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

  • Vocation in Retirement. Gene Veith writes “Retiring from the workplace is allowing me to pursue my other vocations and to love and serve my other neighbors in ways that I had neglected.”
  • Why You Can’t Measure the Value of Homemaking.  Andrew Spencer writes “All work that honors God’s design has inherent value; it is good work. Homemaker, engineer, athlete, artist, and janitor all have the potential to fulfill God’s purpose for the world and enhance the common good.”
  • Called to the Cubicle: Regardless of Where We Work We’re All in Full-Time Ministry. Daniel Darling writes “No matter what we do for a living, we’re engaged in full-time Christian ministry from nine to five each day. The cubicle is not a prison but an altar, and knowing that should radically change how we think about the place where we spend a large part of our adult lives.”
  • If He Calls You, He Will Equip You. Stacy Reaoch writes “God often stretches us beyond what we think is possible. He calls us to tasks that seem greater than our capabilities. If you’re in a place of insecurity today, wondering how you’re going to handle the assignment given to you, remember three things.”

  • Servant Leadership Characteristics and Why They are Effective. Maren Fox writes “Nearly 50 years after Robert K. Greenleaf pioneered servant leadership, its key characteristics speak more to today’s workforce than any generation before. He wrote that the servant leader “focuses on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.”
  • Servant.  In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that a servant is someone who is mature and puts the interests of others above themselves.
  • The Servant Formula for Succeeding in Business. Sarah Stanley writes “Greenleaf’s “best test” for servant leaders is if their employees and mentees go on to become leaders, ideally servant leaders, themselves.”

  • Work for the Common Good. God designed every human being to find agency in his or her vocation. If we understand the “common good” as the truest good for all people, how can our work play a role in renewing the world? Author, speaker, and pastor Skye Jethani helps us contemplate how our work is not primarily for the gain of wealth and pleasure—but ultimately an opportunity to cultivate a better world for our neighbors.
  • Common Good Series. From the search for meaning in today’s culture to how people can flourish in the workplace in every season of life, the Common Good Series will provide both pastors and congregational leaders an opportunity to hear from men and women working for the common good of their neighbor. This resource includes Made to Flourish president Tom Nelson, author and speaker Andy Crouch, senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research Amy Sherman, and other pastors and leaders from the Made to Flourish Network.

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • The true leader is concerned primarily with the welfare of others, not with his own comfort or prestige. Oswald Sanders
  • Talent is a gift, character is a choice. Don’t value talent above character. John Maxwell
  • Biblical leadership is quick to repent of wrongs, slow to accuse others & hungry for reconciliation. Wisdom from above sow seeds of peace. Michael Horton
  • If you’re not interested in getting better, it’s time for you to stop leading. Patrick Lencioni
  • Leaders who make the biggest impact also have the strongest sense of calling. Brad Lomenick
  • Don’t let success go to your head, nor let failure go to your heart. Tim Keller
  • The Christian faith gives us a new conception of work as the means by which God loves and cares for his world through us. Tim Keller
  • Living the mission of Jesus means taking your faith into your work and your life and praying for it to change people’s hearts toward God. Tim Keller
  • Most of our desires for success are actually our efforts to be for ourselves what only Jesus can really be for us. Tim Keller

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEWS:

Why Does Your Business Exist? A Christian Business Guide to Creating your Mission, Vision, and Values Statements by Chris Patton. 40 pages. 2017
****

I have read and benefitted from the author’s faith and work blog for a few years now. He writes that you can come to a place where you have a clear purpose for your work in the business and for the business itself. That purpose can be meaningful and can give you the confidence that your impact will outlast your time in the organization. In this short book, he gives us steps to follow to do just that.
The author tells us that while the overall process described in his book is an extensive one, he recommends you compact it into the shortest time possible. He tells us that the steps in the book might stand on their own as individual meetings, or they could be segments of one or more larger meetings. For the purpose of the book, he describes them as individual meetings. At the end of each step the author provides a helpful “Action Steps Checklist”.

The steps are:
Step One: Determine the Team. The first step is to determine the team that will be charged with executing this process.
Step Two: Sell the Why. Get your team together and sell them on why this process is so critical to your future success.
Step Three: Pray Together. The author strongly suggests that once you have the team on board, you stop to pray together before moving forward. He states that if you are convinced that this is God’s business, then you need to seek His wisdom as you proceed.
Step Four: Brain Dump! The idea is to dump every thought or idea onto the table so that you can sort through them to come up with your eventual finished products.
Step Five: Create the Mission Statement. Why does your company exist? That is the core question that a mission (or purpose) statement is supposed to answer.
Step Six: Create the Vision Statement. If the mission statement answers the question, “Why does the business exist?”, then the vision statement describes what the business will look like in the future, where it is going, and/or what it will become.
Step Seven: Create the Core Values. The core values of a business are those qualities that will be true of the business regardless of the market, industry, or timeframe considered.
Step Eight: The Vetting Process. The author strongly suggests that you present your final drafts of the mission, vision, and core values to at least two to three other godly individuals for their review.
Step Nine: Launch! The key is to cast the vision to your employee base first. The author states that your job, as business owner or leader, is to over-communicate your new mission, vision, and values to your entire employee base.

