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 Articles

christmas giftEvery Square Inch’s Christmas Gift Guide 2015. Bethany Jenkins writes “This Christmas, our faith and work channel—Every Square Inch—wants to celebrate products made by companies founded by Christian entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, they created something from nothing and, along the way, have given people jobs, contributed to the economy, engaged in ethical business practices, been generous with their neighbors, and expressed the creativity of God. Gift Guide 2015

  • Sudden Breakthroughs in Subtle Blind-Spots. Dan Rockwell writes “Truth be told, you have blind spots. The most common blind spot leaders have is believing others have them, but you don’t.”
  • More Significant than What You Do? Steve Graves writes “Who you work for is more significant than what you do or where you work.”
  • How to Be a Spiritual Influence at Work. Listen to Dr. Bill Peel on the radio talk show “Dr. Bill Maier-Live!” on how to be a spiritual influence at work.​
  • How to Witness at Work. Tom Nelson, in this article adapted from his excellent book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, writes “The excellence of our work often gives us the credibility to speak of the excellence of our Lord Jesus and to share the good news with our coworkers.”
  • 15 New Books to Check Out. Brad Lomenick recommends these new books. I plan to read Intentional Living by John Maxwell.
  • 6 Hacks for Better Work/Life Balance. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “If you’re like most people, you probably have some trouble managing your time. You may feel like you’re constantly hurrying or that you’re always short of time. You might even be the kind of person who paces in front of a microwave.”
  • We_Can_Do_It-231x3004 Ways to Better Engage Women in the Workplace. Lauren Hansen continues a series addressing specific questions related to ministry among women through the local church. This time, the question is “Do you have any suggestions about how our women’s ministry can engage professional women more effectively and encourage them as they minister in their workplaces?”
  • Seeking the Prosperity of Our Neighbors. Watch this talk from Amy Sherman, author of the excellent book Kingdom Calling, as she explains how why recognizing our vocational power is so important when seeking the good of our cities.
  • Struggling With Implementing Marketplace Ministry? 50 Ideas to Integrate Faith in the Workplace. The C12 Group asks “Are you looking for ways to transform your organization into your greatest mission field?”
  • How to Respectfully Distance Yourself from Negative People in Your Life. In this episode of his podcast, Andy Andrews answers a listener question on how parenting principles translate to respectfully dealing with the negative people in your business or personal life.
  • How I Work: An Interview with Thomas Kidd. In this edition of the series “How I Work”, Joe Carter interviews historian Thomas Kidd.
  • Benefits of a Common Language. Mark Miller writes “Leaders who create a common language can often make the difficult look effortless.”
  • Faith & Work Prayer Journey. Prayer is absolutely critical in our ability to discern our calling. This winter, the Center for Faith and Work (CFW) is offering two options to deepen your understanding of prayer and vocation with their online Faith & Work Prayer Journey, and their Faith & Work Prayer Nights.
  • Everybody Matters Podcast with Simon Sinek. Simon Sinek joins Bob Chapman on the Everybody Matters podcast.
  • Thriving Cultures Are Built With Recognition and Praise. Marty Fukuda shares five positive behaviors for leaders to immediately acknowledge.
  • 7-signs7 Signs it’s Not Really a Team. Ron Edmondson writes “In my world the word team is used almost on a daily basis. Most of us want to be in a team environment. However, in my experience working with churches – and it was true when I was in business also – more people claim to have it than actually do.”
  • Work Is Worship – Your Worklife is an act of Worship. This video from Work Life asks “Is your work a form of worship? Yes, it is! Worship and work should never become two different things. We worship when we work and we work when we worship, especially when our work is derived from God. It tells us in Genesis that in the beginning God went to work, and what he created was for his purpose and glory.
  • Success. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks about success from the perspective of starting with today.
  • Why Work? Because Work Matters. Steve Garber was the speaker at my graduation from Covenant Seminary last May and is the author of the excellent book Visions of Vocation. He writes about Dorothy Sayers book Why Work? “I think it is as a good a statement about work as anyone has written.”
  • Helpful Models. One of the main purposes of the advisory committee of the Oikonomia Network is to provide resources and support to all our network members, to help them develop pedagogical excellence. The first task has been to review syllabi, papers, videos, and other materials produced by our network schools. The first round of the committee’s review has just been completed. The committee has identified 34 helpful models that illustrate success in integrating work and economics in theological education. This got my attention as I respect two of the people on the Advisory Committee – Donald Guthrie, who formerly taught at Covenant Seminary and Tom Nelson, author of the helpful Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work.

