This post is contributed by a worker in the ME.
You don’t have to let something slide for long before it becomes the new normal. Culture is what culture does. Culture isn’t what you intend it to be. It’s not what you hope or aspire for it to be. It’s what you do. So do better. – It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy At Work, page 147
I work in one of the most toxic work environments on the planet. Not a day goes by where people in my office aren’t complaining violently against some worthless task a manager made them do, or that another employee is incompetent, etc. As I struggle continuously not to join in (and I sometimes fail miserably!) with this complaintive and whiney culture, I have begun to realize that this type of work culture is something created by the enemy. Duh!
Since I live amongst a completely unreached people group, and traditional missionaries really have no way of getting here, the only witness amongst these precious people are workers like myself. Therefore, as Satan’s logic apparently goes, if he can create awful work environments across this region, he will eliminate many of God’s people from being effective who otherwise might be used by God to transform the lives of these unreached locals. Sadly, we see a lot of well-intentioned believers quit and go home because they can’t stand working here. One of Satan’s strategies of keeping the gospel at bay here seems to be working. Yet, what if it is the case that Satan has accidentally thrown us a bone? In other words, by making such a main backdrop of life so dirty and dull, the cleanness and brightness of the gospel will shine comparatively more brightly against it! If we can create a new sort of working environment that is based on biblical principles and treats people as humans, they will want to know why.
It stands, then, that work environments are one of the many things that need to be transformed by God. I certainly don’t seek to plant a church in spite of having to do business. I used to say that I seek to plant a church through doing business. But now I’m beginning to think I want to see a church planted within my business.
What if, by endurance and perseverance, those of us in B4T would patiently absorb the poisonousness of the working cultures we live in? What if, in the middle of a disgustingly toxic environment there exists a bright shining light of God’s grace and mercy? How many people will see this is the kind of “different” we are supposed to be? I think if we could get this down, we would see large scale transformation across the world. Since people generally spend 8+ hours per day in some form of work setting, the transformation of the workplace could bring about transformation of the hearts of those present.
The work place is a perfect environment for discipleship. It is an opportunity to show our new believers how to share their newfound faith in Jesus, as well as how to ask for forgiveness and treat people who have wronged us. We can go out for lunch, or tea or coffee, or simply take a break with them. They can see us study the Word in the morning and pray before we make major decisions. If we can work towards redeeming our work cultures, we will be creating the right conditions for the gospel to spread.