Sharing the Gospel in the Workplace

Apologetics in the Workplace

By Phoenix Hayes

When the question, “How do we attempt Apologetics within the secular workplace?” came across my virtual desk, I thought to myself with a smirk, “Easy. Don’t.”

My reasoning, on the surface of things, is as follows: first—economics. In today’s cultural climate, why do anything that could identify yourself as an “other” and not the cool “other”? I’m talking about the lowest of the low… the “Christian other.” Secondly, I’d like to think we all have a silent agreement at the workplace. A mutual understanding that if the Muslim can keep quiet about their religion, and the same-sex couple two cubicles over can keep their small talk to work or what they’re binging on Netflix, we’ll all get along just fine.

Knowing that my knee-jerk answer was a total copout, I decided to dig a little deeper intellectually. So, let me pause for a moment and respond to the two arguments from the previous paragraph, and then we can move on to the main question at hand. After all, that was the old me, and in the 5 minutes it took to write these sentences, plus the bathroom break, I’d like to think I’ve grown a lot since then.

Economics. Let your job security rest on the excellent work ethic, creative thinking, and unique set of skills, no doubt, that you already bring to the workplace. Don’t let it rest on your fear of being found out. So, you’re a Christian? So, what? If your work yields better results than the rest of your department, people will put up with almost anything.

Keep quiet, and we’ll all get along just fine. The interesting problem with this argument is this: even if you’re not talking about it, chances are that you still know exactly who the Muslim, Jew, or Feminist is in your office. They may not be shoving it in your face, but there is enough information available for you to piece things together. Can they say the same about you?

Now back to the question at hand. How do we attempt Apologetics in the secular workplace? I’d employ what I call the A.P.E. method: Announce, Prepare, Expect.

Announce: For most, this is by far the scariest part of the process. You have to find subtle ways to reveal your secret identity. You’re a Christian. But there’s an art to this because you’re going to announce this piece of information without using those three obvious words: “I’m a Christian.” Why? Because nobody asked you, that’s why! The reason we do this is so that we can move on to the ‘P’ and ‘E’. After all, with no ‘A’ there is no A.P.E. And if you haven’t revealed what you are, no one will look to you if they need to talk about something theologically related.

There are a number of ways to do this. I like the idea of having something recognizably “Christian” on my desk. This may sound lame, but you can get some very creative, humorous office supplies out there these days. From quirky coffee mugs to stickers that promote your favorite ministries slapped on your laptop, even a small Bible if you’re feeling bold. Just find something that feels authentic to you but also makes a declaration to the world about who you worship.

Also, slip the ‘A’ into the conversation. If someone asks what you did on the weekend, whether they actually care or not, they’ve just given you an opening, so tell them! List the zoo, the grocery store, the visit to Grandma’s, oh yeah, and we went to church. There, done! Congratulations, you are now the “office Christian,” brace yourself.

Prepare: You’ve revealed your secret identity – hopefully in the least obnoxious way possible. Now, prepare yourself. If you’re bold enough to let people know that you’re a Christian, chances are, you’re also smart enough to know what you believe and why. Because if you haven’t put in the time to learn how to defend what you believe, you’ve just put yourself in the firing line for no good reason. Don’t be that Christian. Engage your heart, soul, and mind.

For general knowledge, look for good teaching that is easy to digest as you go about your daily tasks. For example, listen to a good audiobook or podcast on your commute to work. Read blog posts and books on your phone when you have a break. Reserve a couple of evenings to catch up on your favorite apologist’s YouTube videos. The content is out there, and you have easy access.

For a more strategic approach, keep your ears open around the workplace. Develop friendships with your coworkers. In time, people will reveal what questions they are wrestling with, even if they never say so directly. If someone is suffering, get ready to respond to tough questions like, “Why would a good God let so much evil happen?” If you work with someone in a same-sex relationship, be ready to respond to anything from, “Why does God hate gay people?” to issues around the “Love is love” slogan.

Expect: You’ve announced who you are, you’ve prepared, and now walk with an expectation that an opportunity, a question, a challenge or a combination of these will come your way. If someone in the office has had negative experiences with Christians, be ready to show them unconditional kindness. If someone in the office is going through something in their personal life (a bad relationship, a lost loved one), be available. And if there’s a skeptic in your office, expect your beliefs to be challenged at some point. It’ll probably be a playful jab, but be ready to deliver a thoughtful response because there are likely to be witnesses who will benefit from your words even more than the skeptic will.

When we live with an expectation, knowing that we’ve prepared (and ultimately all of this rests in God’s hands), we can walk with confidence, not fear, into the secular workplace.

One final thought: please don’t let yourself off the hook with the mindset that if we love people, work hard, and demonstrate Christlike character, people will somehow know that Jesus is the cause of it. They won’t. Even if they did, kindness and a good work ethic, though important, are not the Gospel. Action is most effective when accompanied by words and vice versa. Don’t be all talk, and don’t rely on your actions to say what only the Gospel can.

Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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