Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articlesgrouch

  • 5 Ways to Deal with the Grouch in Your Life. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “I don’t know your exact situation, but I do know this. You’re probably a grouch once in a while. And if you want The Payoff Principle to work for you, you can’t afford to be a grouch. So what can you do to maximize your chances for incredible happiness and outlandish success?
  • Four Leadership Personalities: What Color are You? I very much enjoy personality tests (Strengthfinders, Myers-Briggs, Pace Pallet, Stand Out, etc.). Eric Geiger shares one that I am not familiar with. He writes “With our leadership team, we use the Insights Discovery tool to help each other understand our unique personalities. The tool is validated and has proven helpful to our team in serving and communicating with one another.”
  • What are YOU Waiting for to Truly Enjoy Your Life and Responsibilities? Dave Kraft writes “Are you stuck emotionally and vocationally? Do you feel you are in a rut and will be there for a long time?”
  • Calling: Context is Everything. What happens when expectations misalign with reality? David H. Kim expounds the rarely discussed, surprising and vitally important context of calling as it relates to our work. What expectations do you have with respect to your calling? Expectations play a hidden, but very important role in shaping our motivations for work as well as a deeper sense of purpose. The wrong expectations can make a great job seem miserable. Yet, our expectations often go unexamined and unchallenged. Here Kim explores how the Bible presents a very important context which transforms the way we view our work and our sense of calling. The gospel changes everything and realigns our expectations in such a way that connects our daily work with God’s redemptive purposes.
  • 10 Things You Don’t Know about the Faith and Work Movement. Jennifer Woodruff Tait shares these ten helpful thoughts about the faith and work movement.
  • 5 “C” Suggestions for Developing Trust as a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “If any leader wants to be successful, much will be determined by the level of trust he or she can attain. One goal of every leader, therefore should be trust development.”
  • The Courage to Change Course. Mark Miller writes “There are no great leaders without great courage. A Stop Doing List is an outstanding tool to strengthen our courage and our leadership.”
  • Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling. What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, if you’re not sure you want to do just one thing for the rest of your life, you’re not alone. In this illuminating talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick describes the kind of people she calls “multipotentialites” — who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. Are you one?
  • H3H3 Leadership Q&A with Brad Lomenick. Matt Perman, author of What’s Best Next, interviews Brad Lomenick about his new book H3 Leadership. I’ll be reading that book soon and will post a review after I do.
  • Empower. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks about what it means to empower.
  • Book Review: 18-Minutes To Maximize Productivity. Paul Sohn writes “Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done reveals helpful insights on how to jump-start our productivity.
  • 3 Dangerous Ways to Think About Your Identity. Our friend Kevin Halloran writes “Everybody in leadership needs to foster the right self-identity in relationship to their work. For many of us, identity issues can be major sources of pain and frustration as we seek to make a difference in the position the Lord has placed us.”
  • Trusting God in a World of Competition. Carey Bustard interviews Robert Bigley, a performer, administrator, and educator. He is currently executive director of the Trust Performing Arts Center and director of choral activities at Lancaster Bible College.
  • Four Practical Ways to Change Organizational Culture. Eric Geiger writes “Changing the culture of an organization is extremely difficult, and it is not something that can be done with a new logo, a purpose statement, a white board session, and a few media slides.”
  • How Fear Shapes Your Life—and How to Take Control. In this edition of the In the Loop podcast, Andy Andrews answers two listener questions on how fear shapes your life and how to balance belief in yourself against pride.  
  • 7 Qualities of an Easy to Follow Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “The best example I know of a followable leader is Jesus. Consider some of the reasons He was able to develop such loyalty among the people He led — why He was easy to follow.”
  • How Do I Find My Calling? New Bible App Reading Plan Available on YouVersion. IFWE recently launched a new five-day reading plan by Dr. Art Lindsley, “How Do I Find My Calling,” on the YouVersion Bible App.

