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WAYS: How do you carry your faith or practice being a disciple of Jesus Christ in your workplace?

 

September/October 2017

Several weeks prior to finishing each issue of Interpreter, we email a question to readers asking them to respond with a short answer of 50-75 words.

For this issue we asked, “How do you carry your faith or practice being a disciple of Jesus Christ in your workplace?”

You said …

At a Good Friday service in 2015, each person was given a hand-carved rooster as a reminder of how we should never deny Jesus Christ. I keep that rooster on my desk. Any guest sitting in front of me cannot avoid the rooster. Inevitably, new visitors will comment on the rooster. I share with them the story of Peter, his denial of Jesus Christ and how I joyfully welcome Christ into my life. It never ceases to amaze me how others are happy to find fellow believers at work. Doreen Bass, Mount Carmel UMC, Frederick, Maryland

I leave a Bible laying on my desk in plain view. Only if someone asks about it, I respond by using Q/A to talk with them. Questions like: “It’s an amazing book – would you agree?” “Do you read the Bible?” “Do you have a question?” I formed a prayer group with several co-workers using this approach. We meet for 10 minutes first thing in the morning. Lance Beebe, Huron (Ohio) UMC

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As an RN for 43 years I have had many opportunities. For 20 years I worked in a clinic, three or four other co-workers and I would get together in the morning for prayer to start our day. I had my keys on a lanyard that said “I Love Jesus” – many clients commented on that and often said “I do, too!” It opened up the door for discussion on our faith. I have prayed with patients and have had patients ask for me to pray for them. In healthcare situations, many people are scared and are more open to sharing and I have been blessed to be able to do that. Donna Bonney, Epworth UMC, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

As a recruiter and human resource manager, gentle witnessing and showing respect for applicants and employees affirmed the value of following a Christian path. My position was specifically jeopardized on more than one occasion when I made recommendations and hires that did not follow the norm. The hires that were "first" – women culture/color -- however brought a positive diversity to our workforce. For me, these successes and avoidance of a single incidence of discrimination were illustrations of the power and grace of God. Diana Braziel, First UMC, Houston, Texas

I am a para-educator. I work with children ages 5 to 11. I practice my religion by being as kind as possible to all children. You never know what is going on at home and a smile and a hug gives love and total acceptance to a child who may not hear a kind word or feel love there. I try to keep the thought in my mind that I may be the only ‘Jesus’ that that child may see today. Maria Brillante, Santa Clara (California) UMC

As a physician in a Catholic health care organization, there are several ways I put faith into practice. The culture is to begin all meetings with a “reflection.” I have offered the opening prayer at some of these gatherings. A few years ago, I organized a group of coworkers to study The Purpose Driven Life during Lent. On my visit-encounter form, I ask, “Would you like prayer today?” and have prayed with patients on occasion when requested. Cathy Bryant, St. Luke’s UMC, Indianapolis, Indiana

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Martha Cain, Carrollton-North Carrollton (Mississippi) UMC

I have started a prayer team in the office. We do it through email and many come to us for prayer support when then need it. Debbie Conterato, Baker Memorial UMC, St. Charles, Illinois

Instigated by our manager, every day everyone in the department gathers for a short “word of the day” which includes a couple of short scriptures. After the reading, there is a prayer for coworkers, especially those that are facing special challenges at home. We are daily reminded that we are a team and here to support each other, shore each other up, not to leave a coworker “hanging alone.” After, we shake hands or hug. The entire event lasts less than 10 minutes. It’s made a difference in our department spirit and individual attitudes. Luckily, we are a Christian-based organization that can “get away” with this practice. Although not everyone in the department is a professed Christian, they still seem to respect it/enjoy it. Kathleen Crawford, First UMC, Pineville, Louisiana

Living faith is not evangelism, it is living a life of love. In the workplace I remain open and vulnerable, sensitive to the needs of co-workers. I try to respond as appropriate to individual needs. Danny Davis, First UMC, Boca Raton, Florida

