on January 3, 2005
This is a very practical and extremely helpful book on being a witness in the workplace. Dr. Larimore is co-author of "The Saline Solution: Sharing Your Faith in Your Practice", a course that has been widely used in the medical profession to help doctors become effective witnesses in their practices.
The authors emphasize the need to focus on being a witness and not on "witnessing", quoting John Fischer in "Fearless Faith": "Salvation is God's thing and is out of our control. Saving people is God's part, ours is being a witness." The book places a healthy emphasis on relational evangelism, because, "We believe that the bubble has burst for an aggressive, non-relational approach to evangelism."
According to the authors, this book is based on four simple, but big, ideas:
1. "Evangelism is a process. The journey of faith takes place over the course of time as a person makes many small, incremental decisions that lead to the big decision of trusting and following Jesus."
2. "Our job in evangelism is to discover where God is already at work in a person's life and to join Him there, not to force a conversation or persuade someone to pray a prayer he or she may not be ready to pray."
3. "Being a person of spiritual influence is every Christian's calling, not just the responsibility of a gifted few."
4. "More so than the inside of a church building or a foreign mission, the workplace is the most strategic place of ministry for most Christians."
This is a very practical and pithy book, in part because the authors give a one-sentence summary at the end of each chapter. It should prove to be of immense help to anyone who is serious about being an effective witness in the workplace. It combines many of the principles in other helpful books and tools, such as "Living Proof", "The Insider" and "Becoming a Contagious Christian" and applies them to the workplace. I can recommend it highly.
on February 17, 2004
This book flies in the face of almost everything you've ever read or heard about evangelism. Going Public with Your Faith is written for all Christians who may not think they have a gift for evangelism but want their lives to have an impact on the people around them. It describes evangelism as a process and helps readers understand how their skills and God-given gifts can easily be used to draw customers, clients, and coworkers to new life in Jesus Christ.
How to take evangelism out of the religious box and weave it into your life at work
Going Public with Your Faith: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work flies in the face of almost everything you've ever read or heard about evangelism. Forget mechanical, aggressive styles of witnessing that treat evangelism as a one-time event. Real evangelism is a process. It's organic-a lot more like farming than selling.
In every part of the world, people are looking for spiritual answers and resources as never before. But you don't need to travel to some exotic foreign mission field to find hungry hearts. You spend hours every day in the most strategic place of impact in the world-your workplace.
Going Public With Your Faith offers a proven model for evangelism that respects the unique relationships you have with your coworkers, clients, or customers. It shows how you can be authentic instead of artificial when sharing what you believe, build trust with even the most skeptical person, and cultivate caring connections with those who have not yet come to a saving faith in Christ.
If you've ever wanted your life to count for the kingdom, "Going Public with Your Faith" will show you how your God-given gifts and talents can easily and naturally draw customers, clients, and coworkers to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
on January 28, 2005
I will not attempt a thorough review of the book. Here are a couple posts from my blog that I put up as our elder team was going through it:
First post: We are concerned for a greater external focus in our congregation. The chapter we read last pm is entitled: "Earning the Right to be Heard." Whereas many evangelistic texts or theories begin with an evaluation of the target audience, the authors are quite clear that evangelism begins with a change in our hearts. Since this book is focused on being a spiritual influence at work, the emphasis is on the kind of person we are at work. The author(s) note:
"Will rational arguments pacify negative emotions? Will preaching biblical exposition reduce anger or bitterness? Will persuasion penetrate a hard heart? Perhaps, but not as often as you may wish. However, a nonmanipulative relationship with you--where a non-Christian respects you and experiences love and acceptance--can plow thorugh even the hardest soil. The groundwork for this day-to-day ministry in the workplace always starts with the condition of our own hearts--not the hearts of our coworkers."
This chapter emphasizes five areas that require our utmost attention if we are going to build a trusting relationship in which we have the right to be heard:
1. competence: the pursuit of excellence in one's daily work
2. character: even if people hate what we believe, they will be attracted by Christ's character in us
3. consideration: how we treat people--authentic communication (free from gossip and criticism), careful listening that seeks understanding, and a life that exhibits grace
4. communication: wisely speaking the gospel to ready hearts, not ambushing the disinterested. Share your faith when it 1) arises out of relationships naturally built around your work with another person, 2) naturally fits into the topic of conversation, and 3) when you are asked
5. courage: "The desire for safety stands against every great and noble endeavor" (Tacitus)
Easily read, harder to live. Get a copy and read along.
Second post: Last night our elder team completed the fifth chapter in "Going Public with Your Faith" by Peel and Larimore (Zondervan, 2003). The chapter, entitled "Keep it Simple," emphasizes engaging in common courtesy in the work place versus adopting techniques and strategies in order to share one's faith.
The authors point out that scripture commands us "to be a witness," not to engage in "witnessing." The first viewpoint implies the results are up to God (we live the faith), the second that results are up to us (we try to convince others). The text quotes John Fischer (Fearless Faith): "When witnessing is a verb, it becomes something we do or don't do. We turn it on or we turn it off. It becomes a segment of the spiritual compartment of our lives, as in prayer, Bible study, going to church, and witnessing--a very small segment. It's something we are supposed to go out and do, and poor, unsuspecting non-Christians often have to bear the brunt of our spiritual obligation."
I came away with a couple observations: 1) this is a tremendous relief for believers who think they need to engage in a "gospel sharing" conversation in order to be an effective witness; and, 2) this is an incredible call to seamless Christian living at home and work--living that is genuine, deliberate, and committed to demonstrating our faith over the long haul of relationship building.
Here is a list of common courtesies the author's recommend:
-remember an employee's, customer's or client's name--and their spouses too
-remember an employee's, customer's or client's birthday or anniversary
-sincerely listening to the response when you ask someone, "How are you?"
-asking a fellow employee if you can get them something (coffee, etc)
-leaving a larger-than-expected tip for the waitress who regularly serves you
-helping a co-worker fix something at home
-sharing your knowledge with someone who needs it
-going out of your way to express appreciation to others
-asking meaningful questions about things important to others and then really listening to the response
These are small things, but they help build a relationship of trust. God may allow us to share out of that relationship our faith in Him.
on July 2, 2004
I LOVE this book!!! It should be shared with all Christians! Thank you
for relieving my guilt for not moving my co-workers to "ask me the right
questions." For years I have raised faith flags and told faith stories
but felt guilty that I couldn't seem to get to the gospel presentation
in one-on-one situations - oh, I given the quick overview in groups but
that hasn't borne fruit, that I have seen, anyway! Now I see that I
have been depending on and blaming myself too much. It is in God's
timing, not mine. I have been doing the right things. It is their
decision to ask me more.
on August 17, 2004
Just finished my first pass and have started through again. The authors know what they are about, having trained many physicians and dentists in ethical and effective methods. This respects the rights of others to refuse, but gives them a chance to listen too. This is not cheap shot evangelism or scalp taking, it's sincere building of friendships and relationships and it's about time somebody wrote this book.
on March 31, 2004
'Going Public with Your Faith' is a book worthy of it's title. The authors lay down the foundational principle concerning evangelism in a fresh and up-to-date way and then give practical steps toward effectively carrying out this commission in the workplace. I would recommend this book to anyone who - like me -struggles with how to appropriately and effectively take Jesus to work, and who - like me - has often felt guilt associated with the misunderstanding that 'secular work' is somehow inherently less noble than 'full-time ministry'.