Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Minister with Monday in Mind. This episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast is a message from Tom Nelson from the Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference. The gospel speaks into every nook and cranny of life, including the work we’re called by God to embrace for his glory and the furtherance of the common good. Tragically, many church leaders fail to adequately equip congregants for their vocational callings. What’s really at stake when our gospel-centered churches fail to connect Sunday worship with Monday work? What changes will lead to greater pastoral faithfulness and more flourishing congregations?
- How Whole Life Discipleship Changes Cities (Part 1). Amy Sherman writes “We will not see revitalization in our cities without individual congregants coming to a deep understanding and practice of whole-life discipleship. Congregants need to have a vision for how their daily callings—their professions, their family life, their call to citizenship—connect with God’s mission to bring renewal to all things, and particularly to the hurting parts of our cities.” Read Part 2 here. Essays for the Common Good. Luke Bobo of Made to Flourish writes “Our new ebook, Essays for the Common Good: Nine Pastors and Churches Share How They Are Putting Ideas into Practice, is a compilation of essays representing nine pastors and churches whose experiences are as diverse as the contexts in which they serve. They are churches in large cities and churches in rural areas. They are churches with thousands of members and they are churches with small gatherings. But even with all the ways they are different, they each share a belief that the local church can act as a powerful agent of cultural renewal for the common good in their communities.”
- The Faith-Work Gap for Professional Women. Katelyn Beaty writes “One of the most important findings of the Barna survey is that millennials (defined as Americans born between 1982 and 2004) are uniquely accepting of women in the workplace.”
- Why Packing Lunches and Helping with Homework Have Eternal Value. Anna Arnold looks at the relationship between fulfilling our call to the family and flourishing.
- How to Steward Your Passions in the Season of Motherhood. Ann Swindell writes “As Christian mothers, this question bubbles up often: How do we navigate the years of childrearing with our own desires to create and innovate and learn? While there’s no one response for every woman, it’s important to ask the right questions as we consider how to steward our passions and live faithfully in our current season.”
- Be a Boaz in Your Business. Racheal Starke writes “If you’re a man blessed with authority and influence in the workplace, use it to protect and empower women. As you do so, you follow in the footsteps of not just Boaz, but Boaz’s greatest son, Jesus Christ.”
- 5 Traits of a Great Boss. Dan Reiland writes “John Maxwell and Kevin Myers are two great bosses I have worked for in my ministry career. They are both strong visionary leaders, creative, empowering and love God. I’m grateful for them both. I have also known many bosses that other people work for who are a cross anywhere between Mr. Rogers and Godzilla. Extremes I know, but bad bosses are unfortunately all too common.”
- 7 High Costs of Leadership Every Leader Should Pay. Ron Edmondson writes “Leadership should be expensive. If we desire to be leaders it should cost us something. Leadership is a stewardship. It’s the keeping of a valuable trust others place in you. Cheap leadership is never good leadership.”
- The World Will Give You Trouble — Love Anyway. Scott Sauls writes “If you are a Christian leader, boss, or influencer, a time may come when your faith is costly to you and also to those whom you lead and serve.”
- 10 Leadership Books We’re Reading Now. Hayley Panagakis writes “The holidays are fast approaching, and with them comes time to sit back and relax with a book of your choice (paired with a hot cider or cocoa, of course!). Fill your time catching up on these 10 latest leadership books from 2017, listed in no particular order, that are sure to guide you on your journey of being a Leader Worth Following.” A few of these are on my reading list too.
- 10 Books on Christians and Work. David Murray shares his Top 10 Books on Christians and Work,looking at the subject of vocation, or our callings.
- Jesus’ Love at Work Devotional. The demands, pressures and stress of work can put a huge strain on relationships with our coworkers. This 4-day devotional from the Theology of Work Project and WorkMatters provides simple steps you can take to be more loving to your coworkers that will transform those relationships and increase both joy and productivity at work.
- November Tabletalk Magazine – Leadership and Vocation. The November issue of Tabletalk Magazine features leadership as it’s topic and the daily Bible studies concentrate on the doctrine of vocation and the priesthood of all believers.
- Your Work Matters. Listen to Bill Peel from the Center of Faith & Work on this podcast. “Did you know your work matters to God? Many people are called to pulpits and mission fields, but your called mission may be your desk, factory, or work site.”
