Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting ArticlesMichael Jordan Quote

  • Fail Your Way to Success? (Yes, Really!) Dr. Alan Zimmerman shares few tips on how to handle failure properly.
  • Moses and Jesus Didn’t Have Their Dream Jobs By 30, Either. Liuan Huska writes “Maybe we should replace the question “What are you doing when you graduate?” with “What kind of person is God calling you to be?” This helps young adults reorient their identity away from careers, which will inevitably change, to character, which only deepens throughout a lifetime.”
  • Motivate. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, he discusses what it means to motivate.
  • Work: A Noble Christian Duty. Listen to this sermon from John MacArthur on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.
  • Stop Trying to Fix Your Weaknesses. In this 15-minute video Marcus Buckingham explains why performance management systems are broken.
  • Why Culture Matters. Tim Keller provides a fundamental perspective on why culture matters to God and therefore must matter to us.
  • How to Finally Achieve Work-Life Balance. In this edition of his This is Your Life podcast, Michael Hyatt covers three simple secrets that make work-life balance possible.
  •  5 Points on Decision Making as a Leader. Brad Lomenick writes “Leaders are decision makers. Period. Whatever the time of year and season of life, lots of decisions are probably on your desk or in your to do list waiting to be pushed forward. It’s something we must do. Constantly.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • For most truly successful people, it was their failures, handled properly, that taught them how to do it better the next time around. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • Just be who God has called you to be right where you are, with the people he has called you to serve. Michael Horton
  • Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. Coach K
  • Feedback really is the breakfast of champions. If you have an idea you are not really sure about, share it with someone for their opinion. Ken Blanchard
  • Leaders who lift up & lighten the load of others are ultimately making others & themselves better. Brad Lomenick
  • If a person can’t thrive in your environment and you release him or her to find a place better suited for them, you’ve given them a gift. Mark Miller
  • Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time. Coach KThabiti Quote

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 5: Integrating Faith and Work

  • Today thousands of Christian professionals sit in the pews, wondering, Can I participate in Jesus’ mission-and do so using the gifts and skills God has given me? The answer is a resounding yes-but such a word is tragically uncommon in many Christian congregations.’
  • Fewer than ten percent of regular churchgoers, surveys say, can remember the last time their pastor preached on the topic of work. When he or she did preach on work, inevitably the tone was critical-if not hostile-and painted all businesspeople as greedy and uncaring. Seldom do pastors honor the work world as a place for parishioners to live out their high calling.
  • Key periodicals addressed largely to clergy and church leaders do not often cover issues of faith and work integration.
  • While many Christians are not receiving guidance from their churches, they may be hearing about faith/work integration from parachurch sources. Hundreds of books have been written on this topic. There are also many marketplace ministries available for Christian businesspeople to join.
  • In short, although Christians aren’t hearing much about how to integrate faith and work in the pews, there’s a significant quantity of resources and organizations in the broader Christian community they can turn to. To disciple their people well for vocational stewardship, congregational leaders need to understand what their members may have learned from these sources about faith/work integration.
  • Miller describes the major themes in the movement as falling into four main categories or quadrants: ethics, evangelism, enrichment and experience.
  • Quadrant one: Ethics. Individuals and organizations in the ethics quadrant have primarily integrated faith at work “through attention to personal virtue, business ethics, and to broader questions of social and economic justice,”
  • Christians in this quadrant are concerned about appropriately balancing the demands of work and family. They desire to grow in wisdom in handling the temptations of secular success as well as the immoral social activities permitted or even encouraged within the organizations that employ them. Issues tackled here might include cheating on expense reports, putting corporate interests over human relationships, or navigating the toll taken on marriage by long periods of business travel.
  • Generally, discussions of ethics are limited to personal morality.
  • Quadrant two: Evangelism. As the label suggests, people of faith in this quadrant are primarily interested in integrating their faith and their work through evangelistic efforts. This includes cultivating friendships with coworkers from other (or no) faiths; sponsoring Bible studies at work; hosting events or conferences that offer platforms for believers to share their testimonies with nonbelievers within their organizations; or providing spiritual counselors or chaplains in the firm.
  • Quadrant three: Enrichment. The third theme in the FAW movement is personal transformation and spiritual nurture.
  • They are interested in healing, prayer, meditation-therapeutic and contemplative practices to aid workers. Such practices can help discouraged or downsized workers, or they may bring a new level of peace to over-stressed corporate executives. Maximizing one’s potential is also a major focus in this quadrant.
  • Quadrant four: Experience. This quadrant is composed of those FAW groups that examine questions of “vocation, calling, meaning, and purpose in and through their marketplace professions.”
  • Christians in this quadrant lament the common view that somehow secular work is “second class” or that only through a “ministry career” (such as pastoring or being a missionary) can a person truly live out her or his faith. These organizations provide counsel, books and conferences to help individuals discover their calling and align their natural and spiritual gifts with careers in which those talents can be well deployed.
  • Miller rightly affirms the strengths of each quadrant while simultaneously asserting that the healthiest approach is one that combines all these themes.
  • Miller’s Everywhere integrator type gets closest to the concept of vocational stewardship for the common good. It takes seriously the three dimensions of righteousness (vertical, internal and social). Evangelicalism could produce more believers who act like the tsaddiqim in and through their professions if its marketplace ministries, professional societies and books on faith/work integration helped move people as much as possible toward the Everywhere Integrator type Miller describes.
  • My staff and I analyzed the vision, mission and programs of twenty-three Christian professional societies. We found that the majority of associations were more internally than externally focused. That is, their principle aims had to do with member support, fellowship and peer-to-peer learning.
  • A vital part of vocational stewardship for the common good is a focus by believers on transforming the institutions in which they work.
  • My examination of marketplace ministries found no evidence that these business fellowships are discussing how Christian executives can reform practices within their particular industries that might be problematic from the perspectives of justice and shalom. Some of the Christian professional societies have taken some steps in this direction.
  • The average Christian professional sitting in the pew hears little from the pulpit or in Sunday school about how her life with God relates to her life at work.
  • Her church offers little specific guidance about why her work matters, how God can and does use it, or how her vocational power can be stewarded to advance his kingdom.
  • Lacking this guidance, some Christians simply “turn off’ their faith at work; they function as “practical atheists” on the job. They have no vision for what it means to partner with God at work, to bring meaning to their work or to accomplish kingdom purposes in and through their work. Others look outside their local congregation for guidance, joining a marketplace ministry or a Christian professional society.

