Christians in Pharmacy Newsletter - March 2016

Dear Friends, in our latest newsletter we report back on our meeting in London (27 February):

London Meeting

The meeting was attended by 8 people, including Michael Coveney from Transform Work UK.  Attendees covered a wide range of career backgrounds (MHRA, hospital pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry, academia, community/hospital locum and a CCG) and ages. Of these attendees, two were new attendees to any CiP meeting and the non-committee members were different individuals from those who had attended the previous meeting in October.  Several apologies were received, including from attendees from the previous meetings.  Following a welcome, the day started with a thought provoking presentation from Michael Coveney entitled, ‘How Christians can share their faith in the workplace’.  The major points of the talk are summarised in the attached paper. Michael illustrated these points with examples and stories of his own working life and experiences.

Michael’s talk was followed by personal accounts from Chik Kaw, Esther, David and Nicola about personal examples of where they have demonstrated Christian love in their pharmaceutical workplaces. We then broke into smaller groups to discuss Romans 12:9-21 and how we can proactively put it into practice in our workplaces. Also, we talked about some of the challenges we feel there may be in talking about our faith.

The morning session was followed by a good time networking over lunch.     CiP 2016 a

For the afternoon we turned to the ’business’ part of the meeting where various CiP matters were discussed. Simon introduced the session by quoting Hebrews 10:23- 25:  “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”  These verses encourage us that God has great things to accomplish through CiP. 

We then spent time considering how we can make the work of CiP better known. To facilitate this we undertook some exercises. First we shared together in pairs what the word “network” meant to us. We then individually plotted out our own network of pharmaceutical Christian contacts by drawing our own name in the centre of a piece of paper and adding around anyone we know who has a contact with the world of pharmacy including how we usually contact them (e.g. emails, Facebook, phone, face-to-face). Everyone was surprised by the number of contacts they already have.

Simon encouraged us to think of a SMART goal of how we can share the work of CiP with our own networks using a method that is appropriate to them. By this means many people can be contacted. Everyone present found this to be a fun and engaging exercise and felt able to identify a specific action they could take as a result. In contrast to the disclaimer that is often broadcast before a dangerous stunt – please DO try this at home!

CiP 2016 bWe then turned our thoughts to Christian and other organisations that we network with and any possibility of leveraging these contacts. A few specific ideas emerged particularly a) using our denominational channels and b) searching letters sent to pharmaceutical journals with a clearly Christian content to ‘target’ people who may have an interest in our work. When following up any contacts we need to provide them with a clear reason why they should join CiP. Other suggestions to raise the profile of CiP were a) to attend PLEA as a CiP delegate and b) to respond to GPhC consultations as CiP.

We also discussed the content of our meetings and it was agreed that in our current stage of development two meetings per year in London, one on a ‘professional’ topic and one on a ‘faith’ topic, was about right. There should be a clear statement of the purpose of each meeting and we should provide as much notice as possible of dates. Post-meeting suggestions were to a) consider setting a regular date (such as the 1st Saturday in March and October) to help CiP members in planning and b) consider a mid-week date for those who cannot make Saturdays due to family commitments. 

The afternoon finished with prayer during which we prayed for what we had discussed during the day, prayed for specific individual needs and received a picture of CiP being like the parable of the mustard seed, i.e. that although the beginnings might be small it would grow into a mighty tree that provided support for many groups of people.

 

What Next

  • The leadership team will continue to meet on a regular basis to develop the organisation. We are currently focussing on the suggestions above
  • Please keep us in your prayers and contribute your own thoughts and ideas by email, Facebook or Twitter
  • Please keep current events which affect our working lives in your prayers and use CiP as a place to discuss the implications of these

How Christians can share their faith in the workplace

CiP Meeting Notes, 27th February 2016

 
Witnessing is a lifestyle that reflects who we are, driven by God's love for a lost world.
 
WHY WITNESS?
The great commission:
 
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:6 - 1:8 ESV)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18 - 28:20 ESV)
 
  • Followers make followers, disciples make disciples - what's the difference?
  • Followers are ruled by the head, while disciples are motivated by the heart
  • The head counts the personal cost (what will happen to me if I don't obey God)
  • The heart doesn't and is focused on others not self (they are going to a lost eternity)
  • The heart drove Mother Theresa and William Booth. What drives us?
 
WHAT IS OUR LIFESTYLE?
We are all a combination of experiences, beliefs and future ambitions, made up from our view of work, home, and the church.  But which of those best defines who we are?   (It's like asking which of our features/attributes makes me, me!)
What we do on a Sunday no more defines us than what we do at work or in our spare time.
Jesus sees our lives as one - he fashioned us to be ourselves but in a close relationship with him.  
There is no sacred / secular divide - witnessing is simply living the life he gave us.  By doing this, people will ask us why we live like we do. (1 Peter 3:15) 

EFFECTIVE WITNESSING
Romans 12:9-21:
“ Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Your lifestyle, attitude to work, managers, customers, colleagues, response to unfair situations will speak far louder than your words!
 
WITNESSING: GETTING PRACTICAL
Remember:
  • People are not projects. They're people, created in the image of God, loved by Him, blinded by the devil.
  • To witness requires you to have a heart-led conversation about something where there is: 
    • a common interest (that may include an issue they are going through)
    • in a way that isn't weird (to them)
    •  that outlines a response 
    • focused on the God who loves them.
  • Jesus was always surrounded by people from the secular world because He lived a life that was relevant, and focused on others.
  • Jesus never condemned, moaned, considered anyone 'unworthy' (except for those who claimed to represent his Father).
  • For someone to take notice of you, they will need time to observe and build up trust in you
  • You are already doing it – by your attitude to work and the way you conduct yourselfStarting a conversation:
Jesus used everyday situations:
  • living a content life despite what may be going on around or to us
  • showing concern for an issue facing them
  • that's why we have hobbies! 
Once the conversation has started:
  • It has to be about them.
  • What do they feel, what do they think?
  • Listen - it's not a question of who is right or wrong.
  • Their opinion is there opinion, just as yours is!
Examples:
  • Identifying a workplace issue and doing something about it
  • Supporting the organisation’s adopted charity (or a local community cause)
  • Advising the organisation on things that may offend particular groups of customers
  • Setting up something related to a hobby (e.g. a walking group)
  • Getting people to talk on topics such as stress, budgeting, debt counselling, etc.

BARRIERS TO WITNESSING AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM 
The barriers are mainly in our heads! Most people don’t have a problem with God – they do with bigoted views and righteous people trying to ram their opinion down their throats!We fear what others may say or do to us
  • We believe that taking about God is illegal
  • We forget the role of the Holy Spirit in the other person’s life
  • ....

YOU CAN MAKE A BIGGER IMPACT BY WORKING WITH OTHERS  
At Transform Work UK, we believe the most effective way of witnessing at work is for Christians to get together to form Christian Workplace Groups whose focus is to bless the organisation!  To find out how to do this visit www.transformworkuk.org or ask for our booklet ‘Starting a Christian Workplace Group’.
 
 
SUMMARY
  • Witnessing is about living a non-judgmental lifestyle, that’s focused on blessing others.  
  • Remember that we are first and foremost God’s ambassadors. 
  • Disciples are those that have given their lives to Him. 
  • All of it – our money, resources, time, future and ambition. 
  • God requires us to conduct our work as if we were working directly for Him.  
  • Start living out Romans 12:9-21  
  • Find out who else is a Christian where you work.