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There is an article on environmental issues that I have recently read caused me to consider comparisons with Christians in the church. The article suggested that the environmental movement was considered a niche area, a subject not accessible to ordinary citizens because of the way those in the lobby act and promote their views. And in a sense the same criticisms can be levelled at the church.
While the church is still able to promote its viewpoint and quite capable of pointing out the problems with others, it finds it much harder to engage people directly on matters of concern to them. Christians get pigeon-holed, when it wants to be seen as meeting people and challenging people where they are in the way Christ did.
Perhaps that is why some object to marketing/promotion used in a Christian context, because it rarely feels like engagement?
Witnessing at work is a challenge for all Christians and Andrew in the comments to my last post was very honest when he mentioned about his time in a secular workplace, and the challenges of sharing his faith.
And Caryn Rivadeneira, on the ‘Gifted For Leadership’ blog, talks of her experiences and regrets of not sharing her faith at her first workplace and of being a closet Christian. She writes:
… never once during my first job out of college did I share the Gospel with any of the people I worked with. […] [They] knew I graduated from a Christian college, went to church, and believed in God, in several years of working together that was all they knew about faith in my life. At the time, my focus was so much on learning the ins and outs of magazine publishing […] that I failed to see the people around me as lost souls in need of a Saviour.
Christians working in secular jobs (most Christians I would imagine) can often find it difficult to talk about Christianity and their faith directly with their colleagues. This can be for many reasons, including the need to get on and do some work! This led me to wonder how specifically Christians witness at work, and whether witnessing with behaviour has any effect.
I wonder about this because of a sermon given at our church recently made me think that maybe things had changed since the pastor’s generation. For myself, not being part of the office lottery syndicate and not swearing identifies me as different more than perhaps they would have in previous generations.
I wonder if anyone else has had an experience like this, where people have asked about your behaviour and you were surprised? Of course, not gambling is just good common sense, and not definitively Christian, so people would still need to talk to me to find out why I didn’t gamble.
Update: There is a follow-up post to this called ‘witnessing at work‘.