vocation

I Failed at Workplace Evangelism. Here Are 4 Things I Would Do Differently.

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By Nathaniel Williams

God himself is a worker, and he created us to work (Genesis 1:27-28). As writers often note here at Intersect, our work is valuable not only as an evangelistic platform; it’s valuable in and of itself. Work is a God-honoring act.

Yet while work is more than an opportunity for evangelism, it is certainly not less. Indeed, Jesus commands us to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18), and he has strategically placed us in our various workplaces. We would be foolish — even disobedient — if we didn’t seize the opportunities God has given us to share the good news with our co-workers.

Sadly, many of us don’t seize those opportunities well. I’m just as guilty as anyone.

After graduating college, I landed a job that intermingled marketing with finance. To this day, I’m still not sure how I got the job; I studied neither marketing nor finance in college. But it was the perfect position for me at the time. I gained valuable skills which aid me to this day, and I’d like to believe that my hard work served the company well.

While I look back at that job with some satisfaction, I also look back with regret. Even though I worked for the glory of God, I missed so many opportunities to be a gospel witness in the workplace.

If I could go back in time, here are some things I’d do differently.

We would be foolish — even disobedient — if we didn’t seize the opportunities God has given us to share the good news with our co-workers.

1. I would go out to lunch more often.

Rarely will someone encourage you to bring your lunch to work less and go out to eat more often. But that’s what I would tell my younger self.

As a recovering penny pincher, I almost always brought a lunch from home, and I routinely turned down offers to go out to lunch with co-workers. I saved money, but I lost opportunities to have gospel conversations over tortilla chips or hamburgers.

2. I would live closer to my workplace.

I lived in one town and worked in another, driving 90 miles each day on my commute. At the time, it didn’t make sense for us to live in the city I worked in. But, if the circumstances were different, it would have been wise to live closer to work.

When you live in the same town you work in, you not only see your co-workers at work; you see them at ball games, restaurants and civic functions. You can have them over for dinner. You can even invite them to your church or small group. Because of my distance from my workplace, I didn’t have these options to develop deeper relationships with my co-workers.

3. I would be more vocal about my faith.

Many of my co-workers were aware of my faith, particularly those with whom I worked the closest. But others weren’t. In fact, when I told many co-workers I’d be leaving the job to attend Southeastern Seminary, the conversational floodgates opened.

One of my editors reclined in his desk chair and told me about his collection of John Calvin commentaries. Another spoke about his church and what it meant to him. In fact, at one of my goodbye lunches, a skeptical colleague and I had a long conversation about the historicity of Christ and the Bible.

When I finally brought up the topic of faith, other people opened up about their belief (or lack thereof). To my shame, these conversations rarely arose beforehand. I wish I had been more vocal about my faith.

4. I would pray for my co-workers more.

My co-workers were of all ages.They came from various parts of the world. The President of the company was relatively well-known in his industry, with a New York Times bestseller to his name. But each of them — like each of us — carried burdens, hurts, wounds and sorrows. Many of them didn’t have the hope of Christ.

I wish I had spent more time praying for them. After all, God is the one who ultimately saves. And I can only hope that despite my failed evangelistic efforts, God used me in some way to point others to the hope of Christ.

What tips would you offer Christians for sharing the gospel in their workplaces? Comment below.

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Nathaniel Williams

Editor and Content Manager for the CFC

Nathaniel Williams (M.Div, Southeastern Seminary) oversees the website, podcast and social media for the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, and he serves as the pastor of Cedar Rock First Baptist Church. His work has appeared at Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Fathom Mag, the ERLC and BRNow.org. He and his family live in rural North Carolina.

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