Excerpt from 'Workship': a faith crisis at work

There I was, the opportunity of a lifetime! I was offered my dream job: television reporter for a brand new regional station on the south coast of Sydney. All the university study, the freelance work, the hospitality jobs to help pay the bills, the hundreds of applications… Finally, it all paid off.
I was pretty green as a reporter. Most of what I had learnt was in a lecture room. I had managed to get several stories published, and worked in several radio stations, but the demands of TV reporting were completely different.

There was the difficulty of putting a complex story into a two-minute story, the pressure to come up with 3–4 stories a day, and the difficulty of having to work with others. Then there was the culture of the newsroom. All the stress led to a work culture that was defined by heavy alcohol drinking, lots of swearing and coarse joking to let off steam, and a lot of competition and conflict.
As a young Christian, this was a difficult environment to work in. I felt very underprepared. What was a faith response to this alien world of work?

  • Some Christians told me to be good, not to be impacted by what I saw or heard or experienced.
  • Some told me to look for any opportunity to share the Gospel.
  • Some told me my duty was to use my position to do stories about Christians or the church.
  • Some told me to keep my head down and pray.
  • Some told me that faith was only for Sundays.

I tried to get my pastor to help me, but he had difficulty understanding or engaging with my world of work. The teaching on Sunday was about spiritual matters rather than everyday issues. The application was usually confined to four options: pray more, read my Bible more, evangelise more, and/or do more things at church.
In my heart I knew this was unsustainable. It felt like a double-life, and it was impacting on my relationship with God, and with others.
I was living a life that was not integrating faith and work. I was dis-integrating!
I had to learn how to combine my faith and my working; to put my faith to work, and to work at my faith.

I had to learn how to worship God through my work.
(From the Preface of *Workship*)