Can we integrate our faith in the workplace and not run the risk of offending someone? At Crown, we talk a lot about integrating faith in all of our educational endeavors, but how do we take this concept to everyday living? The good news is this idea of faith at work is not only possible but necessary as we grow in our walk with the Lord.
Unfortunately, too often we think of exercising one’s faith as inappropriate for the workplace, but that is changing. Business owners, managers and employees are learning how to integrate biblical teachings and business activities through conferences, participation in small group studies as well as through a myriad of books, magazines and other self-help tools. The Wall Street Journal dove into the subject in their 2006 article, “Managing by the Good Book.” They found an increasing trend among business executives relying on God’s word to guide their decision-making in the secular workplace. Some businesses today are even bringing on workplace chaplains to help employees process through difficult times in their work and personal lives.
Practically engaging in faith in the workplace does not have to be offensive or uncomfortable. First, we need to be intentional and recognize that Jesus desires that we bring Him to work with us; to make Him a priority at work as well as at home and church. A tendency for many people is to leave faith at the front door as they head off for work on Monday, re-engaging that faith just in time for services on Sunday. But Jesus was very clear that our work is not to be separate from our faith- that, in fact, we are to seek after Him and as we do, all other needs will be taken care of (Matt 6:33). To me, the idea of seeking after Him means throughout the day, which of course, means at work.
Second, we should incorporate disciplines into our lives that will engage faith regularly. Jesus tells us to be a light to those around us…“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16). So how does that happen? In my doctoral research, I interviewed quite a number of business professionals to see how they engaged their faith in the key decisions they made in their businesses. Those people who saw faith as being highly important to their lives and integral to their businesses engaged in four clearly defined practices—praying over decisions, seeking insight from God’s word, seeking advice from other Christians in business and finally, but not as often, fasting. Quite often, these disciplines led to decisions, the results of which were not always the most financially rewarding but always glorified God.
As we intentionally seek after Jesus, we can’t help but engage in faith at work. Honesty and integrity in our decision making, the way we treat fellow employees, opportunities that come our way to pray for those who are hurt and need the Lord’s touch are just a few of the outcomes that glorify God as we engage our faith in the workplace.
As I mentioned, there are quite a few additional resources available on this topic. Below are just a few you might find of interest:
- Julian, L. S. (2001) God is My CEO. Avon, MA: Adams Media
- Miller, D. (2007). God at Work. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Nash, L., & McLennan, S. (2001). Church on Sunday, Work on Monday. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
- Stevens, R. P. (2000). The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.