SHARING FAITH & This can fix churchgoers ‘total lack of confidence’ in speaking about faith: #Waypoint5, #Waypoint6 & #Waypoint7 …

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Growing in faith for most is a journey. And, the important parts of that journey may be when a person begins to perceive the uniqueness and expectations of Jesus’ Good News.

Customarily it is His followers (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, 2 Peter 3:9, Luke 8:39) who should be prepared to share His Good News with their friends, as Peter reminds us:

Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. 1 Peter 3:15-18

To help His followers understand each elements of faith, I dedicated three chapters in my book Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey.

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Spiritual Waypoints [104KB]

Those chapters can be accessed and read online here:

Or download the chapter here (and be sure to support the publisher and the author by purchasing a copy if you enjoy it): BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT Spiritual Waypoints 10, 9, 8 & 7

Below is an article that reminds us that being able to clearly and helpfully share our faith is critical.

Anglicans churchgoers have ‘total lack of confidence’ in speaking about faith

Christian Today staff writer

… The report from the Church’s Evangelism Task Group and Evangelism and Discipleship Team highlights research showing that while 70 per cent of churchgoers could think of someone they could invite to church, between 85 and 90 per cent of these said they had no intention of doing so.

‘The problem was not the worshipper’s local church but the main issue the research highlighted was a total lack of confidence in talking about faith at all and with anyone,’ the report says.

However, it says, ‘small behavioural changes’ from the 1 million Anglican churchgoers could make a huge difference.

‘If one additional person in 50 from our regular attenders invited someone to a church event and subsequently they started attending it would totally reverse our present decline. Nationally the church would grow by 16,000 people per year, offsetting the current net loss of 14,000,’ the report argues.

It commends the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer initiative and calls for the development of a ‘culture of invitation’ across dioceses with a view to encouraging churchgoers to invite people to events. It also calls for 1,000 new evangelists to be engaged by 2025, saying: ‘we believe having more evangelists in dioceses and local churches encourages more of the million to do their part in witnessing confidently in their lives’.

Read more at …

SHARING THE GOOD NEWS & Univ. of Illinois researcher finds the best person to share it is a friend, who listens.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Flavil Yeakley, a colleague and former PhD graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, studied factors that contribute to people accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Not surprisingly, he found that a friend, who listens is the most effective carrier of the Good News. He also found that sharing the Good News follows a “process” model. For more on this see the review by Dr. Kwasi Kena of my book, Review of “Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey”.

Here are Dr. Yeakley’s words:

SPIRITUAL TRAMSFORMATION & Christians more intentional, but less likly to share the message of the Good News since 1993.

by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 5/1

… According to a new study from Barna, compared to 25 years ago, Christians today say they try to be more intentional about sharing their faith, but fewer say evangelism is the responsibility of every believer.

In 1993, 9 in 10 Christians (89 percent) who had shared their faith said every Christian has a responsibility to share their faith. Today, only two-thirds (64 percent) of Christians who had a conversation about faith agree—a 25-point drop.

When asked about how they share their faith, modern Christians are more likely to stick to a set formula or certain strategy than were Christians in the early ’90s. More than 4 in 10 Christians in 2018 (44 percent) say they use the same basic approach each time they have an evangelistic conversation, compared with 33 percent in 1993.

The most common approaches today are asking questions about the other person’s beliefs and experiences (70 percent) and sharing their faith through their lifestyle (65 percent).

Those methods were common a quarter of a century ago as well, with 74 percent saying they ask questions and 77 percent saying they share with their lifestyle rather than their words.

The most common method in 1993, however, has since fallen out of favor. Almost 8 in 10 of Christians who had a conversation about faith (78 percent) said then they spoke about the benefits of accepting Jesus. Today, only 50 percent do that.

Read more at …

SHARING FAITH & A case can be made for bringing religion into the workplace, experts say

Separation of Church and Cubicle: Religion in the Workplace,

University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, 4/30/15,

Where to Draw the Line

… There is a case to be made for bringing religion into the workplace, experts say. Religion makes people happier, and happier means more productive. Employees who are permitted to discuss religion openly at work report having higher job-satisfaction levels, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

The study, “Applying Models of Employee Identity Management Across Cultures: Christianity in the USA and South Korea,” was authored by Simon Fraser University professor Brent Lyons, University of Maryland professor Jennifer Wessel, University of Hawaii, Manoa, professor Sonia Ghumman, Michigan State University professor Ann Marie Ryan and Kansas State University doctoral student Sooyeol Kim.

