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

MY JOB:

  • What Do I Do If My Job Is a Bad Fit? Russell Gehrlein writes “Finding a new job in your same field or making a radical change to something new is always a spiritual journey. You may need to boldly step out in faith. God may change the circumstances, or he may change you.”
  • How Do I Glorify God in My Job? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “In Colossians 3:22-24, Paul exhorts his readers to ‘work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.’ Does this mean that any work not done in excellence is sinful? And how do we apply God’s view of work to cleaning our house, writing a paper for school, or working a 9-to-5 job? I have been feeling guilty about the way I handle these things for months now, and I’m not sure if I’m just being lazy, self-righteous, or am I disobeying the Lord?”
  • Can a Work Colleague Be Your “BFF”?Art Lindsley writes “So enjoy, as far as possible, all your friendships at work and play. Appreciate the common circumstances and fun times you have together. But don’t necessarily expect that all those relationships will be equally lasting.”

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • Your Purpose Is Revealed in God’s Design and Desire for Creation. Hugh Welchel writes “Deep within each one of us is a hunger to live a life of significance and purpose. The key to satisfying our hunger for meaning is understanding one basic principle: we are stewards of everything we have.”
  • The Four Postures Toward Faith in the Workplace. Jeff Haanen writes “How do should I think about the role of faith in my company? How do corporations in America today handle issues surrounding spirituality in the workplace?”
  • How to Work Hard and Be Happy. J.D. Greear writes “I fear that for many people, you will grow old and realize that you gave away the greatest moments of your lives to an elusive future that didn’t deliver what it offered. I’m not talking about sacrifice for the mission (which we can—and should—joyfully embrace). I’m talking about yearning and endlessly working for that ethereal something to fulfill you somewhere out there in the future.”
  • Dear Cinderella Mamas. Alyssa Miller writes “When we lean in to hear God from a place of contentment, we are free to hear him say, “Stay. Be. Slow down.” And we are free to hear him say, “Go. Move. Do.” He may call you, in addition to the precious and weighty responsibilities of raising children, to pursue a business endeavor or help with a community development initiative. He may call you to a church leadership position. He may call you to homeschool your children. But let the call be from him, not from a desire to fulfill wanderlust or craft a public persona of yourself.”

  • How to Be Busy but in Balance. Ed Stetzer shares some he has found helpful as he seeks to steward my time well.
  • S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters on Gratitude and Discontentment. Jessica Schroder writes “Seeking just to “climb the ladder” is antithetical to practicing thankfulness for your present job situation. It is impossible to give thanks while acting out of discontentment.”
  • Will God Call Me to a Career I Don’t Enjoy? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper responds to the question “Can a believer ever be called to a lifelong career for which they do not enjoy?” What would you say to Joshua?
  • Working for Our Father: A Focus on Relationship vs. Tasks. Stevan Becker writes “Focusing on working for our Father is key to enabling the goodof work to minimize the toil of work.”
  • Know Your Eternal Purpose to “Run the Race” with Perseverance. Anne Bradley writes “You are contributing to kingdom-building as a waitress, mother, CEO, teacher, or security guard. This requires endurance because life is hard, and we are fallen people. The beauty is that you can advance the kingdom by being a hairdresser. You don’t have to be the president or a senator or on the ForbesRichest list.”
  • Sayers: Why Beauty and Excellence Matter in Our Work.Art Lindsley writes “Viewing work as a creative act, one purposefully carried out as an act of worship and excellence, could truly revolutionize how we view vocation and how we go about our daily tasks. Sayers’s desired “revolution in work” may yet be realized.”
  • The Science of WHY. Simon Sinek writes “Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”
  • Gospel Coalition Online Faith and Work Courses. The Gospel Coalition recently introduced a new a completely free online learning platform. Check out these faith and work courses.
  • Employee Tragedy: What is the Role of the Christian Business? Chris Patton shares seven areas in which you need to be prepared to act in the event of tragedy at your business.

