Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith by David Goetsch. Salem Books. 282 pages. 2019.
This is a thorough, and very practical book that Christians in the workplace will find of much value. The author writes that the workplace is not always the friendliest environment for Christians. As a Christian in the workplace, your faith is going to be challenged. Count on it and do not be surprised or shocked when it happens. Consistently living your faith in the workplace is almost guaranteed to cause you problems from time to time. I know I ran into challenges to my faith in the workplace, and I would guess that you have as well. This is a book that I would recommend reading and discussing with co-workers in a book club setting. To facilitate that, the book includes helpful case studies about people the author has counseled over the years, discussion and review questions for groups and individuals.
The author writes that secular humanism and misguided political correctness are the new normal in the workplace. Instances of hostility toward Christianity are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. This hostility can and does sometimes cross a line and become persecution. Christians face the daily challenge of trying to do their jobs in ways that reflect the image of Christ while working with people who reject Christ. He wrote the book to help Christians in the workplace excel without compromising their faith.
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”, is the theme of this book. Helping Christians accomplish this difficult but critical challenge is the author’s purpose. The strategies provided in the book are based on the teachings of Scripture. They have been put to the test in the workplace and proven to be effective for use by Christians facing the kinds of trials, tribulations, and dilemmas you may be facing in your job.
The author tells us that as Christians, we cannot separate our beliefs from our work, nor can we leave our beliefs on the doorstep of the office. Each day, working Christians must fight a two-pronged battle. On one hand, there is the personal battle to avoid succumbing to the temptations so prevalent in the workplace. On the other hand, we must also battle against the pressures of the workplace to engage in sinful behavior in the name of competitiveness, the bottom line, success, career advancement, job security, etc. As Christians, we can and should set examples of working in ways consistent with the teachings of Scripture and that reflect the image of Christ. As Christians in the workplace, a dilemma we often face is how to be faithful to our beliefs when working with people who don’t share those beliefs and when confronted with situations that challenge those beliefs. He tells us that no matter how successful you may be in your job, you have failed if your success comes by compromising your faith.
The author writes that the key to responding to pressure, rejection, and temptation in a biblical manner is to use an approach he calls the First-Response Model. The model summarizes the first steps Christians, should take when facing faith-related dilemmas in the workplace.
- Avoid responding out of anger, fear, or frustration.
- Pray for guidance.
- Seek guidance in Scripture.
- Seek the counsel of Godly men and women.
- Translate Scriptural guidance and wise counsel into workplace-appropriate practical action.
He states that we should go through each step in the model in the order recommended.
He writes about covert and overt Christians in the workplace. Covert Christians are believers who hide their faith when working among unbelievers. Another goal of this book is to demonstrate you don’t have to adopt the covert approach to keep your job or to build a successful career. Those Christians who consistently live their faith in all situations are referred to as overt Christians.
The author covers a number of helpful topics in this book, including servant leadership, how to be both wise and innocent when responding to faith-related challenges in the workplace, how to establish and maintain relationships with our unbelieving co-workers, how your Christ-like example can be a daily sermon for coworkers, and dealing with diversity in the workplace.
I highlighted a number of passages as I read the book. Below are 10 of my favorite quotes:
- No matter where you work or what kind of job you have, as a Christian you work first for the Lord and second for your employer.
- Quitting your job when the faith-related trials you are experiencing seem overwhelming should be viewed as an option of last resort, at least in most cases.
- There may be times when remaining faithful to your beliefs will jeopardize your job security or, at the very least, cause you emotional distress, a hard fact Christians must understand.
- When responding to faith-related challenges, the key is to make your point without making an enemy.
- There may be organizational policies against openly evangelizing on the job, but there can be no policies against setting a good Christian example.
- There may even be times when Christians will have to endure persecution for refusing to compromise.
- Setting a Christ-like example for coworkers depends on your ability to effectively translate Scripture into workplace-appropriate action. When translating Scripture into action, you must be both wise and innocent.
- Working with someone who holds a different worldview and validating that individual’s worldview are two different things.
- Christ expects us to not just tolerate our neighbors but to love them as He loves us.
- Expect adversity to be part of what you will deal with in the workplace.