I've had the privilege of running the BBC Christian Fellowship, or CF, at Television Centre in London for the past two years. I’ve come to realise how important it is for Christians who work in a secular place, to meet regularly and spend time with one another in God’s presence. Gathering together week after week to share what’s going on in our lives and praying with each another, is vital to my walk with God…
As the only Christian in my office, sometimes I feel isolated. Knowing that there are other Christians in the same building who are just an email or phone call away who may be feeling the same way, is great! The CF doesn't replace church or a home group - it simply supplements them and provides extra nourishment for the soul. Our CF comprises of Christians from various backgrounds, denominations and different parts of the BBC. Given that so many of us spend most of our time at work, why not create a space once a week to fellowship with other Christian brothers and sisters in the vicinity?
How do I set up a CF?
Firstly, pray! Hopefully there’ll be at least one other Christian at work who will help you set it up. Even if there’s only two of you to begin with, you’ve successfully started a fellowship!
When and where should we meet?
We are fortunate enough to use a quiet room every week. If you don’t have access to an empty office, maybe there’s a café or bar nearby which could suffice. In the summer, we meet outside which makes a pleasant change. Our CF tends to meet on a Wednesday over lunch but an early meeting before work over breakfast might work better for your group.
How should we use our time?
A typical CF usually meets for an hour. We divide our time into three sections; 20 minutes eating and catching up, 20 minutes exploring and discussing various material and 20 minutes praying for each other.
What resources should we use?
We either tend to look at something topical from a Christian perspective in conjunction with some relevant Bible verses, or we focus on other pre-prepared material. I highly recommend the following;
http://godatwork.org.uk/course by Ken Costa
http://www.eauk.org/fnt/ ‘Friday Night Theology’ by the Evangelical Alliance
http://www.christiantoday.co.uk/ is full of topical Christian news stories
Sometimes we explore themes throughout the year such as angels at Christmas or The Beatitudes during Lent or there are weeks where we simply just share our favourite Bible verses…the possibilities are endless.
Why not book a guest speaker, especially if your launching your first ever CF? Our Liz from theMediaNet has taken part in ours and we’ve also used people from http://www.artisaninitiatives.org/
Who should lead the CF?
As leader of the BBC TVC CF, my main tasks each week are ensuring we have a room booked to meet, emailing eveyone the details and keeping members’ contacts up to date. As the group grows, it’s great to delegate the weekly role of sourcing material and leading the discussions to other members. I try and encourage each member to contribute so it’s not just me every week!
What difference can CF make at work?
My colleagues who aren’t Christians know about my faith. The CF has been a great conversation starter about Christianity. My boss is intrigued by my involvement and has asked me many times what we’ve been discussing. Once he noticed the words, “John 3:16” on a banner in the film, Jerry Maguire, and Googled it. We chatted about it and he even suggested that I should use our conversation for CF’s discussion that week – so I did! We then prayed about my boss and for more opportunities to witness to him in future. CF is a real blessing – even to people who don’t even go!
How can I grow the group?
Pray and spread the word about CF. At the BBC, our CF has its own page on the intranet site with useful information and contacts. If this is not possible at your organisation, try getting some publicity in an internal staff magazine or stick a poster on the staff notice board. By far the best way is word of mouth. Seek out and make connections with other Christians in the workplace and invite them to join you.
If you’ve just started a CF and your group is very small or your numbers have dwindled over time, don’t lose heart! I strongly encourage you to keep going, keep praying and keep trusting God. When I first joined my CF, the main prayer was for more men to join us. Over time, our prayer has been answered to the extent of men outnumbering women – some weeks it feels like a men’s meeting! 90% men and 10% women for a Christian gathering is fairly unusual, given that many groups complain about having too many women and not enough men! Just keep on inviting people and praying for growth.
What if there’s conflict among the group?
It’s not uncommon for Christians in a CF to be from completely different denominations and naturally there are differences of opinion. Every member of the group should be able to relate to every topic or source of material and every contribution is valid. If there are disagreements, we just talk it through. It’s a good reminder that the Christian spectrum is diverse and that God extravagently loves every single one of us in spite of our petty differences.
What makes a successful CF?
I guess a measure of success is the willingness of people to come along. If people value that time and place to spend time with God and with each other during their working week, they’ll turn up! For many, knowing they can share and pray with their Christian brothers and sisters in confidence about work or personal matters and get the support they need, is a precious gift. We regularly get answers to our prayers! Some CFs find it enormously encouraging to record answers to prayers in a notebook which serves as a constant reminder that God cares, listens and changes our circumstances!
Once your CF is established, you may want to branch out into other areas such as social evenings to get to know each other better outside of work or pre-work morning meetings totally dedicated to prayer or after work Alpha courses for non-Christian colleagues. The list is endless!
I hope this is helpful and do feel free to pick my brains about starting up your own CF where you are.
We all know that the workplace can be tough, but knowing you have other Christians there for support can be a great help. Go for it!
Matthew Colchester Bassett, Post Production - BBC Sport & Leader of BBC TVC CF