How Jesus-Friendly Is Your Workplace?
[Editor’s Note: Jesus is Lord over all, including the workplace. Many Christians want to honor Christ with their whole lives, but don’t know how far they can go at work. This blog post helps readers think through four kinds of workplaces with regard to being “Jesus-friendly.” You may have more freedom than you think.]
How Jesus-friendly is your workplace?
Our company, EnergyCAP, Inc., was founded on Christian business principles and we have a company chaplain, voluntary prayer, giving, etc. Cenergistic, a company based in Texas, has their mission statement on their website. It begins, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.”
“But,” you might say, “these are private companies and what about the public sector or even private companies that don’t have Christian foundations? Must Jesus be checked at the door at these workplaces?”
Consider these three things as you think about carrying your faith in Jesus into the place where you work.
First, realize Christ is already at your workplace, whether you bring him in or not. Christ is the firstborn over all creation, is head over every power and authority, and is the fullness of God in bodily form. Nothing was created without Christ and nothing exists apart from his sustenance. So Christ is there whether you, coworkers, and supervisors invite him in or not.
Second, look up religious discrimination laws. It is illegal in the United States to harass someone because of religion, and the law requires the employer to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs or practices.
Third, consider the faith-friendliness of your workplace. Maybe you don’t have it as bad as you think.
Here are four types of workplace environments. Which type of environment is your workplace?
An oppressive workplace actively persecutes followers of a religious belief or practice. I have friends in Myanmar, where Christians have been stoned to death and houses burned down because of their faith. Now that’s an oppressive environment. Is your workplace oppressive toward Christ? If so, it would be illegal in the United States.
A prohibitive workplace forbids religious expression. It has a “don’t talk about God” rule. Recently I went into a new café near my house and asked the owner if I could pray to bless his new business. He said, “There are two things we don’t talk about in here—politics and religion.” This was a prohibitive workplace, not only for the employees but for customers as well. Is your workplace prohibitive of faith? This may also be illegal in the United States.
A tolerant workplace allows religious expression, but doesn’t openly welcome or encourage it. The attitude is sort of like, “If you must, you can.” The law requires that accommodation be made for faith, but this type of workplace does the minimum required to accommodate. Is your workplace tolerant of faith? To be legal, it must accommodate your beliefs or practices.
And finally, an affirming workplace supports and nurtures the faith of the employees. Instead of just accommodating religion, it recognizes the importance of nurturing the spirit and offers activities for spiritual growth. I’m grateful to work in an environment that nurtures my faith. Is your workplace supportive of faith?
So you see, your workplace might be more Jesus-friendly than you think. Don’t be afraid to express your faith at work! Besides the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, the laws forbidding religious discrimination in the workplace also provide protection for you to express and practice your religious beliefs where you work.
Use these freedoms and protections to the maximum potential. God has placed you there “to spread the aroma of the knowledge of [Christ] everywhere (2 Cor. 2:14).” Be bold to speak about Jesus, but be sure your coworkers sense a spirit of love and humility in you, and also see your godly submission to authority “so that in every way [you] will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive (Titus 2:10).” You should be the kindest, hardest working, most honest employee there!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” says Galatians 5.
“Live a life worthy of the calling you have received,” says Ephesians 4.
“Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” says Philippians 1.
Surely he is worthy!
To learn more about glorifying Christ in the workplace, watch our recent Christ Cast:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Heinz
Chris Heinz is the Founder and CEO of Munyay, which creates coaching solutions to help you love your life and work. He’s also the Vice President of Human Resources for EnergyCAP, Inc. and is an ICF Certified Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Chris enjoys coaching people, writing, and speaking on the topics of engagement, coaching, strengths, prayer, and the Christian life. He’s the author of the Made to Pray book and prayer assessment. Chris lives with his wife and three children in central Pennsylvania, where they play at their cabin-on-a-creek.