I wouldn’t consider myself “evangelistic” but two events in the last few months surprised me.
I have been an artist for Incedo at two of its events. Before Christmas it ran Trees at The Meteor (a local arts space) with artistic interpretation of the Christmas tree.
This was followed by a walk up the hill to Hamilton Cathedral. This walk passed story tellers who told sections of the Christmas story and inside the church there were performers with Christmas songs by a range of artists.
I invited a colleague and we chatted about the tree I was creating. Afterwards she said she had really enjoyed the experience (and my tree). This is intriguing because she is strongly anti-Christian. There is no way she would go to a church service, yet she appreciated being invited to this “Christian” event.
The second art event was Stations of the Cross – Art in the Hamilton Gardens. I was a station artist and on the organising collective. This story of Easter retold in New Zealand art has about 15 art spaces through the gardens that are set up every night and packed away during the day.
This year emailed invitations to my colleagues. Again, I was thanked by a colleague who isn’t a Christian. This has changed my perception of evangelism.
Surely our faith should be expressed in such a way that invitation to events comes naturally. The people you work with know you better than most, so your colleagues see the true expression of your faith.How to build a rapport with them? I would suggest:
• Don’t be weird. I talked to a number of Christian acquaintances who are involved in churches about how to define or explain “weird” Christians. We came up with the following: “Christian” is a sub-culture like surfies, computer geeks, boy racers etc. Once you have been integrated into the norms of this sub culture you are no longer aware of how different you are.
If you have ever been the only non-computer geek in a computer geek conversation, you will know how alienated you can become. The actions, jargon and words set you apart and creates a distance between you and others.
We may come across as “weird” when we push life into boxes. Christ is the answer to all things, but life is still extremely complicated and has many mysteries. There are no simple answers when a loved one falls sick, someone begins to question their spirituality, or pain strikes deep. We need to empathise.
• Cultivate relational skills. We should work hard to make sure our “externals” aren’t a stumbling block that hinders people from seeing our heart and faith.
• Excel at work: If you are unable to earn the respect of your co-workers for your work habits and competencies, maybe you should find other work you can be passionate about and excel at.
This doesn’t mean you have to be the absolute best, but it is about putting in a good day’s work, not gossiping and engaging in office politics. Maybe it is overlooking some spiteful words, or gently bringing correction where needed.
People you work with see the real you. So what “you” are they seeing?
• Inside out, up-side down is David Whyte's perspectives from no-man’s land