Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

The Call Center Culture

I have several friends (including former students) that work in call centers here in Manila.  Most of them make pretty good money–call centers probably offer the highest average salary of any other industry.

But the relatively high salary comes at a price.   You’ll often hear call center employees refer to the physical and psychological impact of working the “graveyard shift.” 

There’s something that concerns me even more:  the spiritual environment–the “call center culture.”  The following seems to be common among call center workers:

*Heavy drinking and smoking.

*Sexual immorality (homosexuality, cohabitation of non-married couples, promiscuity).

*Moral relativism (no sense of absolute truth).

*Wasting money instead of investing wisely.

*Disconnection from church/worship (in part due to the non-traditional work schedule).

Please don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying all call center workers live ungodly lifestyles.  What I’ve learned, in fact, has mostly come from Christians who are struggling to keep their faith in this toxic environment. 

I believe we (Christians) can do more to reach those working in the call center industry.  Next month I’ll be helping a church conduct a seminar for call center agents.  It’s a small step, but maybe it will be the beginning of something big. 

 . . . I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
-1st Corinthians 9:22b

18 Comments

  1. For months now, there’s something in my heart that burns and wants to reach out to the call center community. I just have to learn about their culture first and then try to make a strategy that can be applied to the.

  2. Most of the thing you said here are right kuya Kevin. I’ve worked as an agent for 7 months and I was really separated from church activities because I don’t have the time to go through those activities and if not I’m sleeping!

    And there are also lots of vices when one is in the “call center culture” so Christians working at this kind of environment should really be careful of these temptation is very strong… I’ve been there that’s why I know it.

    I’ll be glad to help you kuya Kevin in your desire to reach the call center agents in every way I can!

    God bless!

  3. My brothers are both ‘call center’ agents and yes the immorality there, according to them is just too much.

    Starting an outreach there would be a very nice idea.

  4. Been in a call center industry for more than 4 years now kuya. And I am proud to say that I haven’t been involved with too much of the Smoking and Drinking thing you mentioned here. 🙂 But you are correct. Sexual Immorality, drinking and smoking, wasting money, disconnection from church (which I am guilty of myself) are ALL getting TOO MUCH that makes our industry worth looking into.

    Hope to see you on the seminar you’ll be conducting kuya. ^_^

  5. It amazes me how you see through such things. God is really working his wonders.

  6. i agree to your thoughts…. a lot of call center agents would to be involved in Christian activities but there are no bible studies offer during morning… or during their available time. The Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship is about to create a program or schedule that suits the call center agents schedule… Please pray for this endeavor…

    Thank you for your insights Kuya Kevin,
    keep the heart for them
    God bless!

  7. I worked in the call centre industry way back 2003-2004. The culture back then is how you described it. I think that there’s always a choice on who to hang-out with. From what I recall, the ones who succumbed to the “culture” were mostly the fresh grads, and the ones who think it’s “cool.” I do remember “feeling” the odd fish for the following reasons:1.) no cuss words 2.)family intact 3.) didn’t drink nor smoke 4.) a virgin. I’ve got a couple of Christian friends,(worked with them in a ministry before) who eventually joined the call centre industry..one time I had dinner with them and it so happened that one of their colleagues joined us. I was dumbfounded to hear these friends of mine saying “P.I. and F” and drinking. I don’t mean to be judgemental, but I was having a hard time, trying to reconcile who I know them to be with what I was witnessing infront of me….I am happy that you’re targetting to reach these group.
    E

  8. Hey Kuya Kevin I am a Call Center Team Lead and I’d agree it’s a toxic world out there especially for those who are still new to the faith. My prayer is for me to always make a differnce in where I am right now and bring them to God. Just like Joshua, I’m claiming to be my own and conquer it for the Lord!

