Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Chaplain Works Behind the Scenes with the St. Louis Cardinals. Darrin Patrick is lead pastor of The Journey, a church in St. Louis, and Vice President of Acts 29, a global church planting network. He also serves as Chaplain to the St. Louis Cardinals.
- Designing the Homes of the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bethany Jenkins interviews David Greusel, founding principal of Convergence Design, a Kansas City architectural firm, about his work. With another firm, he was the lead designer for Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, and PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Vocation of a Fast Food Worker. Gene Veith writes “Like a lot of people in this economy, my former student Stephen Williams is “underemployed” right now. But he understands the doctrine of vocation. Read his account of how working in a fast food joint is charged with spiritual significance and gives him occasion to love and serve his neighbors.”
- Why Christian T-Shirts, Movies, & Music Aren’t Very Good. R. J. Grunewald writes “Christian t-shirts, mediocre films about the rapture, and Christian music that is a copycat of the Top 40 are proof that Christians largely misunderstand the doctrine of vocation.”
- When Every Detail Matters. Bethany Jenkins interviews Erin Pommer, who works in the hospitality industry as the director of events at Frasca Food and Wine about she integrates her faith and work.
- Your Greatest Missional Context – Your Vocation. J.R. Vassar writes “What you are doing in your vocation matters. Leverage it for worship and witness. That is how we will advance the mission.”
- Still Learning from My Experiences at Mars Hill Church. Dave Kraft writes “Due to what’s currently going on with a lawsuit being filed, and Mark Driscoll starting a church in Phoenix on Easter Sunday, I felt it would be good to repost this article. Hopefully we can all learn from what happened in (and with) Mars Hill Church and acquire a heart of wisdom in our respective callings, ministries and churches.”
DISCERNING YOUR VOCATION:
- Avoid These Knock-Off Starting Blocks When Discerning Your Calling. Mark Dawson writes “I spend a great deal of time connecting people to calling. But somewhere along the line, our starting blocks went missing. Rather than finding the originals, we’ve replaced them with nice looking knock-offs that fall short of doing the job for which they were intended. Let’s consider three common starting blocks that could be considered knock-offs.”
- In Praise of Ordinary Work. Chris Armstrong, director of Opus: The Art of Work (an institute at Wheaton College dedicated to understanding God’s call for our work in the world) addresses the Wheaton College community.
- Wild Thing. Ashley Cleveland writes “At this time your focus may be your family, your aging parents or your job. All of these are worthy pursuits and important to your story. But my challenge to you is to find a way to nurture those essential pieces of you that run with the wolves, roll in the leaves and bay at the moon, the parts that belong to God and provide Him with no small amount of pride and pleasure. Keep them alive — they are crucial to your shape and your place in this world.”
- Is God Necessary for Vocation? James Clark writes “Vocation, rightly understood, transcends any given job, and our vocational calling—what God calls us to do based on our gifts, desires, and the needs around us—can manifest in several different, discrete jobs.”
- Finding a Job that Works for You and for God. Meryl Herr writes “When we can articulate our sense of vocation, or calling, it becomes easier to give up the scrambling and recognize a sense of purpose in our work. Without such vocational discernment, we may blame the economy or a particular job for not fulfilling our needs.”
- How to Write Your Own Personal Mission Statement. Andy Andrews writes “So if mission statements are so critical that businesses often spend hundreds of hours crafting and fine-tuning them, why do so few people take the time to create their own personal mission statement?”
- Seeking the Prosperity of Our Neighbors. In this video, Amy Sherman, author of Kingdom Calling, explains why recognizing our vocational power is so important when seeking the good of our cities.
- Breaking the Wall That Arrogance Built. Dan Rockwell writes “Think more about changing yourself and less about changing others.”
- Self-Awareness. In this “Minute from Maxwell” John Maxwell discusses that most people are not truly aware of how they are perceived by others and thus need others to speak into our lives. He states that self-awareness is essential to a leader.
- 4 Problems with Perfection. Kevin Lloyd writes “While perfection is inspiring when sought for a season, it is impossible when leading for long-term impact. To lead day after day, year after year, chasing perfect will wear you out. The pursuit of perfection can paralyze leaders. It is not realistic.”
