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

  • The Church of Chicken. I often say that there is no organizational culture that I respect more than Chick Fil-A. Here’s a long, but excellent, article about the organization.
  • Where is God When I Have Been Fired? Russell Gehrlein writes “I have been reading William Morris’ book Where is God at Work? since last August.  His fresh perspective aligns so well with mine, showing the many ways in which God is present in various challenging situations at work.
  • A Timely New Book on Faith and Work—20 Years in the Making. Craig Sanders reviews Dan Doriani’s new book Work: It’s Purpose, Dignity and Transformation, the best book on work from a Christian perspective that I have read. He writes “Doriani’s years of research and reflection on this important topic sets this text apart from other recent books on the theology of work. His smooth exposition of complex economic and theological themes blended with stories from experience and interviews combine for an eminently readable product. I’d recommend this book to pastors so they can learn about connecting faith and work for their congregations, and the discussion questions in each chapter make this a great resource for small-group studies as well.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
 More links to interesting articles
 The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
 My Review of “The Soul of a Team” by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
 Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • 3 Ways Your Faith Should Shape Your Work. Jeremy Treat writes “For many people today, work is a way of building our own kingdom and making a name for ourselves. The good news of Christ’s death and resurrection frees us from looking to our work as a way of justifying ourselves, and allows us to see work for what it was meant to be: a calling from God to use our gifts and abilities to serve others for his name’s sake.”
  • 9 Essential Points on the Theology of Work. Art Lindsley writes “There is a significant need to recover a biblical theology of work in our time. In the past, there has been a failure of the evangelical church to address a theology of work. Thankfully, there are now a number of churches and organizations that are addressing this issue, but they are still far too few.”
  • Enneagram for Leaders, Part 2. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley continues his discussion with Ian Morgan Cron and Allie Stanley on the Enneagram for leaders. In this episode, they dive deeper into each number and explore their superpowers in the workplace.
  • Sales as a Noble Calling. Rene Vermeulen writes “People should know you claim to be a Christian, and they will watch you to see if you are true to your profession. Therefore, it is imperative that a Christian businessman lives very close to the Lord and asks Him daily to direct his life, so that in selling, too, we may give glory to Him”.
  • Advancing God’s Kingdom Through Your Work: One Young Man’s Story. Hugh Whelchel writes “Through the grace of Christ working through his people, all of our work, even the most mundane things we do, are taken by God and transformed into kingdom work.”
  • 4 Big Ideas on Work. Matt Perman shares four big ideas from Leland Ryken’s book Redeeming the Time: A Christian Approach to Work and Leisure that go to the heart of the biblical and Reformation understanding of faith and work. If you reflect on these ideas, you begin to see how truly transformative they are.
  • Why Creativity is Crucial for Future Success in Business. Toni Ridgaway writes “Our mandate as Christians is not to separate our creativity into spiritual and secular types—or even artistic and non-artistic types. Rather, we are to see the world and everything in it as opportunities to continue the innovation that originally came from the hand of God himself.”
  • Step 2 to Being a Christian at Work: Bless Others. Roland Heersink writes “We are not called just to go to work and set a good example. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus at our workplace. To help us do that, here is a second helpful thought built around another five-letter acronym.
  • True Tolerance vs. Moral Relativism in the Workplace. Hugh Whelchel writes “Christians lose the ability to be salt and light when they bend to moral relativism in the workplace. They lose the opportunity God has given them to make a difference.”
  • How Not to Be Cliquish—or Silent—About Your Faith at Work. Will Sorrell writes “You cannot integrate your faith into your work; rather, you must integrate your work into your faith.”
  • Dodgers Manager is a Servant Leader. Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts patterns his life and leadership after Jesus.
  • Building Vison with Horst Schulze, Part 1. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast Stanley talks with Horst Schulze, former President and COO of The Ritz-Carlton, about building true leadership through vision.
  • What the “Priesthood of All Believers” Means for Your Work. Art Lindsley writes “We as Christians act as agents of reconciliation and restoration, pointing toward the coming kingdom that God has initiated and will complete when Christ returns. Our work is one area of our lives where we bear witness to this promised consummation.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Every person is created in the image of God, full of dignity, with unique talents and gifts to use for the glory of God in their work. One reason why so many Christians fail to discover their vocation is because they don’t fully understand what it means to be made in the image of God. Art Lindsley
  • Work and vocation are not identical. Vocation entails service in the place where God has given gifts and a desire to make a difference in this world. Dan Doriani
  • Leaders are not called to work; they are not called to fill a position, make money, or use their authority to manage people. Leaders are called to serve. Dee Ann Turner
  • For Christians, work is fundamentally about contribution to others, not compensation; it’s an expression of our identity, but not the source of our identity; it’s about serving others, not personal success. Jeff Haanen
  • Wouldn’t it be great if one day every employee had the opportunity to go to work with enthusiasm and to come home more fulfilled as a result of being there? Patrick Lencioni
  • God will call you to do what you cannot do, but will provide everything you need to do it. Paul Tripp
  • True leadership, the kind that results in the greater good, requires a level of selflessness and vision that most people simply don’t have. Patrick Lencioni
  • Your calling, when you find and embrace it, will result in the merging of your skills, talents, character traits, and experiences. John Maxwell
  • A key question you must continuously ask yourself is “Am I a self-serving leader or a serving leader?” Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

