Christ calls us to evangelize. But different situations require different methods of evangelization.
The workplace is a challenging setting, because there is far more diversity of beliefs and ideologies than there was in the past — at least in the U.S. and Europe. Plus, businesses love to promote unity among their employees, so bringing up a divisive topic such as religion is often frowned upon.
In the workplace, you have to walk a fine line between not being overzealous in your proselytizing and not feeling like you’re forced into silence.
Here are some tips for accomplishing this.
1. Don’t be afraid of ridicule
If you’re refusing to evangelize your co-workers because you’re afraid of looking stupid, well, get over it! Christ was routinely mocked for speaking the truth, and He said that his followers should expect no less: “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore, the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
It’s natural to want to be accepted and loved by those around us. But our first loyalty is to Christ. Rejoice if you’re ridiculed for His sake, because “your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12).
2. Determine whether it’s helpful to evangelize someone at that moment
Just because you’re called to evangelize doesn’t mean that every moment is a fitting time to share the truth. There are times when it’s just better to remain silent and pray for the person you want to reach.
For example, your co-worker may be in a really bad mood that day. You want to be careful about evangelizing them in a way that just makes them angrier. Or maybe you know the person is closed-minded and just won’t listen to you. Don’t force them to give ear to your message. Again, just pray for them.
3. Try the Socratic approach
If you’ve read any of Plato’s dialogues, you’ll notice that the character of Socrates rarely tells his listeners what to believe. Instead, he gently pulls the truth out of them by asking questions — in the process, he often reveals the flaws and prejudices in their own way of thinking.
Asking questions to get someone thinking about the Catholic faith is less confrontational than telling them what to believe. This is a great method to try on those who are more closed-minded to Catholicism.
But be careful: You don’t want to come off as a lawyer asking a bunch of “gotcha” questions. Instead, show genuine interest in the other person’s thoughts as well as in their spiritual well-being.
Ultimately, evangelization at work requires judgment calls made through prayer. It’s helpful to talk to a good spiritual director when dealing with challenging situations, such as when your career is on the line.
Above all, remember that heaven is your ultimate aim. We only work for a short spell during our time on earth. Focus on growing in the faith and sharing it with others, thereby storing up treasure in heaven that can never be taken from you by any co-worker, boss, or corporation.