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WITNESS@WORK

Witness@Work is designed to help Christians improve their witness at work.

“I think the contagious ingredient of the seminar is its practical aspect: it challenges your views of discussing your beliefs with others … The seminar is fast paced, challenging and concludes with a mini adventure – a real growth opportunity not to be missed. Every believer should attend this seminar at least once!” – MP, Marketing Manager.

If this course were a car, it would be fizzing with features:

  • begins with resurrection (as per the apostles)? Check.
  • draws on (though simplifies) academic biblical studies and theology? Check.
  • addresses both our relationship with God and our relationship with each other? Check.

RESURRECTION

The course begins with the resurrection. Paul writes,

[12] But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? [13] If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. [14] And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith [1 Corinthians 15].

The resurrection demands a response. So we can respond by preparing the world for resurrection. We can prepare the world by adding worth to it.* We can add worth by inviting worthiness. And we can invite worthiness by telling people about Jesus.

THEOLOGY

But we can tell people about Jesus in more than one way. So Witness@Work employs three different “Gospel” outlines. (You can see these here.) Each outline reflects – but reframes – one of the three atonement types identified by Gustav Aulen.**

Type Outline Content
“Classic” A Life Worth Living Sin is the enslaving power of our idols, which Jesus disarms on the cross
“Objective” No Place Like Home Sin has consequences (known as “wrath” or “Exile”), from which God rescues us (Exodus)
“Subjective” St Anger Sin is a state of separation from God, which the Holy Spirit heals, because Jesus is the mould for our relationship with God

So Jesus:

  • disarms the power of sin;
  • deals with the consequences of sin; and
  • sends the Holy Spirit to heal us from our sin.***

RELATIONSHIPS

Furthermore, these outlines teach that our relationship with Jesus is not one thing, and our relationship with other people a matter for later discipleship; for example: A Life Worth Living lays a foundation upon which systemic sin, such as racism, can be engaged; and St Anger breaks down God’s forgiveness of us in a way that shows us how to forgive one another.

The course exists in both 9 x 30-minute sessions and 3 x 4-hour seminars. The 9 x 30-minute sessions are:

  1. The Resurrection;
  2. The Cross;
  3. The Holy Spirit;
  4. Outline I: A Life Worth Living;
  5. Outline II: No Place Like Home;
  6. Outline III: St Anger;
  7. Our Story;
  8. Our Workplace; and
  9. Our Answers.

Each 3 x 4-hour seminar has its own format:

Format A Format B Format C
Resurrection Cross Holy Spirit
A Life Worth Living No Place Like Home St Anger
Our Stories Our Workplaces Our Answers

The 4-hour seminars also include an opportunity for immersive learning. Learning to witness is a little like learning a new language.

First, it’s important to keep learning however good we are. We can always improve. The same goes for witness. That’s why we host three versions of the seminar, each with different content.

Second, it’s important to practice by doing. So the 4-hour sessions include a non-obligatory opportunity to do just that. There’s no substitute for immersive learning – but nor is there pressure for anyone to immerse themselves either. (For those who do, the more experienced are paired with the less experienced. And participants often find that it rubs off during the working week, when they find themselves falling into conversations about Jesus.)

* When worth is found in God, it is found to give worth out. By giving worth out, we are adding worth to the world. We turn grapes into wine; grain into bread; wilderness into garden [Genesis 1:28; 2:15]; finances into spreadsheets; grief into growth, etc. By giving worth out, we are also giving worth back to God. ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for … the least of these … you did for me’ [Matthew 25:40; Colossians 3:23-24]. And as worth is passed round like a parcel, from God to the world and back, the world becomes presentable to God. Our parcels will only be unwrapped at the resurrection, when their true worth will be revealed. ‘Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven … There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed’ [Matthew 6:20; 10:26]. Perhaps Revelation 21:24 – ‘the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it [the new creation]’ – alludes to this. (Remember, this does not save us: Jesus does. But we are called to more than being saved. Conversely, we are called to more than saving others. We are called to more than telling them about Jesus. We are called to prepare this world for the next.)
** Gustav Aulen, Christus Victor: An Historical Study of The Three Main Types of The Idea of the Atonement (London: SPCK, 1970); see also John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Leicester: IVP, 1989), 228f. Of course, there may be other ways of dividing up how we understand atonement, and we may not describe them as “types”; for example: Colin Gunton prefers to talk of metaphors, and Stephen Burnhope of how these metaphors represent different “functions” of the covenant [Colin E. Gunton, The Actuality of the Atonement: A Study of Metaphor, Rationality, and the Christian Tradition (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988); Stephen Burnhope, Atonement and the New Perspective: The God of Israel, Covenant, and the Cross (Eugene: Pickwick, 2018)]. Burnhope thus highlights the importance of anchoring atonement in – and not abstracting atonement from – Hebrew Scripture. So Witness@Work begins by tracing God’s promises to Abraham in the first chapters of Acts: the resurrection blesses us with the Holy Spirit, who guarantees God’s promise to bless the nations.
*** These reflect God’s covenantal promises to: fight for his people [Deuteronomy 20:1-4]; rescue his people [Deuteronomy 30:3-5]; and transform his people [Deuteronomy 30:6].