Supporting Believers

Does your work require you to relate to co-workers, supervisors, clients, suppliers or others? If so, how many of them are believers?

The Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College admits that, “One of the most difficult things to establish about evangelicals is a precise estimate of just how many of them there are in the United States.” But in light of several surveys, the Institute says that “a general estimate of the nation's evangelical population could safely be said to average somewhere between 30-35% of the population, or about 100 million Americans.”

Christians not defining themselves as “evangelical” would swell this number. So if you live in the United States, you probably rub shoulders with other Christians in the course of your work. What responsibility, if any, do you as a believer have to those other Christians?

In Galatians 6:10 Paul says, Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers [literally, ‘household of faith'].”

Should we interpret the “household of faith” in a brand loyalty sort of way? In other words, does it mean I am to serve those believers who share my church brand, who belong to my denomination, who attend my local assembly? Or should we understand “those who belong to the family of believers” more inclusively? Am I to extend my support to the wider circle of Christians at work?

The brand loyalty understanding makes life less complicated. I'm more comfortable relating to people who share my traditions and interpretations. I understand them. They understand me. They're easier to spot. They and I are inside the same institutional church “box.”

But the household of faith extends far beyond those who wear my label. Seeing the household of faith requires me to view life from a kingdom-of-God (rather than an institutional-church) perspective. That requires me to think “outside the box.” 

Taking Galatians 6:10 from that kingdom viewpoint stretches our understanding of “as we have opportunity.” Whether my church directory lists 200 or 2,000 members, I'll have little or no contact with most of them during the week. That translates into little or no opportunity. But through my work, I'll probably have frequent contact with other members of the household of faith—and therefore many opportunities to serve them in love.

The kingdom outlook on Galatians 6:10 also adds a whole new dimension to the “one-anothering” called for in the New Testament. For example, how can believers “encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13) within the limited-contact context of the typical institutional church? But such daily support becomes possible given the frequent believer-to-believer contacts in the workplace.

Seeing and acting from the kingdom view opens our eyes to what some are calling “the church in the workplace.” Os Hillman, International Coalition of Workplace ministries, says: “The church in the workplace is the purest form of the body of Christ today due to its diversity.” He cites the Coca-Cola Christian Fellowship as one example. The Christian life at Coke used to be an individual walk, but now people feel freedom to identify themselves as Christians and minister to one another. The Church in the workplace is building unity at Coke.

Workplace Ministry