Creating a Christian work ministry has been a trial in my career. As a recovering engineering, I am risk averse. As the boss, I am averse to lawsuits. As the salesperson, I am afraid of offending customers. As a supervisor, I am fearful of employee discomfort. As a business owner, I am spooked by added costs. However, I understand that we are called to be ambassadors for Christ as though God were making an appeal through us to be reconciled to Him (2 Cor 5:20). Searching for solutions to these risks, I found several.
Let us address the risks head-on. The most common misconception is that we will be sued. However, we may not realize that even the federal government has a policy protecting workers rights to express their faith at work. My layman's take on this policy suggests you have the right to express your faith at work as long as it is nondiscriminatory and programs are voluntary. In addition, the Christian community is replete of legal advice in this area.
Losing sales is another concern. Most workplace ministries express their faith through core values and business practices. All of your customers should see Christian core values and business practices as benefits. These values show your kindness, respect, and commitment to excellence. Great customer service is built from these values.
Your employee’s comfort is another key worry. All workplace ministries are voluntary and provide benefits that are supplemental to traditional benefits packages. Additional benefits may include chaplaincy, small groups, community involvement, and charitable giving. These options provide employees opportunities to belong to groups that care beyond their work function. Case studies show workplace ministries actually increase employee retention and reduce operations costs.
Operational cost savings may afford the implementation of a full service workplace ministry, which generally costs only one percent of gross sales. However, simple programs can be established for free. The best solution is to create a program that fits your budget.
Simple, and free, solutions include prayer groups, Bible studies, and community service. Bible studies are my favorite solution. I do my normal study in the conference room or lunchroom. When others ask what I am doing, I let them know that I am studying my Bible. Then, the Holy Spirit does something fantastic; He delivers more studiers during my normal study time, forming a group. Prayer groups can be started the same way by praying before work, after work, or in the parking lot during a break. This creates a great opportunity to proclaim your faith and gain participation. While these are very practical and cheap, some may want to go the extra mile (Matt 5:41) and provide full service workplace ministries are another solution.
Full-service ministries can be created in your office in only a few months. His Way at Work, a non-profit organization that equips and encourages business leaders to transform their workplace culture with the Light of Christ can help you establish a full-service solution. Their case studies are helpful in navigating the process and increasing your efficiency in implementing a program.
No matter the answer that you select, your business is a gift from God and you can be certain that when you proclaim His truth in everyday speech, you are letting others in on the truth so that they can grow and be strong and experience His presence with you (1 Cor 14:3-3 Message). Today is the day to start your ministry at work and be an ambassador for Christ.