
- If someone shares something vulnerable with you that they’re struggling with, quote Bible verses to them but don’t share anything else.
- Tell people they’re sinners if they curse or mention any questionable weekend behavior.
- Blast Christian music in your cubicle hoping that someone will ask you about the righteous lyrics when they walk by.
Clearly, this is a list of what NOT to do when going about sharing your faith. And hopefully, you realize that any of these things would be incredibly inappropriate in a work context. (If not, you may need to send out an apology to your team for the eschatological imagery you shared from the book of Revelation.)If you get a churning feeling in your stomach, feel uncomfortable, or go out of your way to avoid faith conversations at work, it’s worth it to ask yourself why. Click To Tweet
Discomfort Is Real, but It Is Also Okay
If you get a churning feeling in your stomach, feel uncomfortable, or go out of your way to avoid faith conversations at work, it’s worth it to ask yourself why. Our past experiences shape our future behavior, in ways we often don’t realize. Ask yourself:
- Have you had negative experiences in the past sharing your faith?
- Is there a person in your workplace who is outspoken about Jesus, but in an unhelpful way that offends people?
- Do you have teammates or colleagues who have been outspoken against and disparaging towards Christians & you don’t want to out yourself as one?
- Are you afraid that you’ll be seen as less intelligent or competent if you talk about following Jesus?
Some of these issues are real and some are perceived. If you’ve been burned in the past by talking about your faith or disparaged for being a Christian it’s understandable you would feel nervous about being open. More often than needing to overcome past pain, we falsely believe that we will be seen as a condescending Bible-quoting break-room baptizer if we mention we go to church. When our fears are unfounded they can become inflated in our minds and prevent us from being open about following Jesus.If you’ve been burned in the past by talking about your faith or disparaged for being a Christian it’s understandable you would feel nervous about being open. Click To Tweet
No one likes to feel shut down in a conversation. No one likes to feel that if they choose to open up about their life they will be judged. We don’t like feeling that way as Christians and neither do people from other faith backgrounds! From these two simple conversational principles we can shape a perspective on how to talk openly about what we believe to normalize talking about faith and significant things in the workplace.
A simple way to talk about your faith at work without being offensive is to start small. When asked about your weekend, you could mention that you enjoyed your church’s livestream service and could get used to church on the couch in your jammies. Not a huge risk, just something small to let people know that church is part of your life. Based on the person’s response, you’ll know whether they’re open or not to further conversations about spiritual things. You might find out they’ve been looking for a church but haven’t known where to start!If we assume that people don’t want to talk about spiritual things or will be offended by talking about faith we end the conversation before it even begins. Click To Tweet
If we assume that people don’t want to talk about spiritual things or will be offended by talking about faith we end the conversation before it even begins. What if we started from assuming a neutral or positive place regarding sharing our faith? How would things change if we began to pray for eyes to see the ways God was moving in our workplaces? What if we began to believe that people wanted to talk about spiritual things but just didn’t know how to bring them up?How would things change if we began to pray for eyes to see the ways God was moving in our workplaces? What if we began to believe that people wanted to talk about spiritual things but just didn’t know how to bring them up? Click To Tweet
My friend Jason kept a daily Bible verse calendar on his desk. Sometimes, if he was particularly inspired, he’d tack up the verse in his cubicle. One day, Terry, a woman in his office, noticed the verse and commented that it was a really nice sentiment. Jason explained that it was from the Bible and he found it encouraging as well. The next day Terry came back and asked what the “quote of the day” was. Jason wasn’t even trying to share his faith, but by putting something in his cubicle that was an encouragement to his own faith, it created an opportunity to talk with someone about scripture. Over the next few months Terry began to open up about the struggles in her life. Jason listened and tried to be empathetic and offered to pray for her. He knew she would likely be open to his offer for prayer because she was curious about his faith. With tears in her eyes, Terry said “Yes! That would mean so much to me if you would pray about this issue. Thank you!”
I don’t recall what resulted in their back and forth conversations about Jason’s Bible calendar other than that by taking a small risk it opened up a conversation with someone who was spiritually interested. Terry didn’t feel judged by Jason so she kept coming back to ask more about scripture. She didn’t feel shut down by him when she opened up about something vulnerable. Jason was open to see who God had placed in his life and was willing to keep taking small steps forward to continue having conversations about faith.What is a small step God is inviting you into regarding sharing your faith at work? Click To Tweet
What’s Your Next Move?
What is a small step God is inviting you into regarding sharing your faith at work? Maybe it’s simply to acknowledge that you feel weird about it and ask God for courage. It could be to stop actively trying to hide what you believe when faith comes up. Being open about Jesus is as much for your spiritual formation and trust in God as it is for others to begin to discover who he is.