Many of us hold jobs in the marketplace. How have we lived out our marketplace call in where God has placed us? Lay leaders, Job Loei (JL) from The Harvest Force, Dwayne Lau (DL) from Eternal Life Assembly and Samuel Yeo (SY) from Zion Full Gospel Church, share their hearts on this topic.
1. How do you define being an “Influencer for God in the Marketplace”?
JL: As an influencer for God, first and foremost, we should not hide that weare Christian. People should know who we are. We are people who are not ashamed of the gospel. Instead, we are the light of the world that others may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).
Secondly, we should lead a transparent life. By that I mean that we do not lead co-workers to think that Christians live perfect lives. Rather, we too have struggles in life, but we do not succumb to these struggles because we have God’s help.
To be effective as an influencer of God, we should be adaptable to workplace culture. The workplace environment can be highly stressful and daunting. Adapting does not mean compromising our faith, but when we display spiritual integrity and remain a good testimony, we gain credibility to attract others to know God.
DL: Be relevant and sincere. We should evidently have faith inGod and not be ashamed of our beliefs and value system. We should not shy away from attributing praise and openly thanking God for His goodness and providence. Being an influencer of God, we should not judge others for their different beliefs or value systems. Most importantly, needs are met and sincere friendships are established.
It should be apparent to his or her friends that God is the one who inspires his or her daily living and choices. This may, in turn, pique their interest, leaving an avenue open for them to explore should they desire to know more and experience God in the same measure.
SY: If I could define it, it would mean to stand by principles and values inaccordance to God’s Word without any compromise. It’s always easier to be influenced by the world and “follow the crowd”, but it’s always an uphill task to be the “odd one out”.
Many times, being an influencer for God will cause us to swim against the tide. But that is what God has empowered us to be, the salt and light of the world. I see myself serving in ministry, not just within the compounds of the church, but my workplace as well.
2. In what ways, in your capacity, are you demonstrating this definition in your workplace?
JL: Before I introduce my co-workers to God, I introduce God to my work. To dothis, I pay attention to my work where I discharge my duties diligently “with all my heart” (Colossians 3:23).
On top of this, my character matters just as much. Character is not just who I am internally, it expresses itself outwardly in my attitude toward others. As such, my relationships with co-workers ought to be characterized by peace, love and joy. I must also be ready to speak about my faith to every person I have established a meaningful relationship with.
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But remember to do this with gentleness and respect.
DL: In all my bios in various program booklets, it always states clearly myinvolvement in church and the creative ministries. My colleagues are very aware that I love God and am active in church. I share about the ministries that I’m involved in and am open to offering a listening ear and even praying for them should they need any form of relief. I’ve established many deep friendships because of the love that God flows through me. There is no judgment in these friendships. I just focus on being relevant, honest and providing a lifeline to the people around me.
I’ve just finished a show, “Forbidden City” at the Esplanade. For those who were interested, we opened a prayer session in my dressing room before every show. We even had communion with a few other believers. Throughout the show, I’ve had believers and pre-believers come up to me to ask for prayer over various situations.
SY: In my work environment, profanity is the mother tongue. Everyone does itand you can be easily influenced by it. I had to continuously remind myself that I represent someone greater, and I’m His ambassador in this part of the world.
Also, I realized that to some of my peers, I might be the only accessible “gospel” that they would ever come close to. Living out for Jesus among a non-God-fearing crowd is therefore crucial. However, I see it as a great honor.
A practical way I handle the use of profanities is to challenge my colleagues to get by a day without using it. It is not a habit to get rid of overnight, but I encourage them by modeling a “pure speech” lifestyle. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to guide my speech and thoughts, and rely on Him to keep me in check always.
3. What are the challenges you have encountered or may still be encountering in becoming the “influencer” you want to be?
JL: There are critical aspects involved in maintaining good Christian testimonyand becoming an influence for God. We need to maintain spiritual integrity, stand out as authentic Christians and keep good standards of practice.
Due to the nature of the workplace, I find that we are vulnerable to allow busyness, and preoccupation with the affairs of the world, to dull our sensitivity toward the needs of others. People can be attracted to Christ by how we lead our lives in the workplace. As I mentioned earlier, we lead a transparent life. When others see us upholding good values, we have the potential to be of good influence to others. Conversely, when we fall short in our character, we can lose the potential to influence others in a good way.
In a corporate environment, we mingle with people of other faiths. Hence, we must be mindful to reach out to others in love. This includes being tactful yet intentional to engage in spiritual conversations that allow us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
DL: I guess with everything there will always be people who aren’t so receptiveof godly beliefs and the Christian value system. And with that I’ve to remember not to “hard sell” Christ in such situations. Rather, I should be genuine in the friendships as how Jesus was when He spent time talking to people, and let God do whatever He wants through these friendships.
