How to be an RUOK? Workplace Champion...or Chaplain
It’s almost RUOK? Day again (September 9). And perhaps this year more than others the day will take on a particular importance. For those states enduring long lockdowns, or uncertainty about when another lockdown may strike (actually, that’s pretty much all Australians!), more than other years people are less likely to not be OK...and perhaps more willing to admit it.
Which is why as a Christian I love the RUOK? Day movement. An initiative that encourages us to be a bit more vulnerable with our colleagues, and reach out to ensure that they are coping ok is to be commended. And why I hope this year especially Christians around the country take advantage of the rare opportunity this day provides.
Why is that? So often we’d love to go deeper in our conversations with colleagues, to the bigger questions of life and faith, but the normal culture of our workplaces discourages this. But RUOK? Day gives us permission to do just that! Indeed the official RUOK Day? website invites us to become “RUOK? Workplace Champions” by being the person who takes the initiative to plan activities for the day, and lead by example as a person who:
“Asks, Listens, Encourages Action, and Checks In”
This is of course all fairly common sense, and yet it is often counter-cultural behaviour in the workplace. It’s not ordinarily the environment where we are encouraged to open up and be vulnerable. But in light of the last 12-18 months, and the permission this day gives us, wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a movement of Christians across Australia being “Workplace Champions”, and leading the way in reaching out to ask personal questions of their colleagues (and being vulnerable in return). Who knows where such a conversation could go, but there is every possibility it could lead to us having the opportunity to give “the reason for the hope that we have” (1 Peter 3:15) in this season (while still being honest about our own struggles with it).
Because as well as sharing our hope, the Christian faith encourages us to be vulnerable, to share honestly our weaknesses. And it's as we do this that Christ's strength is seen more clearly in our clay-pot lives (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). We should be quick to "boast" to our colleagues about our weaknesses, because as we do Christ's power is able to be seen even more clearly in our lives (2 Corinthians 11:30, 12:1-10).
But let's not contain this kind of practice to RUOK Day? In his excellent course Sharing Jesus at Work, author and evangelist Dr Sam Chan encourages us to become not “Workplace Champions” but unofficial workplace chaplains. That is, become known as the person in your workplace who is safe to open up to about the deeper, and more challenging aspects of life which inevitably all come our way. We become this by being just the kind of person RUOK? Day encourages us to be - being someone who really asks our colleagues how they are going, genuinely listens, and remembers to follow up what they have shared with us at a later occasion. But we might add, that in light of genuinely asking, listening to, and following up our colleagues, we then also offer to pray for them.
So take the opportunity RUOK Day? provides to begin establishing yourself as your workplace’s unofficial chaplain. Make the most of the opportunity that the day gives us to ask our colleagues how they are really going. Be an RUOK Workplace Champion. But keep it going beyond the day as you seek to genuinely love your colleagues, enquire about them and listen to how they are going, follow them up, and so become your workplace’s unofficial chaplain.
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