- 5 Strategies for Staying Positive. Dr. Alan Zimmerman shares “a little advice on what you can do to help you with staying positive and to dramatically improve your attitude.”
- Relationships. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell describes relationships are the glue that holds people together.
- Three Ways We Can Better Love Those We Lead. Eric Geiger writes “Christian leaders should be the most loving leaders.”
- How Distraction Addicts Find Focus. Dan Rockwell writes “Meaningful leadership means letting go of meaningless activities.”
- How to Tell the Gospel With Our Whole Lives. In the second part of his series, Mark Dawson turns the question to “Where do we go?”
- In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that trust is the foundation of leadership. It allows you to lead with speed.
- Confronting Challenges. In this edition of Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast, he interviews his mentor Charlie Renfroe about confronting challenges and maintaining trust when things don’t go as expected.
- How I Optimize My iPhone for Maximum Productivity. Michael Hyatt shares the apps he has on his iPhone home screen and how he uses them.
- Tools I Use to Get Things Done. Tim Challies writes “I outlined my preferred productivity tools in Do More Better and if you read that book you will find some detail on Evernote, Todoist, and Google Calendar. Today I want to tell a little about some of the other tools I use in case they are of interest to you.”
- 17 Things You Should Never Say to Employees. Selma Wilson writes “This post is a wake-up call for all leaders of people. Your words carry an enormous and lasting impact in the lives of people. Your position puts you in a place to encourage, build up, develop, challenge, coach, train, and teach. It also puts you in a place that can cause others to lose heart, lose hope, give up, and to even be deeply hurt with scars that last for years or a lifetime. Be aware of the weight of your words on people.”
- 10 Practical Ways to Make Better Decisions. Dan Rockwell writes “Weak leaders silence dissent; wise invite it.”
- Time Management. This podcast from Steven Lawson is geared toward preachers, but has value for any vocation.
- 6 Steps to Turning Ideas into Reality. Brad Lomenick share this process which “can be useful in any organization or scenario, whether you are launching ideas, or just looking to make sound decisions”.
- The Rise of the Modern Control Freak. Tony Reinke writes “It’s time for control freaks to be reminded of our porousness, which means reminded of our vulnerability, and for three ends.”
- 8 Practices of Highly Successful Leaders. Brian Dodd writes “Two different people can look at the same leader. One thinks the leader has underachieved. Another thinks he is at or near the top of his profession. This is the plight of the St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Can you relate?”
- 5 Hidden Fears of Many Leaders. Ron Edmonson writes “As leaders, we aren’t always honest about how we are feeling – especially the fears we have as a leader.”
- How to Develop Confidence as a Leader. Michael Hyatt writes “Challenges are a constant, but confidence is not.” He writes about truths that he calls the Confidence Triad.
- Three Temptations that can Destroy Your Leadership. Dave Kraft writes “All leaders face temptations…some conquer and some cave. The temptations of a leader are not different than what everyone else faces. The difference is that there is usually more at stake and more people affected.”
- Three Essentials in Developing a Team. Eric Geiger writes “When leading a team, many leaders think about what the team does but fail to think enough about the who, the why, and the how. Wise leaders care not only about what people do but whom they serve alongside, why they serve, and how they serve.”
- Good Leadership: Why Leave it to Chance? Bob Chapman asks if leaders are born or made. He writes “The more important question to ask is this: what are the behaviors of good leaders? In other words, what exactly should a leader do when he or she walks through the door every morning?”
- 6 Leadership Mistakes to Avoid. Stephen Graves shares a few mistakes to avoid when leading the high performers in our organizations.
- Five Ways to Know If You Really Are a Leader. Dave Kraft shares these five helpful thoughts and then writes “Please take a few minutes and evaluate your leadership. Where would Jesus want you to experience change?”
- 7 of the Quickest Ways Leaders Frustrate Team Members. Ron Edmondson writes “I have learned there are some actions, which can frustrate people faster than others. This might be a good time to do some self-reflection. As you read these, don’t be quick to think of others – although certainly there will be some of this too – but consider your own actions when you (or I) may frustrate people on your team”.
- 21 Things All Great Leaders Do. Carey Nieuwhof writes “Greatness in leadership is in part born, but it’s also learned. Just because you have the instincts for leadership doesn’t make you a great leader. Great leadership is also about cultivating the right habits and disciplines.”
