Who Am I As a Christian in the Workplace?

By: Art Klaum

For many in the business world, especially those in sales or service-oriented environments, initiating or opening lines of communication is a natural or critical component of doing business. Your “opening line” may be the key to getting the big deal or just having a chance to be in the running.

For some, communication does not come naturally like it does for many marketing or sales-oriented people. More than a year ago I lost my job and have been thrust into a new marketing role – one that I would not have chosen for myself.

Many of us have encountered major shifts in our roles in the workplace – even to the extent, like me, of being laid-off. It is in times or circumstances like these that we have the opportunity to see what we are made of – to discern our identity or consider what our marketplace purpose is. Who am I? What am I about? What is my purpose? What do I have to offer? As a Christian in commerce, I need to consider further what the Lord has in mind in using me in the marketplace.

If someone came up to you and asked you to tell them about yourself, what would you say? It is a very basic question and should be very easy to answer. However, for many, especially those who have not prayed or taken some time to consider it, we may be uncomfortable in answering this question.

I would have included myself if I had not had the opportunity to think and pray about this in the course of my own joblessness. I was let go after more than 25 years of increasingly responsible roles.

After experiencing and understanding the Lord’s role for me in the marketplace through CIC, I know he has a role for me in the building of his kingdom.

I recognize the business circumstances which led up to my being let go and that the Lord provides for my family and me. I know he has allowed this to happen and he is using it for many around me.

In the course of my “career transition” I was given the opportunity to consider how I would respond to the “identity” question. I think we are all familiar with the interviewing process. In any relationship, there is a discovery process – the period of finding out about a person, product, or service. If you ask a sales person who they are or what they are selling, they often have a carefully crafted script, frequently developed by a team of marketing or advertising people.

When you are selling a service or representing yourself to a prospective employer, there is a series of questions you better be ready to answer to land the deal or the job. It is often referred to as your “elevator speech.” In the context of a job search, it is a brief summary of who you are, what you have done, and what you are looking for in your next role. It is your opportunity to share your identity or branding that would benefit your client or next employer. A not-too-distant undercurrent about how you present yourself is your identity in the Lord.

As a Christian in commerce, I recognize God has invited me to build his kingdom in the marketplace. In a newsletter John Mooney, one of our founders, shared a key element of our identity: “I am a beloved son of the Father.”

Further, I am a brother of Jesus and a conduit of his Holy Spirit. Again, I need to know who I am in him in order to know who I am in the marketplace.