- What Will Work Be Like in the New Heaven and Earth? Russell Gehrlein writes “Although there are a lot of unanswered questions about the nature of our work for all eternity, these insights should still give us a tremendous amount of hope. They should cause us all to reflect on Paul’s words of encouragement in the context of his teaching on the bodily resurrection of believers: “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).”
- The Key to Gospel-Driven Productivity. Matt Perman writes “What happens when we look at the issue of time management and getting things done from the perspective of the gospel? A surprising insight emerges.”
- Idolatry at the Office. Kathryn Butler writes “The God who gives us life and breath and everything else renews us with his love. He grants us dignity we could never achieve by our own greedy strivings in the early-morning hours. He completes us where we fail, and forges merit that no human hands could achieve. Our identity, our value, our worth, arise from him.”
- Have Faith But Don’t Neglect Common Sense. Steve Graves writes “Regardless of the size of the issue or the stakes of the deal, we can pray as if it all depended upon God and work as if it all depended on us.”
- Facing My Own Restlessness. Scott Sauls writes “As a leader, I am painfully in touch with my own restlessness, especially in the context of my work and goals. Though some would look at my work and chalk it up as some sort of “success,” the truth is that—even in my best and smoothest seasons of leading, when momentum is there and goals are being reached and a mission is being accomplished—the disequilibrium is still there.”
- Depend on God — and Do More. Watch this four-minute clip from a sermon from John Piper. He states “The legacy of John Calvin in the Western world is one of absolute dependence on sovereign grace. And because of that, there was an unleashing of a tidal wave of industry that produced the world you see. It’s called the Protestant work ethic.”
REAL LIFE EXAMPLES:
- Juan Pierre Dreamt of MLB Glory. Now, He Lives to Serve. “On this episode of The Calling podcast, Juan Pierre joins Christianity Todayeditor Richard Clark to share how his love of baseball led to his conversion, how his faith inspired him to be a better player, and why he says service—not performance—is the root of his contentment.”
- How to Find Work You Love with Scott Barlow. In this episode of The Meaning Movement podcast Dan Cumberland visits with Scott Barlow, who shares why it’s a process of continuous iteration and how those iterations have played out in his own life.”
- Interns Seek God Through Work. Adam Pigott writes “While students learned skills needed for their respective internships, Genung also believes her internship allowed her to learn more about herself and her calling.”
- 29 Quotes on Mentoring. Brian Dodd shares these quotes from John Maxwell and Mark Cole on their mentoring relationship.
- Servant leadership is an identity to embrace, not a strategy to deploy. Mark Miller
- The very first way to be sure you are serving God in your work is to be competent. Tim Keller
- A cobbler, a smith, a peasant, every man, has the office and function of his calling. Martin Luther
- Our work is not an interruption to our calling, it’s a part of it. Chris Brooks
- There is dignity in the ‘faithful’ jobs, not just the ‘glamour’ jobs. Aaron Dailey
- Individuals who genuinely flourish in their work understand their work in light of God’s work. Amy Sherman
- Flourishing workers in the workplace practice specific habits of spiritual formation. Amy Sherman
- Disciples that flourish in the workplace live in this time of can: that people can change, that broken things can be healed. Amy Sherman
- Being filled with the Spirit is not only empowerment to become Christlike, but daily power to bring neighborly love to the workplace. Tom Nelson
FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:
H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle by Brad Lomenick. Thomas Nelson. 256 pages. 2015
The author led Catalyst, a movement of young leaders for 12 years. He writes of needing to take a sabbatical which caused him to re-think his leadership. In this book he writes about 20 key transformational leadership habits, organized under the headers Humble, Hungry and Hustle. With each leadership habit, he offers helpful and practical suggestions on how to cultivate each habit from both himself and others (pastors, leaders, authors) who he quotes liberally throughout the book.
He writes that leadership is habitual work. Habits take time to develop. Leaders must develop habits hat create consistency.
Below are a few brief notes I jotted down while going through the book:
Self-Discovery: Know who you are.
- Yoursense of identity will help define your scale of influence
- Discovery is progressive. It is never ending
- Your identity is not what you do, it is who you are
- We receive our identities from God
Openness: Share the real you with others.
Meekness: Remember it’s not about you.
