“O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.”
1 Chronicles 16:8
IS CHRISTIAN EVANGELISM BAD FOR BUSINESS?
Many times while giving interviews I am asked, “Why can’t we practice our Christian values at work?” I reply, “Because of poor evangelism.” Christianity has been given a bad name in the work place, despite the fact that seventy-five percent of those who work profess to be Christians. Employers fear that openly discussing our faith, lawsuits and that alienating behavior will arise. Surely most Christian’s don’t want their behavior to create a lawsuit or to offend. But the workplace is suspicious. Too often the words they hear are those of poor evangelism.
There are businesses that openly support Christianity and are thriving, Chick-fil-a, Hobby Lobby, Tyson Foods or even Forever 21. But for many businesses there is a strong reluctance to hear or embrace the values of Jesus.
“Living a life through appropriate Christian behavior is the best form of evangelism.”
It is okay to have a Bible on your desk and to love your neighbor. Neither of which is forbidden in any employee handbook. But too often well intended Christians take evangelism too far and miss the most important ingredient in evangelism, actions speak louder than words. Living a life through appropriate Christian behavior is the best form of evangelism. Words don’t convert, it is how we live our faith that does.
“Over-zealous commands of evangelism, don’t create acceptance, they create distance.”
Too often, we meet that person who believes so strongly that they forget that their gift of faith isn’t one that can be bullied upon someone else. Too often, we hear views so strongly worded that they become commands and not ones of sharing. While most agree that dialogue is a two way street, there are those who miss the importance of mutual dialogue. Over-zealous commands of evangelism, don’t create acceptance, they create distance.
God does ask and desires for us to spread the word and to make known God’s deeds among the people. This is true and the heart of evangelism. It is with the delivery of the good news that some evangelists miss the point.
When Mahatma Gandhi was asked, “Why if he exhibited many Christian values, didn’t he convert? His reply was, “The message of Jesus wasn’t to humiliate and imperialistically rule over other people considering them inferior or second class or slaves, but that “when the hungry are fed and peace comes to our individual and collective life, then Christ is born” He wasn’t opposed to the message of Christ, but the way the message was delivered.
“Evangelism produces the best results when we walk the narrow path of servitude of our beliefs.”
So it is with us today, it’s not what we say or who we try to subdue with our beliefs, but how we live that produces real Christian evangelism. Evangelism produces the best results when we walk the narrow path of servitude of our beliefs. Words can change lives, especially when that are delivered with love and respect. Not all are gifted with the art of oratory, but all have the gift of love that should be shared.
“People are not changed by the turning of a word, but by the very actions they see.”
The hardest part of evangelism is not what we say, but what we do. When we profess to others our Christian faith, we are watched not heard. People see better than they hear. Our actions are evaluated and discussed silently. People are not changed by the turning of a word, but by the very actions they see.
The hardest part of being Christian is the requirement to not give into to our anger. To not fear scarcity, which restricts generosity. To not want at any cost. To not push for whatever we desire. When we rise above our human frailties’, we evangelize.
We will all fail by delivering actions that are opposed to those Jesus desires. We will fall short of our duties as evangelist. But real failure will rest with giving up when we fail and not trying to be better. Each dawn which delivers a new day, giving us a new day to try harder than the previous day. Real evangelism comes from our desire to live a perfect life that contains the values of Jesus.
Maybe someday, we can talk about Jesus at work.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
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