Periodically have open meetings where the format and content is designed for people who are new to the group, bearing in mind that some will be Christians who have been following Jesus for a long time, and others may be non-believers who are just enquiring about the faith. It is important that the group is inclusive, encouraging people from across the range of traditions and with differing experiences of the faith (or none) to become involved.
A welcome meeting might contain a talk and discussion on what the group does; perhaps play a video which captures the group’s aims and ethos. Include refreshments – if the meeting is at lunchtime, make it clear that people can bring and eat packed lunches. Make time to talk to people, find out what they are looking for, and how the group can help them. Maintain contact with those who come along. Make sure the meeting is well advertised in advance, and of course pray that God will bring along many new people to the meeting.
Buddy System for New Starters
There’s a great opportunity to come alongside and welcome newcomers to the workplace who make contact with the group and start coming along at an early stage. Joining a new organisation can be a daunting and lonely experience, so it can be helpful for one or two people in the group to specifically look out for the new starter for a month or so. This can be really beneficial for the newcomer, and an excellent opportunity to make them feel at home in the group at an early stage. This approach may also sit well with HR as an extension of their induction strategy.
Christianity Awareness Week
A Christianity Awareness Week is a great opportunity to be a resource for your organisation by giving all staff the opportunity to learn more about the Christian faith. It is also a great way to promote your Christian Workplace Group in a positive way in your organisation.
It is a week consisting of various lunchtime events, activities and displays which provide information on the Christian faith and are open to all in the organisation.
Here are some general points to consider when putting on a Christianity Awareness Week:
Preparation: within your group, think about what it is you want to achieve, and pray about it!
Contact Senior Management to discuss the practicalities: where could you hold the event (and surrounding events, such as talks, workshops, etc..), when’s the most convenient time (lunchtimes?), what is it you are going to promote, how (stands, art exhibition, Bible exhibition, etc..?)
Make sure you delegate responsibilities around the group so one person doesn’t get lumbered with all the work!
Think creatively about promotion (posters, intranet, e-mail, if allowed, postcards in restrooms, etc..)
Consider offering food (always a good attraction)
Make sure you get support from local churches and pastors, if only for prayer, but maybe encouraging them (where practically possible) to visit and be involved.
After the event, contact us to let us know how you got on, and to encourage other workplace groups to do the same!
Inviting a guest Christian speaker is a relatively easy way to put on a special event to which invitations can be extended widely. This is often more appealing to newcomers if the topic is related to the work of the organisation. It can be used to reach Christians who are not part of, or do not normally attend your group. It can also be used as a away of informing people in the organisation about the Christian faith.
The speaker should be chosen carefully. It might be someone from the group, from the organisation or from outside the organisation. He/she should have a reputation for being a good speaker, be familiar with the kind of audience that is expected, and be engaging to listen to. It is usually helpful for the speaker to answer questions at the end of the talk.
The steps that need to be taken when holding a speaker event include:
Pray about the event before you begin
Agree on a speaker to invite, and a date
Agree the topic the speaker will cover
Book a venue
Arrange as much advertising as possible (intranet, posters, word of mouth, social media, TW website)
Have a chairperson appointed for the meeting
Arrange access for the speaker
Escort the speaker during the time he/she is with the group
It is good practice to keep a record of attendees. This allows you to pursue any questions people may have, and for you to link new people into your group. It can be done simply by having a feedback sheet or card handed out when people arrive, or placed on every chair. The feedback forms usually ask people to give comments on the talk, and to say if they would like to talk further about any issue that was raised. You can ask if they have any questions about Christianity, or if they would like to join your Christian Workplace Group. If you ask for an e-mail address, you can let them know of future events the group is putting on.
Giving Away Free Bibles or Pamphlets
Free or low cost Bibles and short pamphlets, can be obtained from a variety of sources. A web search will reveal many. The group can look for opportunities to hand these out to people in the workplace – maybe for new arrivals, visitors to events, at particularly at significant times in the calendar, e.g. Christmas, Easter, Pentecost. They could be accompanied by an attractive gift – e.g. an Easter cup cake or hot cross bun! Perhaps the group could set up a table by the entrance as people come to work, staffed by a member of the Christian Workplace Group, and hand them out as gifts.
