We ran a poll on this website between January and May of 2015 asking people about their experience with the Christian faith in the workplace. We received 591 complete responses and another 259 incomplete responses. If you were part of the survey, thank you for your input. You can read the first part of this series here.
Twenty-three non-Christians (40% of the 57 people who answered the question) had never been approached about the subject of faith by a co-worker. The actual question was “Has anyone ever approached you about their religion / faith in the workplace?”
Of the 34 people who said they weren’t a Christian but had been approached by someone about their religion / faith in the workplace, each was asked how they felt as a result of the interaction. The responses were free text, so we evaluated each answer to determine if we thought the responses were:
- Negative (16 or 47%),
- Neutral, (13 or 38%), or
- Positive (5 or 14.7%).
In an interesting contrast, for the people who 1) are Christian and 2) don’t work for a church or para-church organization, we asked them “Have you ever had the experience of talking about your faith with a coworker?” And we asked them to tell us what prompted the conversation, how it was received and what they thought they would do differently next time. Two key facts struck us from this question.
First of all, there were a wide variety of responses. Because the question was vague, the answers were varied. Some people talked about having been confronted by other Christians while others talked about telling a sick coworker they would pray for them. Still others talked about inviting coworkers to an event at their church.
The second key finding related to our impressions of the interactions. Four-hundred fifteen people answered the question. We classified the answers to the question “How was the conversation received?” into 5 groups:
- Positive – 316 (76.1%)
- Mixed – 45 (10.8%)
- Neutral – 31 (7.5%)
- Negative – 7 (1.7%)
- Unclear – 16 (3.9%)
There are differences in the questions between the Christians and the non-Christians, so the comparison isn’t “apples-for-apples.” Each person selected their own context. Some of the Christians were speaking with other Christians or they were answering questions. Most of the non-Christians were talking about an experience where someone else brought up the topic rather than themselves. Regardless, I’m struck that so many of the non-Christians responses were negative or neutral (85%) and so few of the responses by the Christians were (9%)
What jumps out at you? What questions seem to be unasked or unanswered by this survey? What would you change if you were running the survey? Please share your thoughts below. And watch for the third post in the series. Thanks.
These are interesting results! I am surprised perceptions of Christians and non-Christians differ so greatly, yet when I look back at how Christians often approached me (I was raised Hindu), it is not surprising. I hope these survey results lead churches to start conversations with congregation members on how to share the gospel (e.g. being sensitive to God timing – open doors, sharing the truth in love, etc.). Thanks for sharing the outcomes of the survey.
Thank you for the comment. Mike…