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 5: Focusing on Results

  • The ultimate point of building greater trust, conflict, commitment, and accountability is one thing: the achievement of results.
  • One of the greatest challenges to team success is the inattention to results.
  • There is no getting around the fact that the only measure of a great team—or a great organization—is whether it accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish.
  • No matter how good a leadership team feels about itself, and how noble its mission might be, if the organization it leads rarely achieves its goals, then, by definition, it’s simply not a good team.
  • The definition of results and achievement will vary from one organization to another depending on the reason that a given organization exists.
  • When it comes to how a cohesive team measures its performance, one criterion sets it apart from noncohesive ones: its goals are shared across the entire team.
  • The only way for a team to really be a team and to maximize its output is to ensure that everyone is focused on the same priorities—rowing in the same direction, if you will.
  • Great teams ensure that all members, in spite of their individual responsibilities and areas of expertise, are doing whatever they can to help the team accomplish its goals.
  • The only way for a leader to establish this collective mentality on a team is by ensuring that all members place a higher priority on the team they’re a member of than the team they lead in their departments. A good way to go about this is simply to ask them which team is their first priority. I’ve found that many well-intentioned executives will admit that in spite of their commitment to the team that they’re a member of, the team they lead is their first priority.
  • When members of a leadership team feel a stronger sense of commitment and loyalty to the team they lead than the one they’re a member of, then the team they’re a member of becomes like the U.S. Congress or the United Nations: it’s just a place where people come together to lobby for their constituents. Teams that lead healthy organizations reject this model and come to terms with the difficult but critical requirement that executives must put the needs of the higher team ahead of the needs of their departments. That is the only way that good decisions can be made about how best to serve the entire organization and maximize its performance.
  • The surprising power of embracing team number one is one of the most gratifying and powerful things we witness in the work we do with leaders.
  • Checklist for Discipline 1: Building a Cohesive Leadership Team. Members of a leadership team can be confident that they’ve mastered this discipline when they can affirm the following statements:
  • The leadership team is small enough (three to ten people) to be effective.
  • Members of the team trust one another and can be genuinely vulnerable with each other.
  • Team members regularly engage in productive, unfiltered conflict around important issues.
  • The team leaves meetings with clear-cut, active, and specific agreements around decisions.
  • Team members hold one another accountable to commitments and behaviors.
  • Members of the leadership team are focused on team number one. They put the collective priorities and needs of the larger organization ahead of their own departments.
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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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