- 7 Pillars of Long-term, Successful Leaders. Ron Edmondson writes “Leaders who last and are successful for multiple seasons, multiple decades – often in different environments or organizations, with different people – these leaders are rare. And they have shared characteristics. I call traits the pillars of leadership.”
- Traits of a Leader: Don’t Lead Half-Dressed. Stephen Graves writes “Your goal as a leader should be to grow and develop a complete wardrobe of capabilities. This closet includes skills, attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge. You will always need to relate to people; you can’t just sit in a lab and do research. You will always need to be empathetic and be smart.”
- The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. Ken Blanchard
- Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. John Wesley
- If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you need a team. John Wooden
- Life is a narrative in which God Himself is the author. Make your life significant for the purpose for which you were created. Ravi Zacharias
- The pattern for work: rearranging the raw material of God’s creation in such a way that helps the world thrive and flourish. Tim Keller
- I know I am failing to believe the gospel when I increasingly talk about my success. Darrin Patrick
- All productivity practices, all of our work, everything is given to us by God for the purpose of serving others. Matt Perman
- Fulfillment can be found in whatever work God places in front of you, regardless of whether it’s your dream job or not. Hugh Whelchel
- Leaders with the most influence today are more concerned about shepherding compared to shining. Brad Lomenick
Kingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman. IVP Books. 272 pages. 2011.
I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class at Covenant Seminary a few summers ago and read it again recently. It is a book about vocational stewardship that is primarily written for pastors and ministry leaders, particularly those already committed to leading missional churches (those that seek to follow King Jesus on the mission of making all things new). It would be an excellent book for these leaders to recommend to those they lead to help them integrate their faith and work.
Below is an outline that the author follows in this helpful book:
- Provides the biblical foundation for both the “foretaste bringing” mission of the church and the strategy of vocational stewardship.
- Describes the tsaddiqim who try to undertake this labor.
- Looks at the obstacles that have kept many Christians from living as the tsaddiqim, and how churches can respond to those obstacles.
- Provides practical “how to” guidance for church leaders by first looking at the current state of evangelical thinking on the integration of faith and work.
- Discusses a concise biblical theology of work that provides a firm basis for a vocational stewardship initiative.
- Provides the task of discovery, helping those in the church to identify their passions, “holy discontents”, and the dimensions of their vocational power.
- Addresses the task of formation, the shaping of the inner life of those in the church that enables them to be effective, humble and wise stewards of their vocational power.
- Looks at each of the four pathways for deploying those in the church in the stewardship of their vocations.
I found this to be a book that was very helpful in my journey to integrate my faith and work. The author includes several practical examples/case studies that the reader will benefit from.
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
Dr. Nelson is also the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Kansas City. He is also the President of Made to Flourish, a network of pastors integrating faith and work. This is one of the better books that I have read on integrating faith and work. This week we begin our study of the book together by looking at the Introduction:
- I failed to grasp that a primary stewardship of my pastoral work was to assist and equip others to better connect the professions of their Sunday faith with the practices of their Monday work.
- The word vocation simply means “calling.” Properly understood, Christian vocation is centered in a sovereign God who calls us to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ and to follow him in the power of the Holy Spirit as his disciples.
- Os Guinness has given considerable thought to a robust theology of vocation. Keeping the gospel central, Os makes a helpful distinction between our primary calling and our secondary callings. He rightly points out that Scripture first and foremost emphasizes our primary calling to Christ.
- Os also insightfully points out that each one of us has also been given a secondary calling, and an essential aspect of this particular calling is to do a specific work. Yet because we refer to work as a secondary calling, we must not in any way minimize work’s importance in living lives of Christian faithfulness. A large portion of our time on earth is given to our work, and we would be wise to take this stewardship seriously. On the pages that follow we will focus our attention on our secondary calling to work.
- In the first section of the book, we will look at our work through a biblical lens. The second section will focus on how God shapes our lives in and through our work.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
- Do you see your work as a calling?
- How might thinking of work as a calling transform the way you do your work and the kind of work you do?
- What are some ways you currently connect your Sunday faith and your Monday work?
- How might connecting Sunday faith to Monday work change the way you view work?