Shut Up About Your Faith at Work?
Ray Edwards is a friend of mine. He is a recognized communications strategist and copywriter whose clients include the likes of Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (co-authors of Chicken Soup For the Soul), Jeff Walker (author of Launch), and many more. Marketing campaigns he has written or directed have generated an estimated $100 million in sales. He is someone I would say is excellent at what is good (developed to be one of the best in his field), innocent of evil (godly character) and WHAT GETS MY ATTENTION are his testimonies of God showing up on his behalf (see Romans 16:19). Ray writes this blog about his journey of refusing to be silent about his faith at work.
Some time ago I wrote a blog post about the true secret of my success in business – Jesus Christ. It’s one of the most popular posts on my blog. In that post, I explained that I would no longer separate my business life from my faith life.
I wrote another post about the 7 Mountains of Culture. It’s about how followers of Jesus should aspire to places of influence in those areas. Again, this is one of the most visited posts on my blog.
I feared that my blog and business would suffer as a result of this “mixing” of the sacred and the “secular”. That was not the case – the opposite was true. Those who did not want to hear about God went their way – they didn’t stick around.
But recently, my blog has grown in readership, and my podcast audience has blossomed. And a new wave of criticism against me has arisen. The basic message: “Ray, shut up about Jesus, and stick to writing about marketing and business.”
Sometimes these criticisms are “colorful”, and emotional. Even hateful. One person called me “an old, white, Jesus-y man in a suit”.
A “friend” in the online business world wrote about me, and called me “one of the prosperity gospel a—holes.” Attacks like this never cause me to reconsider my position. They are not based on reason, but rather on anger and bitterness. These people I pray for and immediately forgive.
Some of my critics are more reasonable. Their logic makes a certain amount of sense. These I consider. I have learned enough humility to be open to the possibility that my critics are right. I can learn from constructive criticism. Here are a couple of examples:
What about these criticisms (and others like them)? What about Christian brothers and sisters who have criticism for me? Some suggest that I could reach more people for Christ if I were more “covert” in my “ministry”. Are they right?
I don’t think so.
After careful consideration, I have decided to stick with my “faith forward” approach. Here are 3 reasons I do not hide my faith:
1. The Lord himself gave me this assignment. I’ve told my story elsewhere, so I won’t recount it here. I heard from God that he has enough “pastors in pulpits”. What he needs are more “ministers in the marketplace”. I’m assigned to empower believers and teach them to prosper with purpose. That mission has not changed.
2. My mission is not the mission of all Christian business people. There is a place for business people who are less “faith forward” or even “covert” believers. I don’t believe most believers should have the same kind of ministry as me. A friend once described what I do as “a ministry disguised as a business”. It may be more accurate to say I have a ministry that functions through the vehicle of my business.
3. My blog, podcast, and teachings appeal to nonbelievers, not just Christians. I believe this is because I don’t exclude anyone. I don’t mandate that my readers and listeners share my beliefs. I don’t try to change their minds. I am open about what I believe, and how it plays out in mybusiness – but I don’t condemn those with other beliefs who come under my tent. I love people, whether they are Christians or not. I don’t judge people who are different from me – even those who are on the opposite end of the belief spectrum. I want to help people with their businesses, regardless of their beliefs.
If you’re a Christian and an entrepreneur, I DON’T ASSUME YOU SHOULD HAVE THE SAME APPROACH AS ME. You should do what God is leading you to do.
So, if you’re hoping I’ll be less “Jesus-y”, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. That’s okay. Maybe I’m just not your “cup of tea”.
Question: Now that you’ve heard my rationale, what do you think? Have I reached the right conclusion? Or do you think I should shut up about Jesus?
Comment below or see comments on Ray’s blog by clicking here.