Christians in the marketplace – it’s where many of us spend the greatest amount of our time, yet our spiritual impact can be limited by our own attitudes and behaviors. Sometimes, what we think is encouraging others to see Jesus may actually be hindering them from doing so. The Apostle Paul charges us to set an example for others by doing what is good (Titus 2:7). Below are six ways to be a Christian at work without ruining your leadership effectiveness. After all, Jesus calls us to be different… not annoying.
Authenticity – Sometimes we as Christians are known to present ourselves as though we are… well, spiritually all together. But most of the people we work with don’t feel so “all together.” Wouldn’t it be better if we let them know that we also doubt, argue with our spouses, and wrestle with life issues just like everyone else? It’s hard for people to want what we have when they feel it isn’t even real.
Competency – There is nothing like one of us talking up Jesus and yet failing to do our job well. If we want people to take us seriously, we need to be the best at what we do. Stay sharp. Develop our skills. Deliver results. Otherwise, the name of Jesus may be damaged – not due to anything he has done but by our incompetence.
Consistency – It’s never good when our employees or supervisors have to figure out which version of us they are going to get each day. Happy/sad. Joyful/angry. Mean/nice. Talkative/quiet. Transparent/secretive. These are just a few examples of how we can change day to day. And while some level of change is normal, unpredictability and extremes are not. We need to be consistent in positive and healthy ways. Joy and peace should mark us.
Integrity – You’ve heard the phrase “character matters” – and it does. In leadership, it can be hard to manage the balance of what can be shared with others and what cannot. It's ok if people don’t agree with our decisions. But, as Christians, we should never give them reason to question our character. We will not be perfect, but we must be truthful and trustworthy in order to be credible. So we need to think before we speak and act.
Story – People may not be interested in hearing about our church or even our faith. But they may be open to our genuine life story. And when Jesus is part of our story, they will listen to that as well. But we sometimes forget that they too have a story and we should show equal interest in it even when it doesn’t align with our own. Showing interest in others makes a difference.
Empathy – While our stories provide the opportunity to share what Jesus has done on our behalf, showing genuine care and concern provides us with the chance to do something tangible to help someone – without any agenda, any expectations, or any assumptions that such actions will be returned. We show empathy and care because it’s what Jesus expects us to do.
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of ministry assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include a B.S. in Bible, a M.Ed in Instructional Systems Design and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership.