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

CALLING AND VOCATION:

  • Pursue Your Vocation. Tim Challies writes “If you are going to run to win, you, like Jesus, must pursue your vocation.”
  • Your Calling is More Than Your Job. Art Lindsley writes “Before we devote ourselves to a job or role, as Christians, we should devote our lives to God. Before he calls us to a job, God calls us to himself. That is and always will be our greatest call. Our answer to this call should inform and transform every area of life.”
  • Rethinking Christian Calling. Kyle Borg writes “You don’t need a divine calling to confirm the decisions in your life. In a sermon Augustine once famously said, “Love, and do what you will.” Not to tinker unnecessarily with the words of Augustine, but if I can modify that slightly I would say: glorify God in whatever you do, and do what you want. Glorify God in your relationships, and marry who you will. Glorify God in your studies, and study what you will. Glorify God in your job, and work where you will. Glorify God, and do what you want.”
  • Jesus Calls the Disciples (Matthew 3-4). Jonathan Pennington and Alice Mathews of the Theology of Work Project write “Does a call from Jesus mean that we have to stop working at our current job and become a preacher, pastor, or missionary?”
  • Work as Ministry. John A. Bernbaum writes “Viewed biblically, every Christian has ministerial rank! After all, if we are going to be “Ambassadors of the King,” ministerial rank is required.”
  • How God Sees Your Work. Listen to this Table Podcast with Darrell L. Bock and Stephen Ramseur.
  • There’s Nothing Ordinary About You. Art Lindsley writes “Many of us have lost our sense of dignity and self-worth. As a result, we are blind to our own inherent creativity and God-given talents.”
  • One Calling, Multiple Expressions. What does it mean to have a calling? How can we each know what it is we’re meant to do? Annie F. Downs reminds us that God has a specific call on each of our lives and no matter what our vocation is, our role matters.
  • On Calling, Ambition and Surrender. Many of us struggle to discern our role in God’s bigger plan for the world; some of us even struggle to see God’s plan at all. We’re unsure of our purpose, or uncertain of how we can use that purpose to bring renewal to our communities. Pete Richardson helps executive, church, and cultural leaders hone in on their life purpose and perspective. He reveals some of the questions we need to ask ourselves, and the results we can expect when we respond to God’s very personal assignment for each of us.

CHRISTIANITY AT WORK:

A HEALTHY WORK AND TEAM ENVIRONMENT:

  • Teamwork at the Top. Patrick Lencioni writes “The lesson for all leaders is simple: talent matters but doesn’t surpass teamwork. And teamwork is not a principle that leaders can simply insert into an organization. It has to be embraced, lived, modeled at the highest level, and then, and only then, can it be credibly promoted from the top.”
  • 4 Easy Steps to Healthy Delegation. Ron Edmondson writes “I realize it’s not easy for some to delegate responsibility. It comes with discipline and practice.”
  • 5 Consequences for Not Resting. Eric Geiger writes “Wise leaders know that a leader who fails to rest is a leader who fails to lead effectively. If you don’t rest, you won’t lead effectively. If you don’t lead your team to rest, they won’t lead as effectively as they can.”
  • Collective Impact: The Missing Piece of the Faith-Work Puzzle. Jeff Haanen writes “The single biggest problem with the faith and work movement today is fragmentation and the absence of shared goals.”

LEADING:

  • How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge. In this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, Stanley talks with Clay Scroggins about how to leverage influence when you lack authority.
  • 5 Ways to Become a Better Leader. Carey Nieuwhof writes “In many ways, great leaders master some very basic things that other people miss. The advice in this post is so simple you might be thinking “well, my mother used to tell me to do that”.
  • Doers and Delegaters. Tim Challies writes “If you are called to lead, you need to display godly character in your acts of service. Go low! Serve God by serving others! But understand that you can only lead skillfully and successfully if you are willing to delegate. Sometimes the way to do is to delegate.”
  • Two Ingredients of Every Good Strategy.Steve Graves writes “When it comes to planning and strategy, there are two voices you always want to hold in tension. They’re the voice of thoughtfulness and the voice of humility.”
  • 7 Actions Which Cripple Leaders. Ron Edmundson writes “I’ve learned along the way to being a better leader that there are some things which simply keep leaders from being effective. I used the word “cripple” in the title and I don’t think that is too strong a word.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Leadership is not a journey to help ourselves rise through the ranks. Leadership is a journey to help those around us rise. Simon Sinek
  • All men were created to busy themselves with labor for the common good. John Calvin
  • Leadership is stewardship. Ron Edmundson
  • Extraordinary achievers compare themselves with their potential. Andy Andrews
  • Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and instead think of what could go right. Coach K
  • Without integrity, your other values don’t matter. Jesse Lyn Stoner
  • Image is what people think we are. Integrity is what we really are. John Maxwell
  • America will truly be great again if we return our roots of calling and covenant. Os Guinness
  • Great leaders make a tangible, meaningful difference in the lives of the people they are called to serve. Patrick Lencioni

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

The Little Things: Why You Really Should Sweat the Small Stuff by Andy Andrews. Thomas Nelson. 160 pages. 2017
**** 

