Activating Faith at Work (Chicago)

2017 Chicago Work as Worship Conference

We can fall into the trap of thinking we just have to act a certain way to share our faith at work. Jesus called us to be witnesses who make disciples of all nations—that includes the people we work with. Though they may see Christ in our actions, how will they know the truth if they don’t hear it? In this 33-minute session, Donnie Smith, former CEO of Tyson Foods, outlines key characteristics of Christian witness in the workplace and unpacks several practical ways we can practice our faith at work.

Donnie Smith is the former CEO of Tyson Foods. Donnie's contagious enthusiasm characterized his time at Tyson, influencing more than 110,000 Team Members. Appointed to his role in 2009, his passion was the hallmark of his tenure at the company, which he joined in 1980. He led Tyson Foods to be a company with a conscience, focused on feeding the world great, affordable food, while also making a positive difference in people's lives. 

Donnie pulled truth from Scripture to show how we, as Christians, are witnesses to Jesus and ministers of reconciliation tasked with making disciples. Donnie listed three characteristics of Christian witnesses in the workplace:
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Balance 

What does it mean to you to be a witness and minister of reconciliation? How do you view your calling to make disciples?
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When it comes to excellence, Donnie said that our work as Christians should be nothing short of excellent because it testifies to our witness. In what ways do you pursue excellence at work? How does your work impact your witness?
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Though important, excellent work is not our primary way of giving witness to Jesus at work. It does back up what we say about God, but it’s not our witness. How does this view of excellence challenge you? When have you been tempted to simply do good at work and hope that’s enough to witness for God?
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Another important aspect of our witness is integrity. What are some ways you’ve seen Christians display integrity in the workplace? How did their actions inspire you?
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Donnie said that work-life balance is a myth. We can’t achieve perfect balance, but we can rebalance our lives, much like a bank account. Donnie used his own life to explain how he and his wife prioritize, plan, and schedule their lives. What does your schedule look like? How do you prioritize certain activities over others? How is your family involved in the process?
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In order to live out our faith at work, we have to live intentionally. Donnie said to avoid:
  • Getting too busy and not abiding in Christ.
  • Switching it off after church on Sunday.
  • Being scared.

Which of these three do you relate to the most? What are some ways you could avoid falling into these traps at work?
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How has fear played a role in your witness? What are you most afraid of? How could a right view of God put your fears into perspective?
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Donnie gave practical examples of how to activate faith at work from his time at Tyson:
  • Pray intentionally with other Christian coworkers for the business.
  • Share faith stories at work.
  • Get the Bible involved.
  • Walk the walk.
  • Take every opportunity to talk about Jesus. 

Read through all the specific applications from Donnie’s talk. Which ones stand out to you the most? Why? What might it look like to apply those ideas to your life this week?
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Donnie closed by talking about the story of Esther. God ordered her story in order to save the entire kingdom of Israel—“for such a time as this.” How might your attitude change toward your work and your witness if you adopted the mentality that any day could be your “for such a time as this” moment?
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What is one thing you could do this week to witness at work? What step could you take toward putting that idea into action?
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As Donnie said, your work is a mission field. Jesus calls each of us to be His ministers, to share His gospel, and to make disciples for His glory. This week, pray the prayer Donnie used at the end of his talk. Ask God to give you the courage to boldly represent the Savior who gave His life for you. 

For more information on the Work as Worship Conference or how to attend next year's event, visit