CHRISTIAN LEADERS:

  • Goodbye Moral Majority. Let’s Be a Love-Driven Minority. Scott Sauls writes “So lead on, Christian leader. Even if things get so bad that you are tempted to throw in the towel, even if your every effort to love, lead, and faithfully serve your neighbors gets squashed, even if the world responds to your love with rejection and resistance, you must continue to love on and to lead on.”
  • Leading with Conviction. Albert Mohler writes “The leadership that matters most is convictional—deeply This quality of leadership springs from those most deeply held beliefs that shape who we are and establish our beliefs about everything else.”
  • 7 Practical Indicators of Good Leadership Character. Dan Reiland writes “Good character is the indispensable quality of leadership.”
  • Simon Sinek’s 5 Steps for Mastering the “Infinite” Game of Leadership. Randy Conley writes “In the VUCA  (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world in which we live, the most successful leaders and organization are learning to play the infinite game, not the finite one. The “game” of leadership and business is an infinite game where the rules change frequently, competitors come and go, and there is no end point to the game. You are either ahead or behind. There is no ultimate winner or loser. The infinite game continues indefinitely until someone loses the willor resources to keep playing.”
  • Five Actions of a Godly Leader. Chris Brown writes “Inspiring a team to follow you is not about the money or tight control. It’s about leadership. So what makes a great leader? Here are five guiding principles that some of the best of the best live by.”
  • When a Leader Has Doubts. Dan Reiland writes “All leaders have doubts. As Christian leaders, we want to have faith to move mountains, but sometimes our faith is too small. What makes that happen? Why can’t we believe big all the time?”
  • Wellness and Work: What’s the ROI of Caring? Bob Chapman writes “Most leaders understand their influence on team members’ lives during work hours, but often enough, they don’t think about how their leadership affects team members outside of the workplace as well.”
  • A Good Leader Doesn’t Lead Everyone the Same. Eric Geiger writes “It is not fair for a leader to lead everyone the same way because every person on the team is different and needs different leadership. To lead every person the same way is to discount each person’s development, each person’s experience, and each person’s level of commitment.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • How am I supposed to do what God wants me to do? My sufficiency is in God alone. Alistair Begg
  • The journey to high performance always begins with leadership. Mark Miller
  • Every great team must suffer a little, and sometimes a lot, in order to achieve greatness. Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Patrick Lencioni
  • You will not last long in hard places motivated by guilt. You must be motivated by grace and glory. Kevin DeYoung
  • Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln
  • The unifying activity of the Spirit is to bring all of creation to its God-given end. This has profound implications for work. David Kim
  • Humble leaders provoke levels of loyalty, commitment and performance that more ego-centric leaders can’t quite elicit or understand. Patrick Lencioni
  • Leaders must draw the best out of people, and friendship does that far better than prolonged argument or mere logic. Oswald Sanders
  • Forty percent of the things you worry about will never occur anyway. Andy Andrews in The Noticer

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

The Mythical Leader: The Seven Myths of Leadership by Ron Edmondson. Thomas Nelson. 221 pages. 2017
****

I have enjoyed the author’s leadership blog for the past few years and was very much looking forward to this new book – and I was not disappointed. The author has been a senior leader in business, government and the church so he is well-qualified to write this book on leadership. The book is well-written and practical, with helpful takeaways such as six casualties of people-pleasers and four wrong ways to respond to criticism.
The author writes that in his work with hundreds of pastors and churches, the single most common need he has found is the need for more effective leadership in the local church. I agree with him that seminaries don’t teach pastors to lead (but they should). In this book, he exposes some of the common misunderstandings of leadership, shares stories from his experience, and helps the reader develop healthier patterns to improve individual leadership skills.
The seven myths he addresses are:

Myth 1: A Position Will Make Me a Leader. This myth reminded me of “Level 1: Position”, from John Maxwell’s book The Five Levels of Leadership. The author writes that your title does not matter. What matters is how you carry out the work you are responsible for doing. He tells us that ultimate leadership is proven not by position or title, rather when, by our sacrifice, we help make life better for other people.

