Modelling Christian Principles in the Workplace
The first reference to the followers of Jesus Christ as Christians was in Antioch (Acts 11:26).
Apparently, this group of believers were seen as conducting their affairs as Jesus would do. In essence they modelled the principles of Christ and made a significant impact on their immediate environment. This is the pattern we are advocating for the workplace.
These principles informed the leadership pattern at the Brent Council Civic Centre Christian Fellowship, where I had the privilege of taking the lead for about 10 years before I retired. During this time the group grew to about 250 members and made significant contributions to Brent. We supported ourselves as a group to study the Bible and pray together on a weekly basis. We did not handle the Bible as a ‘story book’ but as a document, indeed a manual containing principles to be progressively understood, which we could apply to our work environment.
To be effective Christians in the workplace, a lot of emphasis must be on personal spiritual growth, which should lead to building a strong team of Christians. A strong team will be better positioned to make the desired impact.
Christianity in the workplace is not about pushing a particular religion, it is about modelling a way of life, a way of doing things to promote peace and progress. Jesus Christ left a legacy of diversity and inclusion for His followers, without compromising His ideals. The 12 disciples were picked from a wide range of backgrounds.
Everyone who came to Jesus was welcome. His teaching about the ‘Good Samaritan’ urges us to be ready to give support to anyone regardless of race, colour, ethnicity or disability. This is an emphasis about fairness in service delivery.
There are also other principles arising from the life and ministry of Jesus that can sometimes be misunderstood and in a number of instances have created problems for Christians when not properly applied in the workplace.
For example, the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are about supernatural equipping. They can be of great help in strategic problem solving and other professional decision making. The revelation gifts, for example, words of knowledge, words of wisdom and discernment of spirits are known to have helped many Christians in the workplace in major decision making and strategic planning, often being used naturally in the course of work.
It is unethical to ‘speak in tongues’ along the corridors or in some other areas of the workplace which could be ‘offensive’ to others. We need to note that we are not employed to pray for colleagues or clients/patients; but we can show that we care in such a way that Christ will be glorified without putting our jobs at risk. This is not timidity, as some will say, it is divine wisdom.
The Bible also lays emphasis on the nine components of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. These are the attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit (sent by Jesus to empower Christians). The components are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. They are not topics to be preached to others in the workplace. They are attributes (or call them principles) to be lived out or modelled by Christians. They really help in enhancing people skills and help in managing people and team building.
There is also what I call the principle of the ‘Lion and the Lamb’- that is the nature of Christ as indicated in the Bible. Jesus is described as the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ and at the same time, the ‘Lamb of God’. This is actually about appropriateness. The ‘Lion’ quality was on display by Jesus at some given points. Otherwise He was generally known as gentle Jesus, meek and mild. Like Jesus, every Christian must learn to be appropriate in the workplace. Jesus spoke only when He needed to and actually kept quiet at the height of provocation. A Christian in the workplace also needs to be fair and firm as appropriate.
There are many more principles in the Bible relevant for us. Workplace groups need to discuss them, more regularly, in their meetings and encourage each other to apply in practical terms in the work environment.
In the process we will be the ‘Salt and Light’, making a difference, positively impacting the workplace for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
TWUK Prayer and Pastoral Lead, and Ambassador for the London Councils