Friday, February 02, 2007

Teaching The Salt and Light

This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at a retreat for DevPro, a group of Christian professionals working in India. Most of these people are associated with the Emmanuel Hospital Association but they are not limited to just medical work and have members with accounting, software development, teachers, social workers and people with other workplace skills. The purpose of the retreat was standard, spiritual refreshment as well as to hear reports from DePro members throughout the country.

Why did they invite me to speak at the retreat? I’m not a business guy; I’m a culture guy. But, as I continue to tell anyone who will listen, I believe EVERYBODY in every work environment needs a concentrated course in cross-cultural studies. Why? Because every social environment, where there are more than two people working, is a setting of communication; the larger the group in that workplace environment the greater the need is for cross-cultural studies.

In the secular marketplace, where Christian professionals are in the minority, to effectively be “salt and light,” it’s important to know how to communicate a witness that is both relevant as well as non-offensive (the Cross will always be offensive to some, but that doesn’t mean we should be). My goal for this retreat was to give some guiding principles to use in the situation God had placed them and to encourage them in their vital role in the Kingdom.

What I gained from our two days together was significant. I met some incredible people, some working in some very difficult situations. Many of these good folks are underpaid, understaffed and their work environment is stressful and often times lonely. To many unbelievers in the world, these do-gooders are perceived as foolish, setting aside good careers and retirement to work with the marginalized of society. As often is the case, the teacher was taught more than he taught, and I’m obviously the better for it.

To those interested, I encourage you to visit DevPro and Emmanuel Hospital websites.