The Gospel-Centered Return to Work
As we begin to return to our workplaces following the unprecedented sheltering in place, we as believers should be gospel-minded in our conversations – now, more than ever, our interactions have the opportunity to lead to spiritual things.
It is often in times of adversity when God gets the attention of many and causes them to think of life and what awaits people after death. As believers, we often wonder how we may use times like these to open up discussions about spiritual matters. I hope to be of some help to you here.
Over the years, God has helped me learn how to use to start and pursue discussions about spiritual things in trying times. Here are quarantine-themed versions of some conversation starters I have used many times. I think one or more may be particularly effective to you as quarantines draw to a close and you return to work.
“I suppose one of the good things about this pandemic is that it caused me to pray more often and more seriously than I ever have. Did you have a similar experience, and is there anything I pray about for you?”
Not only does this reveal a transparency on your part, it lets them know you had an element of fear as well and invites them into the conversation. More importantly, it will give you something to pray about for your co-worker. You may think, “what if they get offended at my request?” I can tell you, that after 47 years of evangelism experience, I have very rarely come across the person who has refused prayer. I think you’ll find the same in your experience as well.
“This virus has been terrible – the closest it came to me is … (if you’re comfortable, provide an example of a friend, loved one or acquaintenance who has been seriously impacted). It reminded me how none of us know when our health might disappear or when death might strike. What do you think happens when our lives end?”
Use whatever examples are appropriate to your situation. Even if you did not personally know anyone who was seriously impacted or passed away, you can refer to someone you heard or read about. That could lead to a discussion of how each of us should prepare for our own death and how you have prepared for yours.
“While we have been sheltering in place, some friends of mine talked about how they feel all of this indicates that we are approaching the end times. Have you heard similar things? What do you think is down the line for us?”
This could lead to a very general discussion about what the end of the world looks like and how much thinking he or she has done about the future. It can be a great way to see and understand part of the worldview your co-worker is using to understand reality.
“When things like this pandemic strikes, I really hold tightly to Jesus’ statement that He has overcome the world. What thoughts or beliefs are helping you get through this time?”
The advantage of a question like this is that it allows you to get into a discussion of the person and work of Christ more directly should they be interested. And it allows you to understand a little more about what they currently believe and why they believe it.
“One of the things we missed the most during this pandemic was attending church because we have some great friends there. Do you attend a local church in the area?”
Church in general is often a good way to get into a discussion about spiritual things and the sheltering in place gives you a good reason to bring up the subject. If they say they don’t currenlty attend a church, a good follow up question can be, “do you have any interest in spiritual things?” They’ve already talked a bit about church, so they may open to reveal a bit more.
Remember, these starters are intended to ignite further conversations – which may happen over time, not all at one time or even in one month. Each conversation should be bathed in prayer that God will use it to open doors for more conversations, and hopefully to the gospel so that you might share the best news they have ever heard – “Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead.”
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