Principles for reaching colleagues in the workplace

It is likely that the workplace is the place where many Christians will spend the most amount of time with non-Christians. This article considers how church leaders can help support their members to reach non-Christian colleagues in their evangelism and then suggests practical ways in which Christian workers can present the gospel at the workplace.

The Opportunity

The workplace represents one of the greatest opportunities for evangelism today. Why? Statistics show 50% of the population are at work and on average they’ll spend 70% of their time there each week from the ages of 16–64. This means it’s likely that for a large proportion of congregations the workplace is the place where they will spend the most amount of time with non-Christians.

The Challenge

In 2014 a survey undertaken by the organisation Talking Jesus asked non-Christians about their relationship with Christians. One of the questions they asked was in what context non-Christians knew Christian friends. Only 7% answered that they knew them from the workplace. The survey then asked if their Christian friend talked about Jesus with them. The answer dropped to 4%.

This means the workplace, where many Christians spend the most amount of time with non-Christians, is one of the places where Christians are least likely to be public about their faith or further still to talk about Jesus.

So what can we do to help? Whilst I know I don’t have anywhere near all the answers, I would love to share some of what I have found helpful as I have looked to share Jesus and equip others to share Jesus in the workplace.

Principles for Church Ministers

  1. Support Christians where they are and ensure they know you see their mission field and you value it

Personally I’ve found it so helpful when my own minister has supported my ministry in my workplace. But I know it doesn’t always come naturally for ministers to do that, particularly as church members often work outside of their ‘parish’ or church community. A selfless kingdom mindset is therefore required to travel to visit church members and support them where they are, to understand more of their circumstances during the week and help them to see that their mission field matters to Jesus, even though it’s not where the church is geographically.

…I’ve found it so helpful when my own minister has supported my ministry in my workplace.

I used to live in Essex and commute into the centre of London. From time to time my minister would follow me in on the commute and arrange a day of meetings with church members who also worked in the city. This was a selfless thing to do on his behalf but it was so valuable because it supported me in my ministry to my colleagues. It also helped my minister better understand the types of situations and environments I faced on a daily basis.

  1. Support Christians actively with outreach to their colleagues

Another way to encourage Christians at work is to encourage them to put on small outreach events in their office and to train them to speak at these events or come yourself and give a short talk and take questions. I have had the joy of experiencing a few of these events and it’s great to have the gospel shared openly and then to be able to pray and work on follow-up together with my minister.

  1. Create a space for interviews and practical discussions to take place

I have also found it really helpful when there is time in a service or prayer meeting given over to interview other church members and for them to talk about their own ministry in their workplaces. This sets up opportunities for church members to talk and pray for one another and share different ideas as to how they are approaching their own mission field at work.

Principles for Christians

  1. What are the big Bible truths personal to you that will get you going and keep you going

In my personal witness at work the foundation has been to write down and keep coming back to a number of big Bible truths that encourage me and help me to keep going with sharing Jesus. I particularly find Matthew 22:37–39 useful. I have written these verses down and whenever I find I’m in a period where my witness has waned, where my courage has dropped, where my priorities have changed, I come back to these verses and remind myself of who God is and what’s important to Him.

I’ve found the more I’m in love with God, the more I love what God loves

I’ve found the more I’m in love with God, the more I love what God loves; the very people I work with – he sent His son to die for them. Allowing these truths to permeate my heart, and, in turn, asking God to help me to grow in love for Him and others always encourages me to have the right mindset with my witness at work.

  1. Be on the front foot

I have found this to be an important principle. I need to work hard at being on the front foot otherwise during the week evangelism and sharing Jesus with others tends to slip off my radar. I therefore like to do what I call my Sunday night admin in evangelism. Sounds boring, I know! To do this I have put together a list of all the people I work with and added columns per the table below:

NameDo they know I’m a Christian?Have I shared the gospel with them?Have I offered to read the Bible?What are we reading?Next steps?

I then look at my diary for the week to understand who I am meeting and look at my list and work out what the next step is for that person. It might be letting them know I’m a Christian, it might be sharing the gospel with them, it might be arranging our next time to read the Bible together. I then go into work with a gospel purpose. The table also gives me focus and something to pray for.

3. Be unashamed of your Christian Faith

Someone once told me: Talk about spiritual things naturally and natural things spiritually. I have found this such helpful advice. It made things so simple to me. It helped me see I can talk about my church life and what I’m learning in the Bible with others around me unashamedly. On the flip side, I can listen to the natural things people are talking about and bring a Bible truth to that conversation.

Talk about spiritual things naturally and natural things spiritually.

To help with this, on my Sunday evenings I think about what’s going on in the news that everyone will be talking about tomorrow, and try to think through what Bible truth I can bring to it. Or I think about what I learnt in church that day from the sermon. If someone asks how my weekend was I can say, “It was great. I learned this…” I can then pass on the main point of the sermon to those around me.

I love this concept as it means I can keep dripping Bible truth into people over a long period of time as I work with them.

 4. Selfless Service

Jesus said, ‘the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many’ (Matthew 20:28). Our job as Christians at work is to give our lives for our colleagues. Again, this is so important. What does it look like? Being kind, generous, finding out what keeps people up at night and helping them with it where you are able. Making time for our colleagues so they know that you care about them and are genuinely interested in them. This combination of love and kindness will give a much more authentic platform for the gospel as you share it.

My encouragement to you as I finish this article is to highlight the two big things I’ve seen in my own personal walk with the Lord and in others when Christians are supported and thrust out to share the gospel at work.

Firstly, the Christian will grow in their confidence, appreciation, love and understanding of the power of Jesus and His word. Secondly, it will benefit kingdom growth not just within your own church but in other churches around your area which is a truly selfless and wonderful thing.

Carl Porter

Carl Porter is married to Sarah and has two daughters, Lyra and Sophie. Carl became a Christian in 2014, lives in Wiltshire and works in the City of London in Insurance. In his spare time Carl loves to travel to different churches to train Christians in evangelism.