Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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connecting faith and work

  • You Can Jump Start Your Growth Starting Today. John Maxwell discusses his new book Jump Start Your Growth, released last week.
  • Work is Worship. You may have seen this before, but this creative 2:45 minute video on work is worship is worth a second watch.
  • The Invisible Force Behind Amazing Teams. Mark Miller writes “The invisible force behind all high performance teams is their sense of community.”
  • Feeling Stuck? Here are 8 Ways to Push Through. Brad Lomenick writes “Sometimes we just feel stuck. Not that anything is really wrong, but more the sense that we’re not going anywhere. That place where you sense that things are okay, but not great. Where it seems like you are just going through the motions. Dependable and reliable, yes. Consistent, absolutely. But not necessarily bringing your A-game.”
  • Being Gospel Centered at Work. Matt Perman offers two simple ways to begin letting the gospel impact your work right now.
  • Collaboration. Mark Miller shares four obstacles to radical collaboration that his team is working to overcome.Amazon-Logo
  • Amazon Values and the People of God. Eric Geiger writes “While one may love being a customer of Amazon, many would hate to be an employee.”
  • Explore Faith & Work: CFW Manifesto. Check out this short and creative video from the Center for Faith and Work.
  • Work and Cultural Renewal. Tim Keller writes “I like the term ‘cultural renewal’ better than ‘culture shaping’ or ‘culture changing/transforming.’ The most powerful way to show people the truth of Christianity is to serve the common good.”
  • What Your MBTI Personality Type Says About Your Career Destiny Infographic. Paul Sohn shares this interesting infographic with the details of the four dimensions of personality type coupled with predictions on how much you’ll earn, how many people you’ll supervise, and even how much you’ll like your job.

YOUR CALLING:

  • What is God Calling Me To? Your Past Could be Key to Your Future. Peter Beck writes “There are three callings of God upon man. First, there is the universal call to repentance and faith in Christ. Second is the call for all Christians to make disciples of others. Third, there is the call to vocational ministry, the one that compels some to give up their careers, their homes, their fiscal security, and head off to seminary (or at least log on) with grand hopes of changing the world for Christ.”
  • Taking the Time to Find Your Calling: Two Ways to Get Started. Ken Blanchard writes “It’s never too late to make changes in your life by taking advantage of your most precious commodity—time. Life is a very special occasion, so celebrate it by finding and honoring your authentic self!”

LEADERSHIP:Behaviors

  • The Behavior Leaders Fail at Most. Dan Rockwell shares that the behavior fail at most is asking for feedback.
  • Micro-Managing. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell discusses what it means to micro-manage.
  • The Global Leadership Summit 2015 Highlights. See this four-minute video of highlights from the recent leadership conference.
  • Leading from the Middle. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper are joined by Brad Lomenick to talk about the strategic position that middle leaders have.
  • 10 Unforgettable Leadership Lessons. Faith Whatley shares some of the best advice received from leaders who have poured into her life.
  • Four Idols That Kill Leadership Development. Eric Geiger writes about how the idols of power, control, comfort and approval prohibit leadership development.
  • 15 Things I’ve Learned From Truett Cathy. I’m excited to finally get a Chick Fil-A in our community in a few days. Here, Paul Sohn shares 15 quotes from the Chick Fil-A founder.
  • What Great Managers Do. Marcus Buckingham writes “I’ve found that while there are as many styles of management as there are managers, there is one quality that sets truly great managers apart from the rest: They discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Work is a major instrument of God’s providence. It is how he sustains the human world. Tim Keller
  • What God initiates he orchestrates. Andy Stanley
  • If you want to keep everybody happy don’t be a leader; sell ice cream. Eric Geiger
  • Though I am in haste, I am never in a hurry because I never undertake more work than I can go through with calmness of spirit. John Wesley
  • On my calendar are but two dates: Today and That Day. Martin Luther
  • If you stop and do nothing until you can do everything, you will remain useless. Charles Spurgeon
  • Focus on controllable behaviors not uncontrollable circumstances. Dan Rockwell
  • Creating a sense of entitlement costs way more than you’d think. Malcolm Gladwell
  • The gospel frees us from a condescending attitude toward less sophisticated labor and from envy over more exalted work. Tim Keller
  • Nothing seems to be too foolish, nothing too wicked, nothing too insane, for mankind. Charles Spurgeon
  • A team is not a group of people that works together. A team is a group of people that trusts each other. Simon Sinek
  • You know your work is an idol when days off seem like obstacles rather than joys. John Starke
  • If you did something perfectly the first time you tried, you waited too long to start. John Maxwell
  • Don’t see people as a means to accomplish tasks. See tasks as a means to develop people. Craig Groeschel
  • Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say. Andy Stanley
  • Learning and development is like time-released medication: the benefits are derived over time. Mark Miller
  • Success isn’t something that just happens – success is learned, success is practiced and then it is shared. Coach K
  • Instead of insisting you’re right, respond by saying, “You could be right. Tell me more,” and then really listen. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • Let me give so much time to the improvement of myself that I shall have no time to criticize others. John Wooden

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 2 ~ What Do the Righteous Look Like?

