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 Articlesrespect

  • 7 Ways to Maintain Respect as a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “As a leader, one of your most valuable and needed assets is the respect of the people you are trying to lead. If a leader is respected, people will follow him or her almost anywhere.   If a leader loses respect it becomes very difficult to regain respect.”
  • The Question Great Leaders Ask. In this short video, Andy Stanley talks about the question all great leaders should ask.
  • 10 Inexpensive Ways to Develop People on Your Team. Ron Edmondson writes “When budgets are stretched, development often is pushed to the back burner or cut altogether from the budget. This is dangerous for a team, which wishes to remain healthy and continue growing. If a team is not learning and improving, it will soon struggle to maintain any level of success. It’s important, therefore, to find ways to develop even with stressed budgets.”
  • Eight Steps to Leading Change from Nehemiah to Kotter. Eric Geiger writes “Perhaps the most definitive business book on leading an organization to change is John Kotter’s book Leading Change. When ministry leaders speak or write about leadership, they often look to the wisdom found in the Book of Nehemiah, as it chronicles Nehemiah’s leadership in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah led wide-scale change.”
  • Why Does God Allow Poor Leadership? Chris Patton writes “I want us to think about the various reasons that God may have for leaving Saul in authority as long as He did. Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever wondered why certain poor leadership is allowed to remain in authority today?”
  • 9 Questions to Determine if You’re a Christian Leader. Chuck Lawless writes “Many of us find ourselves in leadership positions, but we wonder sometimes if we’re really leading. And, frankly, sometimes there are folks around us who also wonder if we’re leading. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you’re really leading as a Christian leader.”
  • 7 Ways to Find Purpose. Dan Rockwell writes “Lack of purpose is the reason you feel adrift and disconnected.” He lists provides 7 benefits of purpose and 7 ways to find leadership purpose.
  • How I Work: An Interview with Karen Swallow-Prior. Joe Carter interviews Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English at Liberty University and author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions—The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist.
  • Thick Skin, Tender Hearts and Four Types of Leaders. Eric Geiger writes “Don’t choose between thick skin and a tender heart. As a leader, you need both. But only by walking daily with the Lord can a leader have thick skin and a tender heart.”
  • Beauty is a “Clue” that God Exists. Kyle Werner interviews Dan Forrest, a composer living in Greenville, South Carolina.
  • work hardNobody Cares How Hard You Work. Oliver Burkeman writes “We chronically confuse the feeling of effort with the reality of results.”
  • Can One Marriage Support Two Callings? Dorcas Cheng-Tozun writes “In the end, we had to confront a question that many couples ask: God has called us together in marriage, but what callings does he have for each of us? How do we balance—and support—our distinct gifts and purposes?”
  • 5 Leadership Questions with Thom Rainer. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper talk with Dr. Thom Rainer, the President of LifeWay Christian Resources, and one of the most influential leaders of leaders in the church world today.
  • Four Reasons to have a “Stop Doing” List. Eric Geiger writes “A “stop doing” list forces you to evaluate what you and your team are doing and to eliminate that which is not the most fruitful. Just as waste accumulates in a spare room in a home, waste has a tendency to accumulate in any organization. Unnecessary activities and unfruitful actions threaten effectiveness”.
  • A Common Calling. Steven Garber writes “What is plain to me is that a long-loved love requires a common calling…We don’t fall in love and then get married; instead we get married and then learn what love requires.”
  • Seven Ways to Improve Your Team. David Mathis shares “seven ways, among others, for ministry teams (and especially team leaders) to pursue health and fitness in team dynamics”.
  • Top Twelve Trends in Leadership Today. Brad Lomenick shares key trends happening in leadership today
  • 5 Things You Need to Succeed. Mark Miller writes “Conventional wisdom says, “10,000 hours of deliberate practice will make you world-class”. However, if you can’t devote 10,000 hours, what do you need to succeed?

frayed rope

  •  Subtle Signs of Stress. Charles Stone writes “For years doctors have warned us that prolonged stress can hurt our bodies such as causing high blood pressure and stomach problems. But as neuroscientists learn more about our brains, they’re discovering that stress can diminish brain functioning which in turn shows up in subtle ways in our bodies. Take this quick self-evaluation and ask yourself if any of these are true of you.”
  • Three Ways Leaders Must Communicate Vision. Eric Geiger writes “If you want vision to be embraced, it must be repeated over and over again.
  • Finish the Drill. Mark Miller gives us some tips on how to follow-through on our goals.
  • Insecurity. Dave Kraft writes about insecurity, calling it the biggest issue he has struggled with as a Christian leader.
  • Vision: A Conversation with Frank Blake, Part 2. In this edition of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley continues his conversation with Frank Blake on organizational vision and how to get things done.
  • 7 Popular Myths about Leadership. Ron Edmondson writes “I have observed leadership is often not easy to define as a few simple words. In fact, there are many myths when it comes to even what leadership means — certainly how it’s practiced. I encounter people who don’t have a clue what real leadership is and what it isn’t.”
  • Secrets of the Top 10%. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “According to Lewis Timberlake, in his book It’s Always Too Soon To Quit, statistics show that only 10% actually succeed at all their goals, making the changes they need to make to get the success they want. The other 90%, to some degree or another, may have some goals but they’re convinced they’ll never achieve them.