I am employed by the United States Postal Service. I am able to respond when customers “open” the subject of anything involving God. I do speak often with the rural carrier (who I know is also a Christian). I do have to be wise in my choices at work of whom I share with and witness to. Babe Dean, Kellerton UMC, Hazel, South Dakota

Know what you believe in and why you believe in Jesus, among other gods. Commit to in-depth Bible study in a group that emphasizes application and accountability for living out the faith of Christ. Deepen your relationships with coworkers, pray for yourself and coworkers, ask and wait for the Lord to provide an opportunity. Always listen with empathy and ask questions. Don't lecture or offer advice. If an individual doesn't believe in God, pray for them, and love them, but understand that their unbelief is a belief system among other belief systems, including Christianity. Advocate for the injustices you are passionate about. Put your faith in action and be proud of the good God gives you the privilege of joining him in accomplishing! Trust God to use whatever you say or do for good! Peggy Fenimore, Bethany UMC, Austin, Texas

As I work in the Reference Department in a library for a public institution, I come in contact with a very diverse population. In living out my Christian faith where I work, I try to treat our patrons and my co-workers like I want to be treated, which is to say to treat everyone with kindness and respect. Nancy Henthorne, Burns UMC, Dickson, Tennessee

As assistant administrator of a multi-county jail, I see inmates return throughout the years. We get to know the inmates through addiction, sickness, family tragedy and even their apprehension of being released. The inmates often say to me, when they return to jail, “I bet you are upset to see me again.” I tell them, “I’m actually relieved to see you. I know you are once again safe and we will take care of you.” Drew Hildebrand, First UMC, London, Ohio

I work on an industrial floor. Many think nothing of adding a few colorful words to each sentence. I try hard not to let any slip out and use acceptable terms in their place. I also am known for being thoughtful and helpful. I do my best to have the job that I am passing on to the next shift as set up for them as I can. I stick around long enough to explain what is going on with the job, what they can expect from it. I use empathy and listen to my co-workers. On the occasions that religion comes up in conversation, I will state my beliefs, but also show that I am open to hearing and learning about theirs. Debra Hoek, Faith UMC, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Over the years, this has become a natural part of my behavior. It an overflow of my heart and non-threating to others. I’m just sharing my own experiences and God’s grace in my life. William Howell, Coon Rapids (Iowa) UMC

As a Christian, I got the idea I am the love of Jesus Christ incarnated in this era to show the love of God around my family, workplace, neighborhood and all world. Bring the word with no acts is not working well or acting with no words too. Our testimony is a combination of acts, share spiritual experiences and the word of God in us. Practicing in this way will see how God can make miracle beyond of our faith in all people around us. The Rev. Manuel Islas, Nuevo Nacimiento (New Birth) UMC, Paterson, New Jersey

Pastor Roy has taught/preached to me ... in any conflict keep telling yourself "I am the Christian"..."I am the Christian." Will Jobbins, Stafford Springs First UMC, East Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Besides being a part-time pastor, I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom. I try to find joy in what I am doing, if it is laundry, dishes, cleaning or even taking out the trash. I want my children to have the peace that only God can give us. When I am out of the home dealing with the rest of the world, I do my best to show patience, peace, empathy and consideration for others. Jesus led by example while he was on the earth. The Rev. Amanda Keller, Norfolk (Arkansas) UMC

I am blessed with the opportunity to be the first contact sometimes when someone stops by the church. The church meets their needs with a gas card, or food and sometimes other forms of help. I occasionally have the chance to pray with them to meet their innermost needs. I am office staff, not a member, of this church but Christ is first when I meet someone. Helen Kemp, Sandy Mount UMC, Finksburg, Maryland

As a music instructor at our local community college, I am a state employee, and I am mindful of laws that prohibit pressuring students on faith matters. But my music making intersects with my faith life, so they do know where I attend church. I share that I'm also attending seminary, so it helps me understand their struggles as both instructor and student. And yes, there are times when I have prayed with a student, but we're outside of class, that person has confided a crisis to me, and I always ask permission, so the student feels respected. If they initiate the conversation, I will share with them – and I can always pray for them, if not with them. Heather Kinkennon, Lancaster (California) UMC