5 questions

  • 5 Leadership Questions Podcast with John Maxwell. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, John Maxwell tells us about how he moved from pastoring into the leadership development space, shares much wisdom, and drops some absolutely gold quotes. Maxwell also shares about his new bookIntentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters.  
  • 5 Leadership Questions Podcast with Eric Geiger. In this episode of the podcast, Eric Geiger joins the team to talk constructive vs. destructive criticism, the difference between feedback and criticism, and how to respond well in a digital age when everything goes public and trolls abound.
  • Pride, Pro Baseball, and Perspective: An Interview with Ben Zobrist. Collin Hansen interviews the major league baseball player, who is from a small t own about 30 minutes from my home.
  • 10 Principles of the Thorn. Dan Rockwell writes “Salve is a temporary response, not a solution, to nagging frustrations. The best thing you can do with thorns is dig them out.”
  • The Bottom Line Isn’t at Odds with Loving Employees. Carey Bustard interviews Les Slough, vice president of Shank’s Extracts, Inc.
  • 7 Communication Opportunities For Every Leader. Bobby Albert writes “Successful, values-driven cultures have leaders who consistently offer meaningful communication with a purpose.  And they repeatedly communicate internally- with their employees, as well as externally- with customers and suppliers”.
  • Does the Everyday Mundane Matter? Hugh Whelchel writes “If Christianity is to once again become a positive influence in American public life, all Christians need to be present within that life as salt and light. Christians need to leave the safety of their Christian ghettos and take the risks necessary for reforming, renewing, and recalling today’s culture.”
  • Injury Interrupted My Idolatry. Professional basketball player Landry Fields writes “Suffering has made the gospel real to me. And God will use suffering to make the gospel real to you too. If you’re going through something painful or difficult, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t paying attention or doesn’t care. It means God wants to win you to true faith in him, a better hope in his salvation, and deep humility and joy in his grace”.
  • Communicating Grace in an Ungracious World. In the first article of a four-part series on communicating grace in the workplace Bill Peel writes “Whether we work on a factory floor, in a cramped cubical, or in the corner office, each of us has the opportunity to bring grace to our workplace. Even small things—a word of encouragement or a simple act of kindness—can be used by God to accomplish big things”.
  • Take Every Task Captive Today. Marshall Segal writes “Serve in the strength and time and talents that he supplies (1 Peter 4:11), because the work ahead of you is God’s, given to you for his glory”.
  • Our Questions, Our Callings, Our Commitments. Steven Garber, an excellent writers, the author of Visions of Vocation, writes about the Ligonier Valley Study Center, Libri and other things in this article.
  • 10 Easy Ways Leaders Can Build Trust with Their New Teams. Randy Conley writes “The primary goal of any leader stepping in to lead a new team should be to build trust.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Leaders should bring clarity to the unknown, calm to chaos, and order to disorder. Brad Lomenic
  • Your reputation is not for sale. Protect it at all costs. It takes years to build, but only seconds to lose. Brad Lomenick
  • Too often we confuse popularity with success, and obscurity with failure. Chris Larson
  • Good attitudes among players don’t guarantee success, but bad attitudes guarantee failure. John Maxwell
  • If you wake up in a bad mood, get over it, ask for help, or call in sick and stay home. No need to infect others with what you have. Dr. Henry Cloud
  • A sure-fire way to gain a boost in attitude is to surround yourself with optimistic people. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • Giving people real responsibility accelerates their growth. Mark Miller
  • Effective leadership is influence, but the foundation on true effective leadership and influence is agreement—not disagreement. Andy Andrews
  • Learning is at the heart of mentoring. Think about how you can learn from people across generations as mentors. Ken Blanchard
  • Choose JOY! That is the feeling that life is a special occasion and you take the opportunity to serve when the opportunity comes. Ken Blanchard
  • There is great joy and satisfaction in the journey to achieving your goals. There is power in intentionality. Dave Ramsey
  • Ability can take you to the top but it takes character to keep you there. Coach K
  • Surround yourself with people strong enough to change your mind. John Wooden
  • Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. John Wooden
  • What the whole world wants more than food, shelter, safety and peace — is a good job. Scott Sauls

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 9: Displaying Vocational Power

