Ed Stetzer: “Far too many Christians simply don’t know how to be a good gospel witness in the workplace.”
If the average person spends at least eight hours on work, five days per week, this adds up to 2,080 hours a year in the workplace setting and community. Even if the number were half of this, that’s still a lot of time. Much ink has been spent on how Christians can share their faith in the workplace and why or why not those who follow Jesus should even attempt workplace evangelism.
If done properly, there is one foundational reason that all of us should be seeking ways to share our faith wherever God has placed us: we have been called to share our faith by the very God we acknowledge as Lord. I won’t go into all the places in Scripture that call us toward a gospel witness in both word and deed (e.g., Isa. 6:8-9, Acts 22: 14-15; Acts 4:20; Matt. 28:19). What I will say is that evangelism is of utmost importance if we are to see God’s kingdom grow and more people come into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
However, far too many Christians simply don’t know how to be a good gospel witness in the workplace. We either don’t know how to get faith conversations started, or we don’t know how to continue them in an appropriate manner once the door has been cracked open for us.
The key to effective workplace evangelism is, at minimum, fivefold:
1. Work with excellence.In Colossians 3:23, Paul calls us to work hard as unto the Lord. No matter the workplace, we are first and foremost working for an audience of One. And when we work with that perspective, we build a foundational witness to those around us.
2. Have integrity. If the first point holds true, then this second point must, as well. Having integrity means being honest and having strong moral principles and convictions. What people see is what they get. We are salt and light in the workplace, which means we don’t cut corners or do sloppy work. In this way, we model after Jesus, who provided the character model we need to have as we seek effective gospel witness.
3. Seek discernment. The book of Proverbs is a great place to start when we consider the importance of wisdom. We must always first be seeking the voice of God as we navigate faith in the workplace. We must be wise in knowing the how, when, why and who of gospel witness in the marketplace. If we don’t, we not only jeopardize our jobs, but possibly even the effectiveness of our witness.
4. Listen to God’s voice. We must follow God’s promptings and let the Holy Spirit guide us into conversations. Without a foundation of prayer and the spiritual discipline of listening to God and his Word, we are but clanging cymbals or noisy gongs.
5. Get going! Once we sense God calling us into a deeper conversation, we must follow him into those sometimes hard places. We must walk—sometimes run—into relationships with a commitment to be a friend and confidant regardless of the sacrifices we might be called to make.
At the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, one of the ways we are leading the conversation in evangelism is by resourcing Christians in the marketplace to be effective witnesses for Christ. Last September, we partnered with Q Place to launch ReKindle, a YouTube channel focused specifically on equipping and encouraging Christians to share their faith in creative and winsome ways.
One of the playlists on ReKindle is called “Evangelism Leadership in the Workplace.” As you consider what workplace evangelism might look like for you, I encourage you to watch Rich Berg’s video, “Excellence in Work as a Precursor to Gospel Conversations.” Rich is CEO and co-founder of Performance Trust Capital Partners.
I also encourage you to watch Phil Nussbaum’s “7 Practices for More Effective Evangelism.” Phil is chairman of the board for The Performance Trust Companies. And on a more basic level, I invite you to watch Skye Jethani’s “Recapturing a Theology of Vocation.”
Check out the full list of ReKindle videos.
What would it look like if all of us took seriously the Great Commission command even as we live and work in the marketplace? What would our workplaces look like if we implemented the five points above?
Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham distinguished chair of church, mission and evangelism at Wheaton College and the Wheaton Grad School, where he also oversees the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism.