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Careers: Work Among True Believers?

Do you work in a predominantly Christian workplace? Increasingly, Christian job boards are making this mission, as some put it, a reality. My take on the job boards that match “followers” with “Christian employers” is that a Christian workplace is at least partially about excluding non-believers who may undermine their value system.

Do you work in a predominantly Christian workplace? Increasingly, Christian job boards are making this mission, as some put it, a reality.

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My take on the job boards that match “followers” with “Christian employers” is that a Christian workplace is at least partially about excluding non-believers who may undermine their value system.

This statement on Christian Staffing’s website summarizes the mindset: “Have you dealt with staff problems including stealing, fraud, sexual harassment, lack of work ethic, tardiness, etc? We did, and so we have decided to try to hire people we knew had a good reputation … and more specifically followers of Jesus Christ.”

In a pitch to Christian recruiters and employers, Bill Clark, Director of Sales & Business Development for ChristianJobs.com, writes on About.com that there are 200,000 job seekers on their site each month. “These folks are in need and we believe that it is our responsibility as members of the body of Christ to help them in every way possible,” writes Clark. “As such, we invite you to visit our site and see if you can embrace our mission … expressing your faith by posting your positions ….”

What is unclear to me is how a Christian employee differs from, say, a Hindu, Islamic or Jewish employee. Of course, it’s no secret that religious cultures and subcultures often hire amongst themselves; what’s different here is these job boards are explicit about it.

Biases are part of the American fabric, right? The federal government, including the U.S. Justice Department, recruits from Christian law schools and colleges. (That hasn’t gone so well.)

I wasn’t able to reach several of the larger job boards directly, but a Christian recruiter took my call. “We network with people who believe that Jesus is the Christ,” explains CJ Elliott, a recruiter and co-owner of Christian Recruiters Affiliated in Hoopeston, Ill. Speaking of the Christian employers to whom she supplies candidates, she says, “We like to work with people we feel are trustworthy and we can count on.”

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Elliott, who says she worked for a big oil company for 10 years, tried to lead by example rather than evangelize in the workplace. She adds, “I know there are people who are not born-again who still have a good work ethic.”

Still, for those who wish to explore a faith-based workplace, a site called FaithInTheWorkplace.com offers some interesting content, including legal advice, about what’s permissible in terms of expressions of faith.

And here are a few job boards that appear to be leaders in this specialized field:

  • ChristianJobs.com – a job board “focusing on employment within the Christian community … catering to the hiring needs of Christian-friendly companies.” The site is a subsidiary of Salem Communications Corp., a powerhouse in Christian-based media.
  • ChristianStaffing.org – “Connecting Christian staff with Christian employers. For the result of a Christian work environment.”
  • ChristiaNet – It bills itself as “The Worldwide Christian Marketplace.”
  • AllChristianJobs.com – “A Christian career job site with the added benefit of a global freelance marketplace.”
  • ChristianOpportunitiesOnline.com – Although this appears to be a work-at-home kind of site, which doesn’t qualify, I like their Google ad: “Use your God-given talents to do something extraordinary.”

Christians are not the only religious group with job boards or career sites. However, based on my Google searches, Christian boards appear to this observer to be more prevalent than many other religious-based job sites. I visited New York Jewish Jobs Board; the Musalman Career Center (Muslim, not really a board); and, by contrast, Hindu job sites – which seem to seek candidates with Hindu language or cultural skills. The Church of Latter-Day Saints provides a range of different job boards and states that it is not exclusive to Mormons.

For many cultures and subcultures a homogeneous, immersive environment is the most appealing way to live and work. But where are the winners here? People who seek faith-based work environments lose the value of collaborating with people from different cultures, who offer different ideas and perspectives; and people who are excluded from faith-based workplaces may be victims of discrimination.

Rusty Weston, My Global Career • San Francisco, Ca • http://www.myglobalcareer.com/

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