Some of the mission topics of the smaller groups of influencers include The Gospel and Culture, Children at Risk, and Business as Mission. At the June gathering, one discussion topic drew significant disagreement among some ministry “experts.” The question centered around evangelism in the workplace as a priority.
The summary article of responses to the question can be found in the Christianity Today article, “Should Evangelism Be the Highest Priority of Christians at Work?” (link below) I will take the liberty of removing my own “pull quotes” from various responses.
The first is from a missiologist named Gea Gort. That term, “missiologist” may need explanation. My friend Ed Stetzer says, “At the most basic level, a missiologist is a specialist who studies and is trained in the science of missions…Missiology is accomplished at the intersection of gospel, culture, and the church.”
Gea Gort responded to the evangelism question, YES! In her view, “Because each Christian, having inherited the ‘DNA' of our Lord Jesus Christ, has a mission of reconciling the world—in and through Christ—back to God’s original intent.”
Joseph Vijayam is the CEO of Olive Technology and Lausanne’s Catalyst for Technology. He agrees. “Workplace ministry is about sharing the gospel in word and deed—which is evangelism—but it is also about living a life that bears witness to the fruit of the gospel. In other words, it is both intentional evangelism, which is the ‘doing,' as well as the unintentional living, which is the ‘being.’”
Francis Tsui is president of an investment firm in Hong Kong. He adds, “We likewise should be proclaiming the good news to these people in our workplace. The purpose of the good news being proclaimed is to bring about the presence of Jesus to whatever circumstances people might be in, so that people may meet Jesus where they are and experience the compassion, the love, and the relevance of Jesus in their contexts.”
Willy Kotiuga, chair of Bakke Graduate University board of regents, disagrees. “People come to Christ when they feel loved, not lectured!”
Jerry White, international president emeritus of The Navigators stated, "My answer to this provocative question is an emphatic ‘no…’ Work is more than a platform for evangelism and discipleship. Rather, it is part of God’s grand plan for believers and not-yet believers…a believer’s work displays the light of Christ and becomes the natural pathway for the gospel.”
Now it’s my turn. I’m in the “no”camp. And here’s why.
Whether as an employer who follows Christ or can’t stand the thought of God, my work priority to to manage a business for profit. Decisions are made to that end. I don’t hire people to come to work as evangelists for ANY cause. I hire them because they are talented and can do the job.
So as an employee, your FIRST priority should be to honor your employer with diligence. The apostle Paul said, “Slaves are to submit themselves to their masters and please them in all things. They must not talk back to them or steal from them. Instead, they must show that they are always good and faithful, so as to bring credit to the teaching about God our Savior in all they do.” (Titus 2:9-10, GNT)
Okay, “slave" is a tough word. But Paul’s point is well taken. Do your work. Do it honorably. Shine. And let God do His. He will open the doors as He wills.
That’s how we show Jesus on the job.
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