Employees who are permitted to discuss religion openly at work report having higher job-satisfaction levels, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

The study looked at a sampling of workers who identified as Christian, and found that pressure to conform and reduce self-expression had a distancing effect on workplace dynamics. “Engagement in distancing strategies relates to negative outcomes in both the [U.S.] and South Korea, including increased turnover intentions and reduced job satisfaction and well-being,” the researchers noted. They advised that managers should foster a tolerant environment that allows workers to “affirm” their religion.
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But what happens when one employee’s increase in happiness means another’s discontent? Is proselytizing just a form of self-expression? “People are more inclined to bring their whole selves to work,” says Stewart Friedman, director of Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project. “It’s about family; it’s about who you are as a person. The problem with some religions is that they can be divisive, and so where it seems to me to make sense to draw the line is if you are professing your religious beliefs and that causes harm to other people. That’s a problem.”

Workers did not arrive at this place entirely on their own. One workplace trend has specifically encouraged them to bring their personality to work — the push for authenticity. “I am really troubled by the simplicity of bringing your whole self to work,” says Rothbard. “The fact of the matter is, it is difficult and complex to bring your whole self to work, and people who do it successfully are doing it carefully.”

Smooth integration of religion into the workplace is a fairly limited phenomenon, says Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics Amy Sepinwall. One example is the small business — say, a kosher butcher, where everyone is the same religion and no employee needs special permission to take off on the Sabbath. Here, “there can be a great sense of comfort or ease for the employees as well as management,” says Sepinwall. The other format that works is when an employer of a more heterogeneous workforce holds prayer meetings or religious events, but does not compel anyone to attend. “All of that is to say that I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to have religious practice in the workplace,” she notes. “But I could see that it could become alienating if the practice is enforced.”

Read more at …

SHARING FAITH & Study finds that employees who are open about religion are happier

Commentary from Dr. Whitesel; “This research article published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior indicates that people who share their faith at work, are happier than those who try to keep their faith to themselves. Read more of this interesting research below.”

Study finds that employees who are open about religion are happier

By the editors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 12/17/14

MANHATTAN, KANSAS — It may be beneficial for employers to not only encourage office Christmas parties but also celebrate holidays and festivals from a variety of religions, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Sooyeol Kim, doctoral student in psychological sciences, was involved in a collaborative study that found that employees who openly discuss their religious beliefs at work are often happier and have higher job satisfaction than those employees who do not.

“For many people, religion is the core of their lives,” Kim said. “Being able to express important aspects of one’s life can influence work-related issues, such as job satisfaction, work performance or engagement. It can be beneficial for organizations to have a climate that is welcoming to every religion and culture.”

Kim said employers might even want to consider a religion-friendly policy or find ways to encourage religious expression. For example, organizations could have an office Christmas party, but also could celebrate and recognize other religious holidays and dates, such as Hanukkah, Ramadan or Buddhist holidays.

Kim has studied organizational psychology and is a co-author on a Journal of Organizational Behavior article, “Applying models of employee identity management across cultures: Christianity in the USA and South Korea.”

Other co-authors on the study include Brent Lyons, assistant professor of management and organization studies at Simon Fraser University; Jennifer Wessel, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Maryland; Sonia Ghumman, assistant professor of management at the University of Hawaii, Manoa; and Ann Marie Ryan, professor of psychology at Michigan State University.

For the cross-cultural study, the researchers surveyed nearly 600 working adults from a variety of industries — including education and finance — in the U.S. and South Korea. The surveyed employees were all Christian, but identified with a variety of denominations, including Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist, among others.

The researchers asked participants how important religion was to them and how it helped to shape their identity.

Results showed that employees who valued religion as a core part of their lives were more likely to disclose their religion in the workplace. Employees who felt pressure to assimilate in the workplace were less likely to disclose their religious identity, Kim said.

But most significantly, the researchers found that the employees who disclosed their religion in the workplace had several positive outcomes, including higher job satisfaction and higher perceived well-being.

“Disclosing your religion can be beneficial for employees and individual well-being,” Kim said. “When you try to hide your identity, you have to pretend or you have to lie to others, which can be stressful and negatively impact how you build relationships with co-workers.”

Kim said there are several ways employees can share their religion in the workplace. Employees might decorate their desk with a religious object, such as a cross or a calendar. They also may share stories or information about their religious beliefs during conversation, such as describing a church-related event.

The researchers found no major differences between the U.S. and Korean samples. They also found no major differences between industries, but Kim said that an organization’s culture also might play a role in determining if employees disclose their religion…

Read more at …