Witness: Word & Deed - Life@Work conference review
What do you think when you hear the words "workplace witness"? Guilt? Resignation? Delight? Many Christians express a desire for their colleagues to know Jesus, but just don't know how to bring the topic up. Many colleagues are either antagonistic towards the Christian faith, or more commonly, just plain disinterested. It was with this in mind that we addressed the issue of workplace witness at this year's annual conference.
The conference opened with an address from Andrew Laird, "The ultimate motivation for workplace witness". Andrew suggested that rather than techniques, a better understanding of our culture, or the testimony of others, what we most need to inspire and motivate us for workplace witness is a fresh experience of Jesus. To "taste and see" just how good He is. Andrew looked at Jesus in John 4, where He offers Himself to satisfy all our thirsts. And like the woman at the well in that account, Andrew encouraged us to remember that "Taste and see always leads to come and see". As we taste and see Jesus afresh, we can't help but tell others about Him.
Over dessert we then heard from Masterchef winner Kate Bracks, "An unlikely evangelist" (VIDEO COMING SOON). In an extended interview, Kate shared about her time on the reality TV show and the opportunities that she had to share her faith in what was a high-pressure work environment. She highlighted the importance of being authentic and saying what you really think, even if it is shaped by your Christian faith. For her that inevitably led to many conversations about Jesus.
The first night concluded with a very practical (and at times very funny) Q&A session considering some of the nitty gritty of work life as a Christian, with questions ranging from workplace witness to ethics to the evangelistic power of hospitality.
The second night opened with an address from Melbourne City Bible Forum director Robert Martin, "The one thing to change your workplace witness". Rob suggested that knowing who we are, aliens and strangers in this world, changes everything about our witness. We recognise that we are people who live differently, who live distinctly. In light of this, Rob considered 1 Peter 2:11-12, which teaches that our changed and transformed lives actually form a key part of our witness and can lead people to glorify Christ.
Over dessert we then had a performance from Melbourne rapper Peter Noble. Peter spoke about being arrested and facing jail time as a teenager, only to become a Christian and his whole life being transformed. He spoke honestly about the way that his changed life forms a key part of his ongoing witness today.
We then heard from Sam Chan (VIDEO COMING SOON), who spends most of his time working with City Bible Forum in Sydney. Sam addressed the topic "How to tell your colleagues about Jesus", suggesting five practical ways of creating opportunities to speak about Him. At times very funny, Sam also provided some fascinating insights into the culture we live in, and what that means for how we speak about our faith, namely the importance of hearing and telling stories.
The conference concluded with time spent in Industry Groups, networking with others as we discussed questions relating to the particular difficulties of witnessing in our respective professions. It was a great end to two nights which left many inspired and encouraged to live all the more for Jesus in their workplaces, prayerfully committing their daily witness to Him.
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