Ro Trivedi recently finished seven years as an IT analyst at Deutsche Bank to become a Maths teacher. We asked him for his top tips on being a Christian in the workplace.
I hope that the following thoughts will be helpful as you work and live as an ambassador for Christ, with the ministry of reconciliation that we have all been given...
1. Personal prayer and workplace prayer groups are vital
If there are enough Christians in your workplace (and by enough, I mean more than one), pray together - ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain' (Ps. 127:1). It may sometimes seem you're praying for years with no fruit - but persevere, and graciously God will grant you gospel opportunities - often with people you did not expect. Also, praying to encourage each other as Christians is vital. Pray that you would keep focused on Jesus and pray for each other in times of struggle, hardship and uncertainty. You will build each other up and you will see each other grow in marvellous ways.
2. Build strong relationships with your colleagues
Most people are in their jobs to earn a living, to pay a mortgage, school fees, car loans, etc. They would rather be somewhere else than here. It is therefore important to relate to your colleagues on a more personal level than just work. Empathise with them in their struggles; go out with them for a drink; find out about their family life. In doing this, we earn their trust and respect. They may hate our message of a crucified saviour, but they will not be able to say a word against our character if we show genuine love and concern.
3. If you can, look at the Bible 1-2-1 with people
1-2-1s with other Christians - and with unbelievers - are immensely helpful. You will be growing in your knowledge of God and His Word, learning to apply it as you work; and you will be training the younger person to do the same with others. If an unbeliever shows enough interest in the Gospel, look at the Bible with them, too. It may seem a strange notion to them, but pray that they will be convicted by the Spirit through the Word.
4. Mentor younger believers
If you are a mature Christian, bring the younger guys on board. Model gospel ministry to them. Meet them regularly; pray with them; involve them in evangelism; and show them that attending lunchtime services, the prayer meeting, etc., are a priority, no matter how busy you are. If you model this, they will grow and follow suit, so that when the time comes for you to leave the company, you will have built up new leaders to carry on gospel work.
5. Make a stand for Christ on day one
Your ministry will be much easier if you find a way to declare your allegiance to Jesus as soon as you join a new firm. If you do not, it becomes harder the longer you are there, and you may slip into a habit of apathy, and be too timid to ‘own up' to being a Christian. People appreciate honesty from the beginning. When they see where your priorities lie, they are more likely to ask you questions, show an interest, respond to invitations, etc.
6. Do not get discouraged!
Finally, resist the temptation to doubt God's sovereignty. If you pray for opportunities, and none ever come up, or if your colleagues don't respond to the gospel for years, we must remember that God does not need us to do his work. He could do it by anyone, or by any means he wishes. But he graciously chooses to use us. If things aren't happening, do not worry. He is still sovereign, He has his own timelines. Rather, continue to pray and look for gospel opportunities. Success is defined by faithfulness, not by numbers.