As a Christian, do you find it difficult to share your faith in your secular job?
God calls us to be in the world but not of the world. Evangelism can take on all different shapes and sizes, but most people will respond to it when it’s delivered in a hand shake, a smile, or a genuinely positive remark that makes them know that you care.
There are a lot of challenges out there for Christians working in the secular marketplace. Part of the message that I’m trying to share around job search and following your call is to also be aware of career management. There are plenty of ways that you can hold to your Christian faith and principles in the marketplace and distinguish yourself without out openly preaching the gospel to customers, co-workers, and supervisors.
How do you carry yourself? What I mean is, how to others perceive you? Are you known as a person of integrity, who follows up, does what he says, and portrays an honest image of genuine concern for those you work with and for? That’s certainly worth promoting and working into your brand?
Do your customers and co-workers trust you? Trust plays a huge role into the picture here. Building trust and working honestly are two of the biggest evangelical tools that you can carry in your brief case.
When I worked in a quasi-government non-profit career center, customers always told me that I was easy to talk to. They felt genuineness in my concern for them. I had to walk a fine line in the kinds of things I said and did, but one thing I always wore was a small gold cross necklace. I never brought up the fact that I was a Christian first, but when others brought it up, I willingly embraced the conversation. It was amazing to see the expression on people’s faces because many customers would say, “I knew you were a Christian, I could just tell. I’m so glad that I can talk to you about that side of me because it’s important.”
The primary point to emphasize was that I rarely if ever brought the topic up first. If anything, I might mention a choir rehearsal, but never emphasized church choir…and there are plenty of community choirs around that people could have associated me with.
Sometimes clients might mention that they were in church or talking to their pastor about something. I would usually see that as a chance for an open door and inquisitively ask, “where do you go to church?” I never volunteered personal information without being asked.
What is important to realize here is that in many ways sharing your faith in the secular marketplace is nothing more than good old fashioned relationship building evangelism. The secular marketplace calls it relationship management and networking. Networking in its purest sense is relationship building; Not to be confused with prospecting.
If you’re prospecting at a networking event, you’re collecting business cards and working the room. If you’re evangelizing or building relationships, you’re making quality contacts with people, asking questions, getting to know them, and looking for ways to follow up with them.
In my last post I talked about stepping out in faith and evaluating the risk in your life as far as being a Christian.
Here are a few suggestions in ways that you can take your faith with you into work:
- Show genuine concern for your clients, customers, and co-workers.
- Always follow up on what you promise people – and do it promptly.
- Never try to sell them something they don’t need. Instead, generously consult and share knowledge.
- If someone shares personal problems with you, ask a question like, “Could I put that on my prayer list and/or share it with my prayer group?”
- If someone is ill or having surgery, tell them that you’ll be praying for their surgery and recovery.
- Wear a small, but classy cross lapel, necklace, or bracelet; nothing flashy.
- Pray that God would open the doors with the individuals He needs you to share a word with.
When you start asking God for ways to be a witness to others in the secular marketplace, He will gladly deliver. As you start trusting those gentle nudges, it will get easier. Don’t beat yourself up if you realize some time later that you “missed” that opportunity by not sharing. Chalk it up to, if you didn’t feel right about saying it, then it wasn’t meant to be said.
The first few times you follow that nudge, God will immediately confirm that it’s exactly what you were supposed to say, even if it didn’t mean or sound like much. Think of sharing your faith in the secular marketplace as medicine. Too little has no effect, too much is an overdose and could have severe repercussions. Remember, even Jesus knocks before entering.
If you’re speaking to someone whose faith status is uncertain and you feel compelled to share, you can always preface it with…” “I know you’re worried about that, but you have to remember that ultimately we’re not the ones in control; God is.” See how God uses that and how the person responds.
In many ways it’s about availing yourself to God and the Holy Spirit’s promptings. In the secular marketplace we may refer to it as “that little voice in the back of my head” or “intuition.” Ask God to help you recognize those opportunities and the faith to embrace those opportunities. As always, He is faithful, His timing is perfect, and He will provide.