Faith and Work Quotes

  • Change is the only constant— tied neck-and-neck with resistance to change. Dan Cumberland
  • Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better. Coach
  • People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. Dale Carnegie
  • Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Augustine
  • Successful people become great leaders when they learn to shift the focus from themselves to others. Marshall Goldsmith
  • There are three actions of being a servant leader: being present, being accepting, and being creative. It’s not all about you! Ken Blanchard
  • Don’t ever get comfortable when you have the ability to achieve more. Coach K
  • Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top. John Wooden

John Wooden Quote

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

Don't Waste Your LifeDon’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Crossway. 192 pages. 2003  

Other than the Bible, this small book by John Piper has had the most influence on my life. It played a key role in my returning to seminary after ten years in 2005. I have read it almost each year since it was published in 2003. Listen to John Piper describe the book in this less than two-minute video.

This week we start by looking at the Preface of the book:

  • The Bible says, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). I have written this book to help you taste those words as sweet instead of bitter or boring.
  • If you are a Christian, you are not your own. Christ has bought you at the price of his own death. You now belong doubly to God: He made you, and he bought you. That means your life is not your own. It is God’s. Therefore, the Bible says, “Glorify God in your body.” God made you for this. He bought you for this. This is the meaning of your life.
  • If you are not yet a Christian that is what Jesus Christ offers: doubly belonging to God, and being able to do what you were made for.
  • Glorifying God may mean nothing to you. That’s why I tell my story in the first two chapters, called “Created for Joy.” It was not always plain to me that pursuing God’s glory would be virtually the same as pursing my joy. Now I see that millions of people waste their lives because they think these paths are two and not one.
  • The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life. Jesus said, “Whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it.” In other words, it is better to lose your life than to waste it.
  • If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.
  • This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life.
  • Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.
  • Remember, you have one life. That’s all. You were made for God. Don’t waste it.

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 Discipline 2: Create Clarity ~

  • The second requirement for building a healthy organization—creating clarity—is all about achieving alignment.
  • For all the attention it gets, real alignment remains frustratingly rare.
  • Within the context of making an organization healthy, alignment is about creating so much clarity that there is as little room as possible for confusion, disorder, and infighting to set in.
  • The responsibility for creating that clarity lies squarely with the leadership team.
  • There cannot be alignment deeper in the organization, even when employees want to cooperate, if the leaders at the top aren’t in lockstep with one another around a few very specific things.
  • All too often—and this is critical—leaders underestimate the impact of even subtle misalignment at the top, and the damage caused to the rest of the organization by small gaps among members of the executive team.
  • Thinking they’re being mature, leaders often agree to disagree with one another around seemingly minor issues, thereby avoiding what they see as unnecessary contentiousness and conflict.
  • What they don’t understand is that by failing to eliminate even those small gaps, they are leaving employees below them to fight bloody, unwinnable battles with their peers in other departments.
  • No matter how many times executives preach about the “e” word in their speeches, there is no way that their employees can be empowered to fully execute their responsibilities if they don’t receive clear and consistent messages about what is important from their leaders across the organization.
  • There is probably no greater frustration for employees than having to constantly navigate the politics and confusion caused by leaders who are misaligned.
  • Since the 1980s, many organizations have centered their clarity and alignment efforts around a singular tool that has been a major disappointment. What I’m referring to is the mission statement.
  • It can’t be denied that most mission statements have neither inspired people to change the world nor provided them with an accurate description of what an organization actually does for a living. They certainly haven’t created alignment and clarity among employees. What they have done is make many leadership teams look foolish.
  • What leaders must do to give employees the clarity they need is agree on the answers to six simple but critical questions and thereby eliminate even small discrepancies in their thinking.
  • Failing to achieve alignment around any one of them can prevent an organization from attaining the level of clarity necessary to become healthy. These are the six questions:
    • 1. Why do we exist?
    • 2. How do we behave?
    • 3. What do we do?
    • 4. How will we succeed?
    • 5. What is most important, right now?
    • 6. Who must do what?
  • If members of a leadership team can rally around clear answers to these fundamental questions—without using jargon and shmarmy language—they will drastically increase the likelihood of creating a healthy organization. This may well be the most important step of all in achieving the advantage of organizational health.
  • Answering these questions, like everything else in this book, is as difficult as it is theoretically simple.
  • It can be difficult, however,for a variety of reasons. First, as we explored in the last chapter, it requires cohesion at the top.
  • Second—and this is a big one—it’s often tempting for leaders to slip into a marketing or sloganizing mind-set when answering these questions, trying to come up with catchy phrases or impressive-sounding statements. This is a sign that the team is missing the boat and has been distracted from its real purpose: establishing true clarity and alignment.
  • Finally, answering these questions requires time.
  • Taking time to sit with the questions and ensure that all members of the leadershipteam understand what they mean and are truly aligned around the answers is essential.
  • There are no right or wrong answers. I mean, who’s to say what is right and wrong when it comes to setting the direction of an organization?
  • Waiting for clear confirmation that a decision is exactly right is a recipe for mediocrity and almost a guarantee of eventual failure. That’s because organizations learn by making decisions, even bad ones.

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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