It’s also very easy to fall into the world’s system of negativity, complaining and gossiping. And I’m no angel! But when I catch myself in such situations, I quickly take a step back, identify the wrong choices and attitudes to change, and then carry on. I’ve been blessed with fellow believers in the industry thathave been journeying along with me. We constantly encourage one another to be good testimonies for God.
SY: I was once singled out for being “too holy”, and for many years, I was oftenostracized for not participating in after-work activities that were held in entertainment places. I would be shouted at, teased and be at the receiving end of endless profanity. However, God had always been with me and I saw how He restored my reputation after a couple of years. More and more colleagues started to respect my firm stand on my beliefs and values. Several of them even asked how I managed to overcome this, as they are currently in the same position and are struggling to stay true to what they stand for. I’m thankful to God for my family and church community who always kept me in their prayers and stood by me during the toughest moments.
4. What do you envision our workplaces to be like if we all lived out our call to be “marketplace influencers”?
JL: It will change the corporate culture of the workplace. The atmospherewill be positive and energizing. It will be a community of love and care because co-workers will look into the interests of others more than their own benefits. Work ethics will be raised and improved practices can lead clients and stakeholders to notice the difference. As a result, they may be more inclined to partner with us.
DL: Possibly less conflict. Less highly strung and stressed co-workers. Happierfaces knowing that their lives are in the hands of an Almighty God who loves and cares. And that regardless of the challenges faced at the marketplace, all things work out for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes!
SY: To be honest, if all of us do our part, we would definitely see change in ourworkplaces. Our work environment would be governed with Christ-centered values and we would be able to fulfill our God-given call. Slowly but surely, the gospel would then reach all people groups and also to the ends of the earth. I truly yearn for that day to come.
5. Any practical tips you can share on how we can intentionally try to live out as “influencers” for God in the marketplace?
JL: It is said that people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. As such, when we relate with others in the marketplace, we should display compassion, mercy, kindness, attentiveness and gentleness. I believe that these are attributes that are attractive and life-giving. When the connection is made, we ought to practice wise communication. This means to know when and how we share our faith, as well as how to share it appropriately and in a timely manner. Our conversations should always be sincere and not purely mechanical. We can and should talk about our faith when asked.
Finally, seek out fellow Christians. Encourage and pray for one another. Look out for one another, share how we can bear witness for Christ and look for practical ways to reach out to co-workers in need.
DL: Be relevant. Be an active listener to the needs around you. Don’t be a salesperson and try to “hard sell” God. Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship we have with a living God, so help other people experience that relationship through our lives, our expressions and reactions. Learn to love first and judge later. Always be open to the Holy Spirit’s prompting on when to “move in” when people are more ready for a more in-depth sharing of the Word.
Be who you are, generous with your time, gifts and efforts, displaying the attributes of our generous and loving God. People can smell fake and over-enthusiastic Christians. And sometimes that can be a turn-off! Be the best version of yourself and let God do the rest of the work.
SY: Have an accountability (cell) group. It is extremely tough to do it alone asyou may unknowingly rely on your own personal strength, and sometimes, succumb to your environment. With an accountability group, you have a group of brothers and sisters who are covering you in prayers, as well as spiritual leaders who can advise you when you’re faced with circumstances that may challenge your stand as a believer.
About the Interviewees:
Job Loei (JL)
Job is a senior manager at the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), managing patient advocacy, rehabilitation and volunteers. For 16 years in NKF, he has devoted his career to renal health operations, management, leadership, community partnerships, new program developments and patient care enhancement. His portfolio also includes establishing programs for NKF’s 1,400 active volunteers to engage with patients regularly and meaningfully. Job is currently serving as an elder of The Harvest Force church. He also serves in worship and care group ministry.
Dwayne Lau (DL)
Dwayne heads the Drama Department at Eternal Life Assembly and is the resident coach of St Anthony’s Canossian Secondary Drama Club. Since graduating from The NUS Theatre Studies Program (Hon) in 2007, he has been actively involved in the theatre industry and has worked with many renowned theatre companies like Wildrice, The Necessary Stage and the Singapore Repertory Theatre. He also consults, writes and directs Easter and Christmas shows for various churches.
Samuel Yeo (SY)
Samuel is a Military Regular under the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and currently serves as an instructor on board the F-16D+. Driven by his passion to fly a fighter jet, God opened doors for him to do so, and this will be his 10th year in the RSAF. Brought up in a household where both his parents are pastors, Samuel continues his zeal for God by serving in Zion Full Gospel Church as a worship leader and drummer.