Monday, April 6, 2009

"My Christian T-Shirt at Work"

For those who happen to read this blog and are not "Christians", people of faith, religious, or whatever else you want to tag it with... thanks for stopping by and keep seeking Truth and asking the big questions in life...

For those who consider themselves "Christ Followers", what does it mean to live out our faith at work? Views on this range all over the map but I'll share my filters (and to be upfront, I fail at these often but keep working to fail forward):

What it is:

  • Strive to be the hardest working person in my organization to give my employer an honest day's work
  • Be "for" my co-workers- helping them in their roles when asked, serving, building-up, encouraging them, and celebrate their promotions
  • Promote team, collaboration, unity, and bring positivity to the group
  • Show up on time, be a good communicator, and not be the one to leave at 4:59
  • Admit my mistakes and be honest with what I know and don't know
  • Focus on building real "relationships" with some of the people I work with to really get to know them, their families, their dreams
  • My actions should cause people to be drawn to me, be favorable, and trustworthy
  • I should be unique and model the gifts of the Spirit. If I'm not different, who cares?
  • Help those who are hurting
  • I can be candid and strong about roles, responsibilities, and vision
  • Bring peace in times of turmoil and uncertainty (Is this not true now more than ever?)
  • Ask, "What is the next right thing" inside (employees) and outside (clients) of my organization when facing decisions and areas where right and wrong may seem gray- be an example of integrity within my company
  • I fear no one or no thing. I can have a backbone and not worry what others think about me when it comes down to doing the right thing for people. I do need to be effective in how to communicate this however.
  • Choose love over lecture

What it isn't:

  • Being pulled into the negativity and gossip that exists in all organizations
  • Telling everyone around me what their problem is, what they need to fix about themselves, and that they're going to Hell
  • Pushing them to go to church when I don't know anything about them and have no relationship with them
  • Looking for manufacturing opportunities to share my faith... (speaking of Microsoft Word, have you met the real Word?)
  • Cheating clients and justifying it
  • Competing unfairly with co-workers, "shading the truth" when asked about their performance for my own personal gain
  • Weak, spineless, "I'm just going to take my ball and go home" mentality
  • Going around people and not following proper protocol. If you have a problem, tell the right person.
  • Being a virus in an organization, out-of-line with the company vision, and be a gossip (all in the name of doing the right thing)
  • Trying to convert people
  • Seeking martyrdom. Sidenote: I don't understand why people seek out persecution for their Faith (wearing Jesus pins, t-shirts, I love Jesus screensavers, etc) in clearly hostile work environments. Yes it's bold. But effective? I think not. There's a time a place isn't there?

People at my work generally know that I go to church and most know where, I don't hide it but I don't broadcast it either. If asked or if it comes up in conversation, I'm fine with sharing it. When in doubt, I default to "do" and "be". Do the right thing consistently and be a person that people want to know what's different about me.

If people find me approachable and want to ask me more, then maybe I'm being who I've been called to be. For me, this is the challenge and measure of success of living my Faith in the workplace. And if it never happens? Am I a failure for living with integrity, working hard, and trying to do the next right thing for all the people around me? I think not.

People are ALWAYS watching us, what are they seeing?

Oh...and if you love the T-shirt pictured, you can find it here...


janet schwind said...

That's great, Mark. You and Kem have been strong role models for me.

BillW said...

Wise words, Mark. And very practical. I tried to follow a similar creed as a Christian in the business world. Now that I am on staff at a church, I find your advice just as relevant, if not more so!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! This is probably the most 'real life' collection of thoughts I've read about this, ever. I'm on a church staff, but used to work elsewhere; my husband used to be on the same church staff, but is now working outside the church. This post sparked some great conversation. I've sent your words on to quite a few people, as I think we (the church... our church) don't often speak this concretely about what life looks like for most people 8...10...12 hours a day.

Thanks again.