Today’s workplace is often moving at a hectic pace! Keep an eye on your coworkers, if you see someone struggling, reach out to them and lend a listening ear. Often they are hungry for someone to recognize their need, listen to their concern and if you can help, do so but if it is beyond your control offer to share their concern in prayer. Knowing someone and the Lord cares about you will lift both you and your coworker up! Gary Knepp, Eureka (Illinois) UMC

 I carry my faith and practice of being a disciple of Jesus Christ in my work place by constantly reading the Word of God, leading by example and relating well with my coworkers by respecting them. By being considerate and sensitive to other people's feelings and express my love by assisting those who need my help. Chenayi Kumuterera, UMC Head Office, Harare, Zimbabwe

I seek to be different but not overly "churchy". I think it's crucial to lead by example and conduct myself honestly in every situation, in a way that honors Christ and what I stand for. Actions speak louder than words. Greg Lee, McEachern Memorial UMC, Powder Springs, Georgia

There are a few things I do at work. First, I ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” I look for ways to make others’ workload lighter by answering their questions and sharing my knowledge. I keep some type of Christian symbol on my desk, such as a calendar with verses. I can get stressed and disappointed with my current management treatment. My sinful nature speaks unkindness through gossip. Another coworker and I take a break to pray to get back on track with the Holy Spirit's help. Jodi Meyers, Hope UMC, Hoagland, Indiana

I try to perform my work and deal with my co-workers and clients in a manner consistent with the greatest commandment. I don’t proselytize but I never try to do or say anything to conceal my faith. Lynn Moore, Christ UMC, Tulsa, Oklahoma

I carry out my faith by loving everyone that I come into contact, even people who are angry or frustrated. I do this by offering as best of service that I can and strive to serve them with a positive attitude just like Jesus. In times, of crisis, I pray for people. I pray for wisdom when making difficult decisions on how to use resources effectively. I strive to build community with the individuals I serve. Jacob Mosser, Prince of Peace UMC, Woodbridge, Virginia

I am a nurse. In my every day work, I strive to avoid joining in gossip and to derail it when I hear it. When others are being judgmental, I try to offer another perspective. When I encounter patients or peers in need, I give. And, most importantly, when a patient or family member is hurting, scared or ill, I ask if I can pray with them. I have never been turned down. Cindy Sadler, Caledonia (Missouri) UMC 

Always start the day with a prayer that everyone I see to show the love of Christ in a smile, a kind work and always grace love and respect. I have found very early on that God uses me as the thermostat in the work place. The work place can be the most important mission field to work daily. Take to heart all the quotes that you have heard, remember you may be the only Bible some people will ever read or when you share your testimony you may have to use words. Pamela Shaw, St. Andrew UMC, Borger, Texas

I often do my Bible study at lunch at my desk. People walking by see my Bible and whatever other resource I’m using. This sometimes prompts questions about what I’m studying and identifies me as a Christian. Gail Small, First UMC, Duluth, Georgia

Having faith in Jesus Christ is always connected to being deeply involved in the ministry with the poor. To be in the ministry with the poor is to re-empower the poor people and communities to attain a better life. We developed ministries with the poor as disciples of Jesus Christ in our workplace: Daily feeding ministry for the coastal slum and tribal malnourished children, provision of potable water for the poor, scholarship ministry for the poor but deserving schoolchildren. The Rev. Elpidio R. Tangunan Jr., Ozamiz City UMC, Philippines

Being ready to answer about the hope that's in me with specific answers and examples on why I believe. Dave Toburen, First UMC, Washington, Georgia

I have been able to implement devotional time and Bible Studies at my three work sites. I was the leader in the beginning but now other staff members lead. I also play guitar and share Christian music. Kathy Wade, Christ UMC, Moravia, New York

My faith actually carries me throughout the daily exercises of the pastorate. In doing ministry with people it is my faith that enables me to love all people, including some who do not know how to have even the minimal relationship with their pastor or even other folk in the Church. It is my faith that gives me courage to preach, marry, or bury the dead. Simply put, it is my faith that holds everything together! The Rev. Billy Weems, Aldersgate UMC, Dora, Alabama