  • A central premise of this book is that the average middle-class (or wealthier) Christian in America has been blessed with much from God-skills, wealth, opportunity, vocational position, education, influence, networks. We are, in short, the prospering. The purpose of all these blessings is simple to state and difficult to live: we are blessed to be a blessing. Our generous heavenly Father desires us to deploy our time, talents and treasure to offer others foretastes of the coming kingdom. Those who do so are called the tsaddiqim, the righteous.
  • Clearly, living as the tsaddiqim isn’t easy. It requires tremendous effort and intentionality. More importantly, it requires power from God’s Holy Spirit.
  • In studying the biblical scholarship on this concept, I’ve found that it is helpful to see righteousness as expressing itself in three dimensions or directions: up, in and out

UP

  • By up I mean that “vertical” dimension of righteousness that involves our reverent worship of and humble dependence on God. By in I mean the state of our hearts: the internal characteristics of righteousness captured by the phrase “purity in heart” and expressed through personal righteousness (what the wisdom literature calls “clean hands”). By out I mean the social dimensions of righteousness, that part of righteousness involving our interactions with our neighbors near and far. This comprehensive expression of righteousness marks the tsaddiqim.
  • The tsaddiqim live Godward. That is, the central orientation of their life is toward God.
  • Their Godward stance makes them people of prayer,
  • The tsaddiqim are deeply humble.
  • The Godward orientation of the tsaddiqim also means that they have an eternal perspective.
  • This aspect of righteousness suggests several implications for vocational stewardship. First, this “vertical” righteousness means that we affirm that the purpose of life is glorifying God, not self.
  • It does mean that we are called to resist the modern assumption that personal happiness and satisfaction are the highest and most important criteria when considering vocational decisions.
  • Second, a Godward orientation means that in stewarding their vocations, the tsaddiqim do not fall into idolizing their jobs or the organizations they work for. Perhaps the most visible expression of this is that the tsaddiqim are not workaholics. They seek to draw their primary identity not from their work, but from their relationship with God. Their Godward orientation helps them remember to be faithful to all the various callings he has placed on their lives in addition to their work, such as family relationships, parenting responsibilities, service roles within the church, and duties to community and nation.
  • Not idolizing work also means that the tsaddiqim seek discernment about the limits of their loyalties to their employer.
  • Third, this vertical dimension of righteousness means that we seek to do our work in active, functional, daily reliance on the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. The tsaddiqim practice God’s presence in the midst of their labors.
  • Relatedly, the tsaddiqim do their work “heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Col 3:23 NASB). That is, they know their audience.
  • Finally, because the righteous are fundamentally Godward in their orientation, they view their work in eschatological terms.
  • The tsaddiqim have an eternal perspective.
  • They are confident in God’s promise to make everything new (Rev 21:5). They trust that in their work they participate in the new creation, even if that very glorious idea is somewhat mysterious to them.
  • From this eschatological paradigm, they celebrate the significance of human work and see it as a matter of “cooperation with God.”8

IN

  • The second aspect of righteousness concerns the state of our own hearts. This aspect involves both right personal conduct and, importantly, holy motivations and dispositions. The righteous seek not only to act rightly but also to be right inside.
  • Personal righteousness also involves the zealous pursuit of “putting off” the old self and “putting on” the new self that is spoken of in Colossians 3.
  • The righteous are also deeply grateful people who understand that all they are and all they have comes from God.
  • The internal dimension of righteousness also involves the disposition of our hearts toward compassion and mercy.
  • When the righteous “care about” justice for the poor, it means they are intensely passionate to see justice done for the poor. Their concern is deep, intimate and heartfelt.
  • Most of the teaching on the integration of faith and work emphasizes the importance of cultivating personal righteousness in the context of our daily labor. That’s understandable given the considerable ethical perils of the contemporary workplace. The Fall has affected both our work itself and the environment in which we do it. Because of the Fall, work has become toilsome and sometimes feels futile. Because of the Fall, both we Christians and our nonbelieving coworkers are sinners.
  • The righteous ask God to help them maintain “clean hands” on the job by refusing to lie, cheat, steal or engage in a workplace sexual affair.
  • Pastors need to remind their people that they can indeed, though Christ’s power, be different kinds of workers than the nonbelievers around them.
  • Pastors should remind their members that professionals enjoying success on the job may need an even greater discipline than those who are persecuted at work.
  • The tsaddiqim, by contrast, pursue the common good out of a keen awareness of the cries of those at the bottom. Knowing God is the true
  • owner of all they possess, they are willing to share their resources and talents for the rejoicing of the whole community.