This book provides a very helpful blueprint to follow in helping you determine why your business exists. It won’t take long to read, and the benefits will far outweigh the time you invest in reading the book.
You can subscribe to Chris’s blog here.

The Captain Class: The Hidden Force behind the World’s Greatest Teams, by Sam Walker. Ebury Press
***

The author is the former global sports editor of The Wall Street Journal. During his time as a sportswriter, he covered some great teams, including the 2004 Boston Red Sox. He would write down what he heard from the members of those teams. In this book, he writes of his eleven-year study of 1,200 sports teams since the 1880’s. From that study, he came up with sixteen teams which fit into what he calls “Tier One” teams. American sports fans might be surprised to read about which teams are not on his list – Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins, being two of them. He asks what the most dominant teams in history had in common, and answers that the key is the character of the player who leads the team.
He writes that elite-level captains are not the sort we imagine and shares seven traits of elite captains with helpful examples of captains who demonstrated each. The seven traits are:

  1. They were relentless, tenacious. They gave everything they had.
  2. They pushed the rules to the breaking point.
  3. They led from the back. They were “water carriers”. I particularly liked this trait as it spoke of servant leadership. The author states that the easiest way to lead is to serve.
  4. They were effective communicators.
  5. They motivated with non-verbal displays.
  6. They were not afraid to speak uncomfortable truths.
  7. They demonstrated the ability to regulate their emotions.

An interesting chapter was on “false idols”. Here, the author writes that while Michael Jordan was a great player, he was not a great captain, giving that credit on the Chicago Bulls to Bill Cartwright and Scottie Pippin, who were co-captains with Jordan.
Some of the sports teams and captains he writes about will most likely be new to American readers, such as soccer, rugby, handball and women’s volleyball. I most enjoyed reading about captains I was familiar with, such as Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.
The book, which includes some adult language, focuses on the world of sports, but the principles included will easily translate to other organizations (businesses, churches and non-profits). The author references research studies and includes helpful takeaways, summarizing the main points from the chapter. Although you may not agree with all the teams which made the author’s “Tier One” teams, or his conclusions about Michael Jordan, I believe you will find this an interesting and helpful read.
I first heard about this book from Brian Dodd. Here he shares 25 quotes from the book.

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

The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity, is the new book by Tom Nelson, author of the excellent book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work. Why not consider reading along with us? Download The Economics of Neighborly Love Study Guide from Made to Flourish.  madetoflourish.org/resources/free-download-economics-neighborly-love-study-guide/ …

This week we look at Chapter 1: Neighborly Love

  • The everyday world we live in is an economic world. Daily we are confronted with global economic realities that impact us in a myriad of stress-filled ways.
  • The heartfelt concern I hear from so many people is not merely, “Does my work matter?”, but also, “Is there meaningful work for me to do?”
  • Our lack of thoughtful engagement in the economic challenges of our world is in part due to an impoverished understanding of Jesus’ teaching on the Great Commandment. Could it be we are overlooking something very important?
  • Jesus teaches us that neighborly love speaks into the collaborative work we do every day. He insists that our neighborly love should fuel economic flourishing.
  • A neighbor, properly understood, is a fellow image bearer of God, a member of the family of humanity.
  • Embedded in Jesus’ parable in an intentional contrast between the economic justice perpetuated by the robbers, who wrongly take what is not theirs, and the economic goodness demonstrated by the Samaritan, who generously gives what is rightfully his.
  • Loving our neighbor in need involves both Christian compassion and economic capacity.
  • Properly understood, neighborly love calls for truth, grace, and mercy to put on economic hands and feet.
  • The Samaritan was motivated by heartfelt compassion, but he was also able to engage in loving action because he had the economic capacity to do so.
  • Compassion needs capacity if we are to care well for our neighbors.
  • The gospel not only addresses our greatest impoverishment, which is spiritual impoverishment resulting from our ruptured relationship with God, but also empowers us to address economic impoverishment in neighborly love.
  • A primary way God designed us to love our neighbors is for us to do our work well, and from our work to have the capacity to be generous to neighbors as well.
  • If we have compassion without capacity, we have human frustration. If we have capacity without compassion, we have human alienation. If we have compassion and capacity, we have human transformation. We have neighborly love.
  • The Great Commandment challenges us to better connect Sunday to Monday, not only by nurturing compassionate hearts but also by growing in our economic capacity. And economic capacity does not appear out of thin air. It comes from our faithful vocational stewardship.
  • If we are going to embrace neighborly love, we will have to take the initiative to move out of the comfort zone of our cultural and geographic insularity and get to know our neighbors as people who, like us, have an unique history, have felt the pain of heartache, harbor unfulfilled dreams, and possess underutilized talents and future aspirations.
  • You cannot help your neighbor well if you do not understand economics well, because human flourishing and economic flourishing go hand in hand.
  • An important aspect of being an image bearer of God is to work and to create value by serving others within our collaborative economic system.
  • We are called to be agents of redemption, doing good work as an act of worship, while seeking to further the common good.
  • Doing our work well matters to God and to our neighbor. The best workers make for the best neighbors.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 38 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm 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 2 Corinthians 5:21 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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