How to minister to work colleagues without ending up in hot water

We’ve all heard stories about people who shared their faith in the workplace and ended up getting into trouble, with some even losing their jobs and businesses as a result. However, there are ways to live out the gospel at work without negative consequences.

Here are a few tips to help you speak about your beliefs in the workplace:

  • Cover yourself and your workplace in prayer. If possible, devote a specific time to pray for your colleagues each day. This could be during your morning quiet time, on your commute to the office or before you go to bed. Ask God for opportunities to speak to your workmates and for their hearts to be open to receive your words, as well as for specific issues they are dealing with.
  • Build genuine relationships with your colleagues. If you go in all guns blazing with the gospel without getting to know those you work alongside you’re likely to keep hitting brick walls. People are much more likely to be receptive if you have a genuine rapport with them, based on an authentic interest in and concern for them. There may come a time when they ask you to pray for them during difficult times. If so, do so faithfully and check in with them regularly to show that you really care.
  • Be honest and open. The best way to share faith at work is to allow your colleagues to drive the conversation. If they ask questions they are inviting you to talk about your beliefs rather than you having to force anything. Simple questions like “What did you do at the weekend?” or “How did you choose your son’s name?” can open the door to a conversation about God, but always remember to be gentle and natural in your responses. Often we just need to plant seeds that we can come back and water another time.
  • Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. You might want to prepare answers to some of the most common questions that come up, but keep listening out for that still, small voice. That way the conversation might end up taking a completely unexpected turn and really hitting home in a way that your prepared answers may not.
  • Stick to the rules. It might be that your company policy has specific rules in relation to wearing religious symbols at work or proselytising. Familiarise yourself with these and make sure you observe them. If anything is unclear or feels discriminatory, talk to your line manager or HR representative.
  • Conduct yourself well. Nobody is going to respect your beliefs if you spend all your time at work gossiping, complaining, slacking off or passing the buck. So turn up on time, do your hours, work hard, cooperate with others and maintain a positive attitude. If your faith isn’t reflected in your character it will have a limited impact on those around you.
  • Link with other Christians. Try to find out if there are any other Christians in your company. If so, perhaps they would be willing to start a lunchtime prayer meeting or event that could bring you together and open up conversations with other members of staff. It’s important that you check with management before you set anything up, particularly if you are meeting on site. If you’re feeling super brave, you could invite your non-Christian colleagues along or ask if you can publicise it on a noticeboard or via email. If you don’t get the go-ahead from management there is nothing to stop you inviting people to external community or church events. Just make sure you do so in a gentle, non-threatening way.

Remember that it’s not your job to convert your colleagues, but it’s always good to be transparent about your beliefs, and the way you conduct yourself at work should always reflect your faith. Keep praying and trusting God for those you work alongside, and take the opportunities to share when they come along.