Giving away Bibles will probably be done differently depending on the size of the organisation. A larger organisation may require a different approach to a smaller more intimate workplace where it’s not difficult to know everyone. This does not however, need to be restricted to small organisations – the BT Christian Network has handed out hundreds of Bibles over the years with full permission from management!
A fun way to raise awareness of your Christian Workplace Group amongst colleagues is to give gifts with your group name or logo on there. A lovely slogan you could put on mugs from a Christian Workplace Groups is:
‘Here for you, Praying for you’
Although there will be a small cost, it can be effective to have some items made up to give away, or to leave in recreational areas to advertise the group. What items would be most useful for your colleagues in your line of work? Items that have been used are coffee mugs with a Christian saying on the side, coasters, pens, or even small soft toys or mascots.
If designed to be attractive and interesting these can be good conversation openers. You can find a range of options on the internet, under promotional products.
Cards for Unwell Colleagues
This suggestion depends a little on the size of the organisation; it may be difficult to do in a larger work setting but is easier in a small organisation.
The idea is that, when someone is sick or off work, the Christian Group pay for and arrange a card, or maybe flowers if appropriate, to be sent to the individual. This may require some liaison with the HR element of the organisation.
Doing this allows the Christian Group to be seen to be expressing love towards the colleagues in the workplace – Christian or non-Christian alike. It also allows the group to help the organisation, in a small way, by working with them to reach out to sick staff and make them feel valued and missed. This strategy may be attractive to HR and senior managers who hopefully will see it as an additional support for the organisation’s pastoral care.
Supporting the Organisation's Charities
Many organisations like to support charities, and may select a few to support for a specific period and then after a while choose some different charities to support. One way that the Christian group can bless the company is to undertake some activities in support of the company’s chosen charities. This might involve practical activity locally, as described above, directly supporting the charity, or it might involve a fund raising event in support of the charity.
Supporting a Local Charity
A great opportunity for the group to show God’s love together as members of the organisation is to undertake some activity in support of a local charity. This might involve practical work, for example supporting a food bank or helping charities which reach out to the elderly or those sick at home alone, perhaps tidying gardens, home visiting, etc. Some companies and organisations will allow this to be done in work time.
Connect with other Groups nearby
It can be helpful to hold meetings or get together with other Christian Workplace Groups meeting nearby. For a specific event, this allows the sharing of organisational effort, and the opportunity, for example, for a visiting speaker to be heard by a larger audience than in one location. It is always great to meet with Christians from another organisation, to hear of their successes and experiences. Getting together socially can be really beneficial too. Often this can be done effectively around an event, but sometimes it is encouraging to come together in a regular meeting, perhaps to worship or pray together, but in larger numbers. It is always encouraging to be with other Christians and enjoy fellowship.
This can be an appealing event for non-Christian friends, which they may more readily accept an invitation to than for other more formal events. It is an excellent way to introduce people to the Christian faith in a non-threatening environment.
Depending on the numbers you expect, arrange with a local pub (or coffee bar) for an area with some privacy to be set aside for your group to meet. If numbers are small then a reserved area may not be necessary. After work, for an hour, is probably the best time, although it might be possible to do this during the lunch hour.
Invite a speaker, perhaps from your local church, or maybe someone from your group, to talk about the Christian faith. A short time – maybe 10 or minutes or so is all that is required. Then allow space for guests to ask questions or discuss points arising during the talk.
Here’s an example of a pub outreach evening arranged by the Camden Council CWG in London. It is a great way to talk about Christianity in an environment in which almost everyone will feel at home. It can also be used as an introduction to Alpha, or a follow-up activity after another event such as a talk or a carol service.
Attend a Conference Together
A fun, and uplifting thing to do can be to go away to a conference as a group, or as a leadership team. This can build team spirit as well as being spiritually nourishing. It also offers opportunities to hear what God may be calling your group to do. It’s a great opportunity to meet with others in a Christian setting completely away from work.
There are major events such as the Holy Trinity Brompton and Hillsong leadership conferences, large scale events held in London which need to be booked well in advance, or a range of smaller events held around the country. These include Worship Central, Bethel conferences, or conferences arranged by large churches in various city locations around the country.