  • Having seen why they should steward their vocational power and what that power is, members of the congregation now need help in discerning where to invest their efforts. This is the work of deployment.
  • Blooming where you’re planted. The primary and most important avenue for deploying vocational power is in and through one’s present work. The first place believers should look to conduct their foretaste-bringing mission is right at the current job they hold. I call this “blooming where you’re planted.”
  • Blooming involves reflecting and promoting God’s glory in our current vocation. The tsaddiqim do this by seeking to live out, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the vertical, personal and social dimensions of righteousness in the context of their vocation.
  • We bloom when we acknowledge God as our director and audience, and conduct our work in functional, daily reliance on the Spirit. We bloom when we honor God through our ethical practice and when we intentionally and creatively seek to advance shalom for all our organization’s stakeholders. And we bloom when we act as “intrapreneurs”-people who innovate needed reform within their company or industry sector.’
  • Temptations of pathway 1. The temptations in this pathway are two (at least). One might be called pietism; the other, triumphalism.
  • The pietistic temptation emerges when congregants mistakenly define the mission of faith/work integration too narrowly. That is, they seek to be people of integrity on the job and perhaps attempt to evangelize coworkers, but they do not muse deeply over the work itself. They don’t invest time considering how their work images God in his ongoing providence in creation or how their work participates in God’s redemptive purposes. They fail to discern how people can bear witness to the missio Dei through work in ways other than placing Christian plaques on the wall or leading Bible studies.
  • A second temptation in pathway one is triumphalism. This can occur when Christians in their secular workplaces forget the doctrine of common grace-the notion that God has granted degrees of wisdom and insight to nonbelievers and that he can advance his purposes through non-Christian institutions. Triumphalism rears its head when Christians assert that only they can perceive the true, the good and the beautiful. It surfaces when Christians carelessly use language about “taking” their institution or vocational sector “for Christ.” Such language can cause great consternation among secular colleagues. Triumphalism is revealed when believers fail to be good listeners to people of good will who do not share their Christian faith, when believers are inhospitable toward others’ views.
  • Church leaders equip their flock to resist the temptations of pietism and triumphalism when they teach a robust view of faith/work integration and remind their members of God’s common grace. As they celebrate members who are living out vocational stewardship along pathway one, they need to affirm a wide range of examples.
  • As they exhort congregants to influence their fields positively, they should employ the language of servanthood, not conquest.
  • Pathway 2: Donating. The second pathway of vocational stewardship involves donating our skills to organizations other than our regular employer. This includes volunteer service at churches, nonprofit ministries or private or public agencies that can make good use of our particular vocational knowledge and experience in their labors here at home or abroad. This pathway is unique in its concern that volunteer service intentionally capitalizes on vocational power. It’s about getting bankers to serve as bankers, carpenters to serve as carpenters and architects to serve as architects.
  • Temptations of pathway 2. The main temptations of this pathway involve impatience, arrogance and failure to appreciate work styles or work environments/cultures different from those with which one is most familiar and comfortable.
  • Pathway 3: Inventing. Vocational stewardship along the third pathway is a form of what author Andy Crouch calls “culture making.” In his book by that name, Crouch argues that “the only way to change culture is to create more of it.”
  • Pathway three involves drawing on our vocational power to launch a new social enterprise that seeks to advance the kingdom in a fresh way. It is about creating new or alternative institutions (big or small) that implement innovative ways of addressing social problems. Vocational stewardship along this pathway brings foretastes of shalom first to the direct beneficiaries of the services provided by these new organizations. In some cases, it can also bring about significant, far-reaching cultural or social change.
  • Temptations of pathway 3. The principal temptation of pathway three involves failure to listen or to partner.
  • In the same way, professionals who have proven themselves excellent problem solvers in the business realm may fail to see where there are limits on the transferability of those skills.
  • Investing. Finally, pathway four involves participating in a targeted, intensive initiative by a congregation to serve a particular people group, neighborhood or cause in a way that strategically employs our vocational power. Some congregations have chosen a narrow but deep strategy for affecting community renewal. They’ve honed in on a particular neighborhood or a particular problem, such as failing schools or the troubled foster care system or international sex trafficking.
  • Pathway four funnels all the diverse talents of congregants toward the same target.
  • Temptations of pathway 4. The principal temptation to fight on this pathway is the failure to undertake the work in a “ministry with” paradigm as opposed to a “ministry to” paradigm. For example, if a church has targeted an economically distressed community, it must guard against its talented, fast-paced, powerful members running roughshod over community residents in so-called helping initiatives.


Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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