This short book is packed with wisdom, humor and wit. Andy Andrews is an excellent communicator, and he brings those skills to this book about subtle differences that can be harnessed by individuals, teams, and corporations to separate themselves dramatically from their industries’ averages. He writes that nothing excites him more than a focused search for little things that make big differences. In this book, he shares stories that not only make a point but have a purpose beyond the point.
The book covers a wide range of thoughts, including chapters that will bring peace to your family, and some, when you harness what they teach, can make you a lot of money or turn your team into a winner.
He writes that in order to change your life, all you need is one idea. ‏‏One idea will change everything. One idea will change the world. He writes that if we are to become extraordinary achievers, we must learn to recognize the little things that actually create the gap—and, consequently, the difference in opportunities—between one and two. The difference really is in little things because the actual gap between first and second place is most often ridiculously small.
He asks what are the “things” that create the life of our dreams, and states that it is really the small stuff. Small, strategic moves in the beginning of any endeavor yield massive growth down the road.
‏‏He tells us that most people live their entire lives without ever thinking beyond what they have come to believe is true. But it is a valuable person who manages to see a new way of thinking as an opportunity. He encourages us to not always believe everything we think. To do so will be the end of any exponential growth you might have experienced in your life. To begin to compete at a different level, he encourages us to examine our thinking, especially about how things are done in our industry—and realizing we can’t always believe everything we think.
‏‏He returns to the concept of perspective, one he has written about extensively in the past. He tells us that it is critical that we understand the difference between perception (how a situation is perceived) and perspective (what one decides what the facts of that moment mean in terms of direction toward one’s ultimate desired destination).
He tells us that average people compare themselves to other people, while extraordinary achievers do not compare themselves to other people. Instead, they compare themselves to their own potential. ‏‏He tells us that if we want to be an extraordinary achiever, then we really do want to be different.
I found his discussion of change to be of particular interest. He writes that change is a constant and all-encompassing reality. Change is a part of everything we do, every day of our lives. He debunks three common myths about change and replaces them with two convincing change ingredients, which are:

Change Ingredient #1: What’s in it for me?
Change Ingredient #2: Proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

He tells us that if you understand the myths and the elements of change, you can respond to it with confidence and creativity and even joy. And we can help others respond positively as well.
‏‏He writes that a person cannot achieve beyond what they really believe to be the truth about themselves. ‏‏What a person really believes is so powerful that their belief actually controls their behavior. He tells us that we should spend less time setting goals to satisfy the expectations of other people and use more time to concentrate fully upon legitimately increasing the level of what we really and truly believe is possible. And he tells us that this can only be done by aligning ourselves on a course to pursue the life that God has identified for us as the very best.
The book covers a wide range of thoughts, some of which could be expanded into an entire book on their own. The book concludes with a helpful Reader’s Guide, with questions that will be helpful whether reading the book together or in a book club with others.

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

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans  Knopf. 274 pages. 2016

My wife Tammy and I are reading and discussing this book this summer. I first heard about it from the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. This week we look at Chapter 3 – Wayfinding:

  • Dysfunctional Belief: Work is not supposed to be enjoyable; that’s why they call it work. Reframe: Enjoyment is a guide to finding the right work for you.
  • Wayfinding is the ancient art of figuring out where you are going when you don’t actually know your destination.
  • What you can do is pay attention to the clues in front of you, and make your best way forward with the tools you have at hand. We think the first clues are engagement and energy.
  • Feeling bored, restless, or unhappy at his job, and what exactly he had been doing during those times (the times when he was disengaged). Excited, focused, and having a good time at work, and what exactly he was doing during those times (the times when he was engaged). Michael was working on what we call the good time journal.
  • When you learn what activities reliably engage you, you’re discovering and articulating something that can be very helpful in your life design work.
  • Flow is that state of being in which time stands still, you’re totally engaged in an activity, and the challenge of that particular activity matches up with your skill—so you’re neither bored because it’s too easy nor anxious because it’s too hard.
  • Flow is one of those “hard to describe but you know it when you feel it” qualitative experiences that you’ll have to identify for yourself. As the ultimate state of personal engagement, flow experiences have a special place in designing your life, so it’s important to get good at capturing them in your Good Time Journal.
  • Flow is something we should strive to make a regular part of our work life (and home life, and exercise life, and love life…you get the idea).
  • It’s no wonder that the way we invest our attention is critical to whether or not we feel high or low energy.
  • Some activities sustain our energy and some drain it; we want to track those energy flows as part of our Good Time Journal exercise.
  • Here’s another key element when you’re wayfinding in life: follow the joy; follow what engages and excites you, what brings you alive.
  • Work is fun when you are actually leaning into your strengths and are deeply engaged and energized by what you’re doing.
  • It’s crucial for you to assess how well your work fits your values and priorities—how coherent your work is with who you are and what you believe.
  • We are suggesting that focused attention on engagement and energy level can provide very helpful clues to wayfinding your path forward.
  • There are two elements to the Good Time Journal: • Activity Log (where I record where I’m engaged and energized) • Reflections (where I discover what I am learning).
  • The Activity Log simply lists your primary activities and how engaged and energized you were by those activities. Log activities at least twice a week or you’ll miss too much.
  • The second element of the Good Time Journal is reflection, looking over your Activity Log and noticing trends, insights, surprises—anything that is a clue to what does and doesn’t work for you.
  • Typically, after you start to get the hang of paying more detailed attention to your days, you notice that some of your log entries could be more specific: you need to zoom in to see more clearly. The idea is to try to become as precise as possible; the clearer you are on what is and isn’t working for you, the better you can set your wayfinding direction.
  • The AEIOU method that provides you five sets of questions you can use when reflecting on your Activity Log.
  • Your past is waiting to be mined for insights, too—especially your mountaintop moments, or “peak experiences.”
  • Take some time to reflect on your memories of past peak work-related experiences and do a Good Time Journal Activity Log and reflection on them to see what you find.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

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