- What do you do? (where do you work, how big is your team, do you manage people?)
- What does it look like for you to be a Christian in your workplace?
- What are some challenges that you face when trying to live like a Christian in the workplace?
- Do you have any tips for someone in a similar industry or workplace as you for how to live like a Christian?
- How can one discuss their faith in the workplace?
2. What does it look like for you to be a Christian in your workplace?
Being in an executive role, I am in the fortunate position of setting the culture and tempo of my 'Branch' (as my workplace calls large units). My first objective is that it is a happy workplace that people like to come to and feel secure and effective in. I structure all my interactions, and encourage my direct reports to adopt the same principles as we read in Paul's letters: care for others as people is essential, respect, politeness and humility are expressions of this. If someone is not performing, my first step is to see where I can help, not to accuse or criticise.
Also my underpinning view is that I've turned up to work on an agreement to do things: I have to achieve the firm's objectives, I have to contribute to these and I have to develop my team. I expect all my team to perform and to deal with lapses that I draw to their attention in a mature and positive way; because that's how I communicate any counselling I need to do.
3. What are some challenges that you face when trying to live like a Christian in the workplace?
With very high standards of honesty and duty, I seek to work in such terms, and I expect similarly of my staff. I object to creating 'special' groups that attract undue attention to themselves: I want to treat all people equally and not push people into social categories.
I have seen conduct by senior executives that I think is corrupt, but not actually, by the letter of the law, corrupt. I find that very difficult and have worked to get the right outcome despite this. I have also had to face criticism for doing the right thing by my team. Those can be tough experiences. But I've handled them with logical reasoning and politely.
4. Do you have any tips for someone in a similar industry or workplace as you for how to live like a Christian?
Tips are above! And: be guided by your own princples and standards which come from the scriptures, and stand for them. Think through situations where you might feel pressure to conform to something you don't want to do and work out what you might say; talk to your Christian friends about it.
To recap: you must be committed to your job and your employer. You've agreed to take their money to do valuable work in return. Don't slack off, or shirk work, and on the other hand don't think that you can't stand your ground when you need to, and always politely and in a reasoned way.
5. How can one discuss their faith in the workplace?
The first step is listen to what people are saying and respond to 'where they are'. So I suggest don't 'over evangelise', and make sure you are having a conversation, not preaching or dictating. Telling your own story is a good start if that's where the conversation goes. Never put down another person's beliefs, and never patronise them.
I suggest that you don't 'wave a flag' about going to church or study groups; be subtle, otherwise it can sound like 'grandstanding' or showing off.
A casual conversation might go like this:
You are asked about your weekend. You might think, great, I'll say I went to church. I'd rethink that. If it is a casual remark, I'd say the ordinary things I did: some gardening, reff'd a soccer game, had coffee with friends (ie after church). You might be asked where you had coffee. Then you might say, that 'after church we always have a coffee, sometimes in a coffee shop in Gordon, or at church we have free coffee and snacks in the foyer'. This might enlarge, or it might not.
This is about matching the emotional/social 'level' of the question. If you know the person well, and have mentioned your faith, sure mention that you went out/to a seminar/christian group with some friends, which you love doing...using language that is 'common' rather than exclusive.
If the person want a heart to heart, though, and your careful listening tells you that they want to go deeper, introduce them to more personal aspects of your faith.