Myth 2: If I Am Not Hearing Anyone Complain, Everyone Must Be Happy. One good takeaway I got from this particular myth was to never assume agreement by silence. Never assume people are on board because they have not indicated otherwise.

Myth 3: I Can Lead Everyone the Same Way. I’ve always said that I don’t treat everyone the same way, but I treat everyone equally fairly. The author states that when you fail to remember that people are different, you frustrate the people you are trying to lead. You get poor performance from the best leaders on your team, and worst of all, your team fails to live up to its potential. He states that people are different and require different leadership styles.

Myth 4: Leadership and Management Are the Same Thing. The author tells us that leadership and management are not equal and they require different skills. Every organization needs both leadership and management. Leadership is more about empowerment and guiding people to a common vision, while management is more about maintaining efficiency toward a predetermined destination.

Myth 5: Being the Leader Makes Me Popular. The author states that there is sometimes a loneliness in leadership that cannot be avoided. He tells us that we should not offer to lead if we are not willing to sometimes stand alone. He writes that the goal of leadership is not to make everyone happy. It is to lead people to a better reality than they know today.

Myth 6: Leaders Must Have Charisma and Be Extroverts. I found this section to be particularly helpful as I am a leader who is an introvert. In the past, I’ve taken personality assessments indicating that I (as an introvert) would not make a good leader. The author, an introvert himself, tells us otherwise.

Myth 7: Leaders Accomplish by Controlling Others. We’ve probably all worked with a controlling leader. He writes that controlling produces horrible overall results for the organization, keep people from developing as leaders themselves, and rob the organization of their leadership potential. He states that you cannot lead well and be a control freak at the same time. In fact, controlling is not really leadership, but closer to dictatorship.

I enjoyed and benefitted from this book. I would recommend that you not only read it yourself, but with a group of leaders or with a mentee.  Check out the author’s blog here.

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 11 Building a Team

  • Designers believe in radical collaboration because true genius is a collaborative process. We design our lives in collaboration and connection with others, because “we” is always stronger than “I”—it’s as simple as that.
  • Co-creation is an integral aspect of a design point of view, and it’s a key reason that design thinking works. Your life design isn’t in you; it’s in the world, where you will discover and co-create it with others.
  • Everyone participating in your life design effort in one way or another should be thought of as being a part of your team, but there are different roles to be played, and it’s useful to name them. And, yes, of course, certain individuals will appear in more than one of these roles: Supporters.
  • Supporters are just those go-to people you can count on to care about your life—people close enough to you that their encouragement helps keep you going and their feedback is of real use.
  • Players are the active participants in your life design projects—especially your ongoing work-related and avocational projects and prototypes. These are the people you actually do things with, your co-workers in the classic sense.
  • Intimates include your immediate and close extended family members and your closest friends. These are likely the people most directly affected by your life design, and, whether or not they are actively involved with your life design project, they are the most influential people in it.
  • The Team. These are the people with whom you’re sharing the specifics of your life design project and who will track with you on that project over time at regular intervals.
  • The team’s focus is on supporting an effective life design—no more and no less.
  • The only role that really needs to be defined is that of the team facilitator—the person who organizes when you get together and what you do when you meet. Usually, that’s you.
  • Mentors play a very special role in your life design community or team.
  • We make a clear distinction between counsel and advice. “Counsel” is when someone is trying to help you figure out what you think. “Advice” is when someone is telling you what he or she thinks.
  • We would say that all legitimate mentoring is centered on giving counsel.
  • The most effective communities have an explicit mission that keeps them directed and moving.
  • The community isn’t just gathering for the ad hoc purpose of getting a project done or finishing reading the book together—it gathers because its participants agree that a life lived in a community-supported way is a better designed life, and they stick with it.
  • What makes an effective community is not having people in it with the right expertise or information. What makes it work is people with the right intention and presence.
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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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