How Should Christian Professionals Influence Others at Work?
By Abby Peng , November 10, 2017 01:11 AM
A special group, Christian professionals, are scattered in all fields in China, and they have significant influence. They need specific nurturing and company to help them practice their faith in the workplace. However, the Chinese church lacks nurturing for the group.
Sister Zhou, an experienced workplace counselor from Beijing, shared her methods and suggestions on what Christians encounter in the marketplace in an interview with the Christian Times.
When it comes to pastoring workplace Christians, Zhou suggested that the church could build a platform for them to have regular communication. It could invite seniors in the workplace to hold lectures on career development. One may discover his characteristics and position his career direction through these activities. Meanwhile, the church should often exhort Christians to draw strength from God in prayer.
The most common hidden rule in the workplace is to get commissions. It was a big challenge for Christians, Zhou said. One should weigh up whether to follow the rule or conform to biblical principles in that situation. Does one believe in God or people for help? Her suggestion was that Christians must not accept kickbacks or bribes at work. Try other methods such as write a thank-you note to show faith and position and ask for others' understanding. More importantly, pray for wisdom to handle it. Because if bribes or kickbacks are taken, the devil gains a foothold and encourages more evil acts.
Suppose that God allows one to stay in the position, He would definitely make a way and remove commissions. If one cannot avoid kickbacks, change to a job and trust that God would make a more appropriate path. She confessed that she often prayed to avoid a job concerning kickbacks. Actually, things become easy when one refuses to take kickbacks. One is emboldened if the product is of good quality. Ask customers whether they liked the product or the reasons why they disliked it for improvement.
Christians want to be honest, but many people are dishonest. First of all, one needs to stay honest as far as possible. Pray also that God might bring honest people to or make a promise not do violate integrity while signing a contract. According to the commercial rules, dishonesty has a big price; on the contrary, cooperation based on honesty lasts longer and is more efficient.
Besides, one has to forgive dishonest people rather than render evil for evil. Communicate with and pray for them that they might change. If a boss puts forward unreasonable demands, first know how it is unreasonable and make it clear to him. Explain overtime and physical conditions in advance. For example, if one cannot work overtime on Sundays because of Sunday services; tell the boss beforehand that he might not ask too much. Be clear on what can and cannot be done. Say it.
If a boss wants you to give a kickback, state that it cannot be done because of faith. State the bottom line and be ready to face the music for it. If he agrees, ask for a transfer. If he firmly sais no, it might be necessary to look for a new company.
Some Christian bosses hope to recruit Christian employees but found them disqualified and incompetent. They often confused faith with work. Zhou said that real Christians understand that they need to give account to God, so their attitudes and work were different. A person with a good attitude yet poor working skills can be trained, but never hire a person with a poor attitude and skills.
Christian bosses can ask God for proper workers who distinguish faith and work. Employing Christians faces two things in professional cultivating: spiritual growth and professional skill development. A Christian worker should have a proper understanding of "boss" and "work". Some read the Bible and pray during work hours, and even ask their bosses to be more tolerant on the excuse of spiritual growth. It doesn't please God. Fulfill duty at work and complete what should be done. It is an important lesson to honor and obey the boss as honoring the Lord.
As to nonbelievers ridiculing the faith, Zhou's advice was to express feelings to them and ask them to stop. If it is a vicious attack, shake the dust and ignore it, since it might come from the devil. If one wanted to evangelize to them, above all, pray for them and talk to the people God prepared. Pray for them before reaching them then get into the topic slowly. Show them gospel brochures. In fact, the best evangelism method is life influence.
About being free from complaints in the workplace, Zhou proposed to change perspective. Regard the job as a chance to use talents and abilities and to train, because God doesn't need men. Maybe some things seem unfair but were to teach. If one doesn't overcome the current problem, one would face bigger difficulties. God is there when to confront them.
He wouldn't remove all of difficulties. Instead, He trains through them so that Christians can become more capable. He lets them walk out the comfort zone and extend outwards through bosses and colleagues. Ask God to help cross difficulties and surpass oneself.
Don't complain when asked to do menial work. It seems unfair to be paid less than other people. The point is the focus: thank God for giving a workout opportunity and value short-term interests.
Many cases seem unfair at that time, but be grateful. Zhou shared her own experience that she did extra strenuous work that was unpaid for a long time when she just worked, but years later she found that she matured quickly because she was always in practice. Nobody except her could be qualified for that job.
- Translated by Karen Luo
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