  9. I used to be a call center agent, having no time for God is just an excuse. When I was still working, I would never have Sundays as my off, but what I do tell my kids who are then still young, is to prepare for when I come home, I will just have to pick them up so we can all go to church. My ex who is a Christian abandoned us for a girl in the INC and joined that religion. There is always a time for God, people is just not using theirs wisely. I’ve had gays, and lesbians and yes what we call immorals as my friends, and I can say that somehow in some ways I’ve also shared the message of Jesus Christ and they appreciate and respect you for that. I’m not saying this to boast or anything, but the point is that, we all have time, let us choose to use it wisely. I was always being invited to gimmicks, and would join them for camaraderie sake, but its up to you to stand up to what you believe is true, you don’t go around saying “oh i don’t drink because it’s a sin” they already know that, people in the call center, majority of them are lost, hurt and abused, both emotionally and physically, specially the third sex. all they need is a shoulder to cry on and a good word from the Bible. I guess, it’s the equipping that the church needs to do to prepare these young people to minister, not in stance, but in walking the talk. There were a lot of timme when they’d start to behave nicely infront of me, there was also a comment told me that “ayaw na naming uminom kasama ka, kase nahihiya kami sayo” or “ayaw ka muna namin isama kase para kaming may kasamang madre” not that I preach to them, but they begin to feel awkward because I don’t do as they do. The young people in church is also looking for identity, that’s why they can be easily persuaded, but if they are immersed in the word of God and they find their identity in Christ, even time shouldn’t be a problem to them. Like what the Bible said, “the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few”

  10. Riza,
    I’m not really saying that call center work is an excuse to drop out of church. But the call center workers’ schedule can make it more difficult for them to attend services, etc. Ministry to call center agents should keep their schedules in mind.

    Thanks for commenting.

  11. been in the call center industry for a year and ive seen christian friends(including me)lost their personal relationship with Jesus, i’m not proud to say that i stopped going to church for almost a year.i felt so empty i cant even pray…every time i started praying my mind seems to go blank, its been 9 months since the day i resigned(to go back to school)and i’m having a fresh start with God..im so glad about the Ministry to call center agents…il be praying for it’s success!!!!

  12. Hi Kevin,
    I guess my only point is that, call center schedule is not an excuse, I can tell, because 1-there are also christians in the call centers, i’ve met quite a lot and what we do is we pray for each other, we don’t necessarily form a group because of yes, time constraints and we all have lives outside the call center, but the thing that i noticed about other christians is that they become complacent and they make the call center schedule as an excuse. A group leader is also a big help, for prayers and for encouragement, my d-group leader would use to pray for me and she’d tell me that the group is praying for me too, this encourages me more and gives me the strenght, in knowing that someone is also praying on my behalf for guidance and strenght. I’m not trying to be critical, but this is basing on experience. We’ve had other christians who turned their backs on us because of excuses. All I can say is, as a parent, keep up doing the work of God, because these young people need a man of God like you. They need equipping and they need encouragement. ^^

  13. Reese,

    As with a previous comment, I agree–a call center job is not an excuse to drop out of church.

    At the same time, I think churches/ministries have to think about ways to more effectively minister to the call center culture. Most church activities are based on a traditional (daytime) work schedule.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  14. I think the last (having a hard time to maintain connection with the church) is common not only in call center agents (although they’re the ones that are MOST likely to experience this) but also to other young people that has just finished college.
    Active sa church, tapos biglang ‘busy’ pag nasa work setting na.

  15. Well, the matter lies in our priorities. If God is Number 1 in our life, definitely we will find ways to be with HIM and HIS children. We tend to make excuses but if we’re going to look at our priorities that’s where we’ll see that GOD always take the backseat and that is sad for GOD wants the whole of us so HE can use us for the advancement of HIS Kingdom.

  16. I used to work in a call center for almost 2 years a couple of years ago and what kuya Kevin said about the culture is sadly true. In my opinion and observation, it is an enemy’s territory.

  17. kuya kevs, m.elle here, i’m a call center agent for almost 3 yrs now here in pampanga. It’s true most of my colleagues are morally corrupt and have intelligent-sounding twisted opinion, like me dati. To christian call center agents there who genuinely love Jesus, nilagay tayo sa werk na ito to be light to such dark places. Let our light shines! Sa mga ganitong lugar d2 tau tatag & we’ll find out what kind of faith we have. Our testimonies are badly needed by these people kaya kung me calling kayo na hwg muna umalis sa werk natin, hwg muna. Don’t worry of what to say, the Holy Spirit is there to help us and God will provide opportunities for our testimonies. But before anything else… pray. I always pray na may maattenand akong fellowship every week & He has always been faithful. & yeah, tell them to visit kuyakevs site too! 🙂

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