TGC’s “Thorns & Thistles” column seeks to apply wisdom with practical advice about faith, work, and economics. If you have a question on how to think about and practice your work in a way that honors God, let us know at [email protected].
How do I share the gospel with my employees without pressuring them because I’m the boss?
I understand why you’re asking. As Christians, we want others to find the peace and hope we’ve found in knowing Jesus. And we know all Christians are called to evangelize (Mark 16:15). But speaking about Christ can be tricky to navigate with those we manage. We want to ensure our employees don’t feel pressured or manipulated, even inadvertently, through our attempts to share our faith.
So how can we provide an invitation rather than a demand? Let’s look at a few things to keep in mind if you’re an influential person within your organization.
1. Understand (and fulfill) your responsibilities.
Whether you own the company or manage a smaller team within a larger organization, you’re responsible for working and leading well. Be the best manager you can be—excellent at your job, generous in leadership, humble in sharing credit, and gentle in correction. Your employees will be more receptive to the good news if it comes from a person they like and respect.
Your employees will be more receptive to the good news if it comes from a person they like and respect.
Because you have more influence than those in non-leadership roles, you have a unique opportunity to steward that well. We’ve all heard stories about difficult bosses. Likely a by-product of their sense of job security, people in positions of power sometimes feel more comfortable behaving in unseemly ways. But they also have more freedom to make positive things happen.
In a world where many struggle with the management style of their supervisors, you have an opportunity to provide a different employee experience. There’s perhaps no greater witness to the work of Jesus Christ than Christians treating others with countercultural love that can’t possibly come from any worldly source.
2. Identify as a Christian.
People probably won’t ask you about your faith unless they know you have one.
When my 10-year-old plays a video game, he understands that to get to the more advanced levels, he must conquer the easier levels first. There’s a progression to his games, just as there’s often a progression to our path toward deeper evangelism.
Sometimes we’re intimidated by the prospect of having an in-depth conversion conversation when we haven’t even worked up the nerve to stop actively hiding our faith. We avoid mentioning church attendance when asked about our weekend plans. We quickly turn our car radio down as we pull into the parking lot so others don’t hear the worship music we’re listening to. We mumble, we put our heads down, and we avoid even the easiest of opportunities to say, “I’m a Christian.”
The first step is often making it known you’re a Christian so your life can serve as evidence of the work of Jesus. Such an open posture invites questions and conversations with others.
3. Look for opportunities.
As you lead with excellence and are transparent about your faith, ask the Lord for opportunities to share further and for him to change people’s hearts toward him. You may have employees who are hardened to the topic of Christianity and would not be open to hearing about it. What can you do? Pray for them. The things outside of your control are not outside of God’s. You may be surprised by the doors he opens throughout your workday.
Weave in biblical leadership principles when discussing a challenge with your leadership team. Offer to colead an optional prayer group or Bible study with another Christian on your team. Mention your church’s pickleball league to that person on your team who can’t stop talking about her latest obsession with the sport.
The things outside of your control are not outside of God’s. You may be surprised by the doors he opens throughout your workday.
If a team member has experienced a loss or a difficult diagnosis, he may come to you for comfort or encouragement. Consider a simple and open invitation: “Let me know how I can be there for you during this time. I’m always happy to listen, and the team is ready to chip in so you can take the time you need. Additionally, would you like me to pray either with or for you? I believe our greatest help in times like these comes from God.”
As team members learn you’re a Christian, some may become curious and ask more targeted questions. If you’re asked about your faith, you have an open door to share your testimony. After saying a few things, asking, “Does that answer your question?” is a respectful way to see if the door is still open or if a person would like to end the conversation.
But you may also have an opportunity to say more. As the Lord works in your coworkers’ hearts, he may give you the chance to proclaim to them the good news of a creating and redeeming God who sent the Son to pay the penalty for our sins and to reconcile us to himself. He may give you an opportunity to invite your employees to become followers of Christ. Who could ask for a better day at the office?
4. Remain Spirit-led.
Put down that burden you’re carrying. You know the one. It’s the overwhelming sense of responsibility to personally ensure every soul you encounter is saved. Keep that God-given stirring within your heart, but release the weight. Evangelism isn’t a burden. It’s not about forcing the Father’s invitation on people. It’s about walking in step with the leading of the Spirit as he works in and through you.
The workers in the harvest don’t cause the harvest (Matt. 9:37–38; John 15:16). They’re simply servants, cheerfully obeying and following where their Father sends them (Ps. 128:1; Rom. 8:14).
Don’t forget that as you diligently fulfill your humble role in the larger picture. Pray for God to guide you in stewarding the influence he’s entrusted you with, all for his glory and the advancement of the kingdom.