Conviction: Stick to your principles
- Principles vs. preferences. Character
- Your reputation takes years to build, and seconds to destroy
- How do you handle the “grey areas”?Compromise
Faith: Prioritize your day so God is first
- Spiritual disciplines
- Get involved in a church
Assignment: Live out your calling
- Your calling is not your identity. Your calling is your purpose
- Your job is an assignment, it is not your calling. Your calling is made up of assignments.
- Identity – Calling – Assignments
- Are you content in your assignments?
Ambition: Develop an appetite for what’s next.
- Your greatest strength could also be your greatest weakness.
- Set good goals
- Push yourself daily
Curiosity: Keep learning
- Ask great questions
- Surround yourself with people smarter than you
- Read (books, blogs and magazines). Leaders are readers
- Ask yourself, have I learned anything new today?
Passion: Love what you do
- Your team feeds on your energy
- No one on your team will be as passionate as you
Innovation: Stay current, creative, and engaged
- Innovative is the opposite of average
- Leaders change things
- Make meetings more creative
- Create an environment in which failure is OK
Inspiration: Nurture a vision for a better tomorrow
- People long to be part of something bigger than themselves.
- Vision statements and vision casting
- Dream big
- Evaluate regularly.
Bravery: Take calculated risks
- Facing fear and overcoming it
- Take risks
- Embrace uncertainty
- Failure is not necessarily bad
Excellence: Set standards that scare you
- Set standards high
- Do all you can for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)
Stick-with-it-ness: Take the long view
- Disciple and perseverance
- Commit to daily disciplines
- Greatness is a journey, not a destination
Execution: Commit to completion
- Great leaders are great finishers
- Out-work everyone else
- No habit is more important
- Reward completion
Team Building: Create an environment that attracts and retains the best and brightest
- When you prioritize your team, your team prioritizes you
- Be the leader you wish you had
- Provide good experiences
- Reduce meetings
- Measure the morale of your team
Partnership: Collaborate with colleagues and competitors
- Purposeful partnerships are optimal
- Those who don’t form partnerships will sink, those who do will soar
Margin: Nurture healthier rhythms
Generosity: Leave the world a better place
- Involves the head, heart, hand and feet
- Be generous in things such as power, access, time and praise
Succession: Find power in passing the baton
- Success requires succession
- There is power in passing on
- Start earlier than you think you should
The book concludes with an appendix with thoughts on the hard work of leadership from other leaders.
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
I first heard about this book from the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. This week we look at Chapter 9: Choosing Happiness
- In life design, being happy means you choose happiness.
- The secret to happiness in life design isn’t making the right choice; it’s learning to choose well.
- Many people guarantee an unhappy outcome by how they approach this all-important design step of choosing.
- In life design, the choosing process has four steps. First you gather and create some options, then you narrow down your list to your top alternatives, then you finally choose,
- The fourth step in the process is to let go of our unnecessary options and move on, embracing our choice fully so that we can get the most from it.
- Step 1: Gather and Create Options: Write your Workview and Lifeview, to create mind maps, do your three Odyssey Plan alternatives, and prototype conversations and experiences. You can use these option-generating tools for any area of your life.
- Step 2: Narrow Down the List: Most minds can choose effectively between only three to five options. If we’re faced with more than that, our ability to make a choice begins to wane—many more than that and our ability to choose completely freezes. It’s just the way our brains are wired.
- The key is to reframe your idea of options by realizing that if you have too many options, you actually have none at all.
- Step 3: Choose Discerningly: The key to step three is to make discerning decisions by applying more than one way of knowing, and in particular not applying just cognitive judgment by itself, which is informed but not reliable on its own.
- Decision making is stressful, so the best time to prepare for good choosing is when there’s no choice at stake.
- The best time to get ready for step three is months or years before the choosing. That means the best time is right now—today is the best day to start making that investment.
- To grok a choice, you don’t think about it—you become it.
- Step 4: Agonize Let Go and Move On: Before we discuss the step of letting go, it’s important to address, at least briefly, why the fourth step is not “agonize.”
- Our mind-set about how to make a good decision is as important as which decision we make.
- Do yourself the favor of getting lots of options, then culling the list down to a short and manageable size (five max); then make the best choice that you can, given the time and resources available to you, get on with it, and build your way forward.
- Designers don’t agonize. They don’t dream about what could have been. They don’t spin their wheels. And they don’t waste their futures by hoping for a better past. Life designers see the adventure in whatever life they are currently building and living into. This is how you choose happiness.