In my previous post, I wrote about 5 reasons why Christian Workplace Groups (CWG) could fail.
While the risk of failure is real, I do believe that they are a key part of a kingdom strategy to influence the marketplace positively. Today I would like to talk about how you can start up a CWG in your office or area.
1. Prepare in prayer
This cannot be underestimated. Spend time in prayer sowing into the spiritual. Coupled with fasting, this becomes a strong foundation to begin your journey. We see this example in the bible, where before a major action or decision is needed, fasting and prayer paved the way.
We think of Queen Esther of how before she came before the king, asked her companions to fast for 3 days. In our terminology we would call them prayer partners. Or Daniel, how he spent three weeks in a Daniel fast as he sought the Lord for revelation.
I would encourage you, whether it is a 3 days Esther fast or 3 weeks Daniel fast, to have this as your starting point. For me it was a Daniel fast that confirmed the Lord’s direction for an evangelistic effort to start up in the marketplace in my area.
Some things you can specifically pray for:
- For those that God wants you to connect with to partner
- For divine favour in your office if it is for a work to start in your workplace
- For timing, the right strategy and the right focus of your platform
2. Start small
Our Lord Jesus reminded us that it only takes 2 or 3 (see Matt 18:20). Particularly if it’s a small group, it is a great opportunity to start with a clear focus, minimal administration and easier coordination. As a suggestion, start with just 15 minutes weekly meetings to come together to pray for your company. To help set up it, draw up some ground rules. For example, you can agree that everyone will take turns and pray out loud. This saves you from the sometimes awkward silences that come because no ones what to do. You can also set up a roster system and agree who leads each time you meet.
3. Desire to be a blessing
Jer 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
This verse is set in the context of the children of Israel being held in exile, away from their homelands, serving a foreign king. Yet the Lord instructed them to do two things: firstly to seek the welfare of the city and secondly to pray for it.
In our context, it means to have a desire to see our company and colleagues prosper. In our work, we need to consider how what we do at work needs to be a blessing.
It also means that we are called to intercede and pray for the company, for the management and for our colleagues and department.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV
Isn’t it interesting that the context of this well-known verse about God’s desire to see all men come to salvation is premised on the church praying for the government and those in authority. Why is this so?
I believe that an environment can become conducive for the sowing and reaping of the gospel when our prayers are to bless our government and business leaders. We often think that the gospel grows best in times of trouble or calamity but Paul tells us that he rather have that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life”.
Remember – we gather, to scatter!
4. Consider formal recognition
If yours is an internal CWG, you might want to pray about gaining formal acceptance from your management or HR to meet openly. Many companies have a Diversity & Inclusion policy that allows for employees to form employee-led groups around a particular interest or faith. For example, one bank in the U.K. has several faith-based employee-led networks within the company. In fact the U.K. has a marketplace ministry that desires to “encourage Christian Groups in the workplace to seek formal recognition as a staff network group”.
5. Work within your sphere
Is your group meant to be an internal company group or should you host a group that includes believers from other companies in your area?
I believe both are needed and it really depends on the needs of the area and the burden you carry. I’ve seen successful internal CWGs that have been going on for close to a decade! I’ve also attended a CWG in busy and beautiful Hong Kong where people would travel down from other offices to participate in this group. There are also occupationally-aligned groups such as a CWG for Lawyers in Singapore or for Accountants in Hong Kong.
6. Use social media to your advantage
Consider starting up a Facebook group or WhatsApp chat for your CWG. I personally prefer a Facebook group because it minimises the traffic to your already heavily used WhatsApp! Add trusted core group as moderators so they can add their contacts into the group. We started one in the Raffles Place area and already we have close to 100 people in it. Take comfort if it isn’t the most active of groups. I’ve found that while members may be silent, there are people who are reading. So be disciplined in not spamming but send only what is absolutely needed.
So here are 6 quick tips. My final encouragement to fix a period of prayer (perhaps 1 to 3 weeks) and to just go for it after that. Many fail to start because of the fear of failure or fear of opposition. But take encouragement from Joshua 1:9!