OUT

  • Also mandatory for the tsaddiqim is what we might call social righteousness.
  • Social righteousness is about how we treat our neighbors near and far. It is about how vertical love toward God is expressed in horizontal love toward the world he has made and the people he has created.
  • Social righteousness is nurtured when we look “out” at our neighbors near and far and deliberately consider how to advance their good.
  • Part of looking out involves considering the needs of those among whom we work. First, we simply have to see them. We have to make room in our hearts for caring about others. From this heart of compassion springs tangible action.
  • Looking “out” also involves considering the needs of all the stakeholders in our work, such as vendors, customers, partners, investors or neighbors (people living in the communities where our employing organization’s facilities are). The call to do justice is applicable in all these relationships.
  • Finally, looking out means taking seriously our potential role in encouraging institutional transformation. This begins within our own workplace.
  • Institutional transformation includes actions that can move an entire industry to higher standards of quality or safety or financial transparency or energy efficiency or racial diversity-or other social goods.
  • The call to righteousness in this book in no way replaces the doctrine of full reliance on Christ and his righteousness.
  • The church is supposed to be a collection of the tsaddiqim-people of deep personal piety and intense passion for the kingdom of God.
  • Those committed to stewarding their prosperity for the common good, of people who think creatively and strategically about how to deploy their talents to advance foretastes of the kingdom.

The Advantage by Patrick LencioniThe Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni. Jossey-Bass. 240 pages. 2012

Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite business authors. His books The Advantage and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team are among my favorites. I recently started reading and discussing The Advantage with two colleagues at work. I’m sharing key learnings from the book and this week we look at

BEHAVIOR 4: EMBRACING ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Even well-intentioned members of a team need to be held accountable if a team is going to stick to its decisions and accomplish its goals.
  • Peer-to-peer accountability is the primary and most effective source of accountability on the leadership team of a healthy organization.
  • When team members know that their colleagues are truly committed to something, they can confront one another about issues without fearing defensiveness or backlash.
  • The leader of the team, though not the primary source of accountability, will always be the ultimate arbiter of it.
  • So—and here is the irony—the more comfortable a leader is holding people on a team accountable, the less likely she is to be asked to do so.
  • At its core, accountability is about having the courage to confront someone about their deficiencies and then to stand in the moment and deal with their reaction, which may not be pleasant.
  • Unfortunately, it is far more natural, and common, for leaders to avoid holding people accountable. It is one of the biggest obstacles I find preventing teams, and the companies they lead, from reaching their full potential.
  • Many leaders who struggle with this (again, I’m one of them) will try to convince themselves that their reluctance is a product of their kindness; they just don’t want to make their employees feel bad. But an honest reassessment of their motivation will allow them to admit that they are the ones who don’t want to feel bad and that failing to hold someone accountable is ultimately an act of selfishness.
  • Some leaders don’t realize they have an accountability problem because they are more than comfortable confronting people about issues regarding measurable performance.
  • That is indeed one form of accountability, but it’s not the most important kind. The kind that is more fundamental, important, and difficult is about behavior.
  • It involves a judgment call that is more likely to provoke a defensive response.
  • The reason that behavioral accountability is more important than the quantitative, results-related kind has nothing to do with the fact that it is harder. It is due to the fact that behavioral problems almost always precede—and cause—a downturn in performance and results.
  • Whether we’re talking about a football team, a sales department, or an elementary school, a meaningful drop in measurable performance can almost always be traced back to behavioral issues that made the drop possible.
  • It’s difficult to overstate the competitive advantage that an accountability-friendly organization has over one where leaders don’t hold one another accountable.
  • It’s worth pointing out here that people often confuse accountability with conflict because both involve discomfort and emotion. But there is an enormous difference between the two. Conflict is about issues and ideas, while accountability is about performance and behavior.
  • A good tool for teams that want to improve their ability to hold one another accountable is something we call the team effectiveness exercise.
  • The greatest impact is the realization on the part of leadership team members that holding one another accountable is a survivable and productive activity, and it will make them likely to continue doing it going forward. And in some situations, the eventual result is particularly powerful.
  • Losing a team member is not at all a common outcome of building a culture of accountability. In most cases, team members simply learn to demand more of one another and watch their collective performance improve.
  • I’m often asked whether leaders should hold their people accountable privately during one-on-one sessions or in more public forums with the whole team, like during meetings. Although every case is a little different, generally I believe that on cohesive teams, accountability is best handled with the entire team.
  • When leaders and team members call one another on issues in front of team members, they get benefits that don’t occur when it takes place individually.
  • First, when accountability is handled during a meeting, every member of the team receives the message simultaneously and doesn’t have to make the same mistakes in order to learn the lesson of the person being held accountable.
  • Second, they know that the leader is holding their colleague accountable, which avoids their wondering whether the boss is doing his job.
  • Finally, it serves to reinforce the culture of accountability, which increases the likelihood that team members will do the same for one another.
  • When it comes to addressing relatively serious issues, or matters of corrective action in which a leader is wondering whether a member of the team might not be worthy to be on the team anymore, then everything changes. These are best handled privately, in a one-on-one situation, to respect the dignity of the person being held accountable.
  • The leader is often well advised to let her people know that she is addressing the situation to avoid unproductive and dangerous speculation.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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