God designed us to be in community – in our neighborhoods, in our churches, and, yes, in our work. We need community at work as much as we do in any area of our lives – sometimes more so. Work puts a lot of demands on our minds, our time and our energy. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT) tells us “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Having a community of like-minded Christians is the best way to make sure we keep our priorities in line and keep our peace even when we’re in the midst of chaos.
While it may seem challenging to find people who are like-minded and committed to seeking God’s purpose for work, they are often right there – wanting the same thing you do, and not sure if they can find it at work. It’s easier than you might think to take that first step to creating community. Here are a few common questions, and answers from people like you who have been there and made it happen.
- How can I find other Christians at work with whom I can pray and discuss biblical principles?
“I try to be intentional about building relationships at work and talking to people about my church activities on the weekend. I’m intentional in my conversations to see where people’s interests lie and go from there. This approach has allowed me to gauge people’s interest in faith-based discussions. The ability to be authentic opens the door to hear what challenges they are facing. As a result, people have been open to my invitations.” – Kristina Distler, Sam’s Club
2. What if I invite people and there isn’t enough interest?
“It’s really not about the numbers. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it’s two people or 20 people. I ask the Lord to draw the people to the study who he wants there. I surrender it to the foot of the cross. I also ask the Lord to connect me to people who need to be part of the discussions. I have been part of several discussion groups. The first group was larger than we expected with 15 people. Other groups have been smaller, and I have found that smaller groups provide the opportunity for more intimacy and rich conversation.” – Kristina Distler, Sam’s Club
3. What should I do if people are from different denominations or even different faiths?
“We have had people at different places in their faith – some who were still trying to figure things out in terms of faith. We level set from the beginning, and acknowledge that we are all from different backgrounds. We create a safe place where everyone can feel comfortable. We honor confidentiality so they feel safe to share from their different perspectives. The key is that we are all there to learn from God’s Word. His Word is living and active. Even when people don’t speak up, we believe God is still working in their lives because we can trust that His Word does not return to Him void.”
– Kristina Distler, Sam’s Club
4. A lot of people in my office travel. How can I make a group work with everyone’s schedules?
“We tried to find a common day during lunch that accommodated the majority of people, and we have tried to use studies that don’t require participants to attend all sessions. I wanted people to be able to come as they could and still get a valuable experience, even for that one day. To that end, we have really enjoyed the Workmatters content, as it works with that framework.” – Michael Nicodemus, Senior Developer, Applications
5. Our offices are geographically dispersed. How can we include people when they are in different parts of the country?
“When our group expanded to our southern offices, it seemed like a simple phone conference would work for anyone who wanted to join. As time went on, we found that we were missing the visual connection of seeing people’s faces, so we shifted to video conferencing. Our company was very easy to work with in getting our own meeting set up using the company video conference system. This was the best experience for everyone. Being able to see the person giving their responses adds a valuable sense of closeness, even when you are hundreds of miles apart. Additionally, people can connect to the audio portion by phone if they are not able to join by video.”
– Michael Nicodemus, Senior Developer, Applications
Taking the initiative to create a community of Christians who want to support one another in pursuing God’s purpose for their work will not only benefit you, it will benefit your coworkers and the company overall. If you’ll just take a few small, bold steps of faith, it won’t be long before you have a small group of people who want to join you in discussing how biblical principles apply to your work. Then just watch the growth that occurs as you each invest in developing your leadership potential, and support each other to have a positive impact on your organization.
P.S. Workmatters wants to support you. We’ve created two resources you can download now to make it easy to get started: 1. Starting a Faith-based Discussion Group will give you additional tips on how to start a group in your company; 2. The 4-session study, Loving People at Work, provides material for four 30-minute discussions that walk you through what it looks like to “love your neighbor” at work.