favorite quotes

  • John MaxwellPeople will not give you their hand until they can see your heart. John Maxwell
  • Most people are more comfortable with old problems than new solutions. John Maxwell
  • Rather than being a jack of all trades and master of none, be a jack of a few trades and master of one. John Maxwell
  • Leadership functions on the basis of trust, and when the trust is gone, the leader soon will be. John Maxwell
  • Higher calling matters. When you care so deeply about the why—why you’re doing what you’re doing—then and only then are you operating in a way that allows you to overcome the obstacles. Dave Ramsey
  • Just keep taking the next step and keep having excellence in the ordinary. Dave Ramsey
  • When I think of character, I think of not only behavior but also of motive. What it is that drives you to serve and do what you are doing? Ravi Zacharias
  • What’s not working in your life? Challenge your beliefs to see what is working for you and what isn’t. Ken Blanchard
  • The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life – mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical. Coach K
  • Martin Luther was once asked by a man how he should serve the Lord. “What is your work now?” Luther asked. The man replied, “I am a shoemaker.” Luther said, “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.”
  • Matt ChandlerYour vitality is going to not be so determined by how you manage your time or what programs you implement but really your vitality and strength in leadership comes from your knowledge of Jesus Christ and how well you see him and what you actually believe about him. Matt Chandler
  • I think leadership just comes down to walking in a humility that allows you to learn from others and hear from others, that isn’t quick to judge, that allows you to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. Matt Chandler
  • Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln
  • Hard work is a prison cell only if the work has no meaning. Malcolm Gladwell
  • Greatness is not about personality. It’s about humility, plus will. That is where the essence of leadership begins. Jim Collins
  • We don’t just enter the mission field when we leave our church parking lot, but when we get out of bed every day. Burk Parsons

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 10: Pathway 1 ~ Bloom Where You’re Planted

  • Three key commitments mark congregational leaders who are effective in encouraging their members to steward their vocations for the common good: affirmation, education and support
  • Affirmation. Nurturing the tsaddiqim to bloom at their job begins with solid preaching based on the theological convictions examined in previous chapters.
  • At The Falls Church, for example, in the congregational prayer every Sunday, four or five church members are specifically prayed for by name and vocation.
  • Church leaders can also affirm their marketplace professionals by formally commissioning them during worship services.
  • Pastor Tom Nelson from Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kansas, uses workplace illustrations in sermons and invites testimonies from marketplace members. He and his staff also visit church members at their work sites.
  • Education. In addition to affirming their members’ daily work, church leaders can promote “blooming” by offering adult education opportunities devoted to faith/work integration topics.
  • Some churches have found that gathering members into vocationally based small groups is a good strategy for helping believers deepen their understanding of and commitment to faith/work integration. Redeemer Presbyterian Church, a megachurch of more than four thousand attendees in New York City, leads the oldest initiative of this sort that I found in my research. Its Center for Faith and Work, launched in January 2003, seeks to “equip, connect, and mobilize our church community in their professional and industry spheres toward gospel-centered transformation for the common good.””
  • We need to get to the point in our churches where even children can describe what “vocational stewardship” is. They will be able to do so if we regularly tell the stories of what it looks like in every sector of society.
  • The professionals profiled throughout this chapter demonstrate that it is possible for Christians in the marketplace to go far beyond the traditional ways of connecting faith and work (that is, practicing personal morality and studying the Bible with others in the workplace). Their stories point to several additional arenas where kingdom values can be advanced, such as how employees are selected, treated and managed; how a firm’s profits are used; how an organization practices environmental stewardship; how its products are designed; how it relates to others in its industry; and how it contributes to its community.
  • As church leaders encourage their members to wed their faith and work, they should challenge them to ponder this question: “In my current job, am I doing all I can to deploy my vocational power to promote kingdom foretastes? Am I truly blooming where I’m planted?”
  • Even believers with limited authority at their workplaces can be creative about stewarding the level of influence they do possess. Specifically, church leaders can respond with the following. First, they can encourage church members to educate themselves about the working conditions of everyone below them in their organization. Believers can strive to develop friendly, respectful relationships with those workers, learning their names, inquiring about their families.
  • Believers in the firm-including those not high up themselves-may be encouraged by church leaders to improve the quality of life for the lowest-level workers in some simple, practical ways.
  • Regardless of what position a believer holds at the firm, he could start a quiet, intercessory prayer ministry.
  • Church leaders should remind their congregants that, in many firms, even employees in the lower echelons can offer suggestions about ways the organization could be more engaged in the community.
  • There is also nothing to stop a small group of believers at an organization from forming their own emergency benevolence fund. They could seed the fund with their own contributions and then invite other employees to contribute.
  • Additionally, even employees with modest positions or low seniority can suggest small, doable reforms in terms of the organization’s energy and resource use, to inch the firm in a “greener” direction.
  • Another strategy involves tweaking initiatives that already exist at the company in order to promote the values of equality or opportunity.
  • The point is this: congregants need to understand that wherever they are, regardless of their status, they can probably do at least one thing that advances kingdom values like justice or beauty or compassion or economic opportunity or creation care.
  • There remains a role for church leaders to continue to teach on some less “sexy” familiar topics as they disciple their people for blooming. One is ethics. Since the workplace is fallen, there will always be a place for strong teaching from the pulpit on personal holiness on the job.
  • The second is evangelism. Church leaders should regularly remind their flocks that the amazingly good news of the good news needs to be shared with our nonbelieving coworkers.
  • Finally, church leaders should continue emphasizing one other E-word: excellence.
  • In some cases, given the weight of their individual responsibilities, some believers may need to view excellence as the highest among the kingdom values they are seeking to live by as they bloom for Jesus in their profession.

no purpose

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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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