The Soul of a Team by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker. Tyndale Momentum. 224 pages. 2019
****

The latest book by NFL Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy is unlike his other books. This one is written as a leadership fable, similar to books by Patrick Lencioni, Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. He tells us that the number one topic he is asked to speak about is teamwork. In this book, he tells an interesting story about the three-year old fictious Orlando Vipers professional football team, at times drawing on actual people and incidents he has observed. He then summarizes his main points in a “Putting the Principles into Practice” section, which includes definitions, diagnosis and development sections. The book also includes a helpful “Group Discussion Guide”. The author writes that while the story may be set in professional football, the principles apply to all teams, whether within a family unit, a company or church, or a high school drama club.
The Vipers had missed the playoffs in the final week of the season, and team president Terry is looking to make major changes, including the firing of key personnel. He reaches out to his friend Tony to do some consulting, to give him a fresh perspective and tell him what is wrong with the team. The Vipers general manager is Gym and Joe is their head coach. In three years, Joe’s record is just 23-25. He is in danger of losing his job. The team is owned by Owen, who is wanting a new stadium to replace their current dated stadium in Orlando. If he doesn’t get the new stadium, he is threatening to move the team to Oakland. In order to build fan support for the team, he needs a winner. The pressure is on.
Tony begins by meeting with the team leadership, including Whit, the team’s offensive coordinator and “DC”, the defensive coordinator. He then gets to know a few of the team’s key players, such as quarterback, Austin, wide receiver Wickie, and running back Don.
The story takes us through the staff getting ready for the college draft, where neither the scouts nor the coaches ever openly addressed any character-related issues—good or bad—when they discussed their target players. They then proceed to minicamp.
After spending a few months with the team, Tony meets with Terry and tells him that in his opinion, the biggest problem with the team is that it’s not a team. There is infighting among the staff, some players are only playing only for themselves, while others are not doing their jobs, and there is a lack of positive core values guiding their decisions and moving them forward. In other words, the problem revolves around teamwork.
Tony introduces the concept of SOUL to the team. SOUL is an acronym that represents four essential principles practiced by truly effective teams. He tells them that he has yet to encounter a successful team that doesn’t practice these principles. SOUL stands for:

S-   Selflessness
O – Ownership
U – Unity
L –   Larger Purpose

Will Tony be able to convince the coaches, players and staff and owner to buy into the principles of SOUL? The future of the franchise in Orlando and several key jobs on the team will depend on it. The book, which takes us through the following season, is a quick-read, and would be a good book to read and discuss with others on your team, but it at work, church, etc.

As I read the book, I highlighted a number of passages. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

  • Teams that exemplify the principles of selflessness, ownership, and unity—teams working toward a larger purpose—are naturally stronger, healthier, more productive, more dedicated, and more successful.
  • Unity isn’t just about everyone getting along; it’s also about making sure everyone feels they’re included, valued, and contributing to the larger purpose.”
  • Simply put, a team that has SOUL can and will accomplish far more than one that doesn’t. It’s what gives a team its identity, its focus, its drive, and its sense of being. It’s what inspires individual members to do their best and to come together as one to achieve something as a group that wouldn’t be possible by any one person.
  • Great leaders set the standard, model excellence, and hold others accountable—and that needs to happen at every level for a team to be successful in the long haul.
  • Putting your interests aside for the good of the team ultimately benefits both you and those with whom you work.
  • No matter your role or position, you must be selfless and realize that it’s not all about you. You are a part of something bigger.

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

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life by Os Guinness is the best book on calling for the Christian that I have read. The first time I read it was in Dr. Douglass’s wonderful “Spiritual and Ministry Formation” class at Covenant Seminary in 2013. In 2018, on the 20th anniversary of the book, Guinness published a revised and updated edition.

This week we look at Chapter 7: Everyone, Everywhere, Everything, an excellent chapter. Here are my takeaways from the chapter:

  • First, calling has a simple and straightforward meaning. When you “call” on the phone, for example, you catch someone’s ear for a season.
  • Second, calling has another important meaning in the Old Testament. To call means to name, and to name means to call into being or to make. Calling is not only a matter of being and doing what we are but also of becoming what we are not yet but are called by God to be.
  • Third, calling gains a further characteristic meaning in the New Testament. It is almost a synonym for salvation. In this context, calling is overwhelmingly God’s calling people to himself as followers of Christ.
  • Fourth, calling has a vital, extended meaning in the New Testament that flowers more fully in the later history of the church. in the New Testament, as Jesus calls his followers to himself, he also calls them to other things and tasks: to peace, to fellowship, to eternal life, to suffering, and to service.
  • Calling in the Bible is a central and dynamic theme that becomes a metaphor for the life of faith itself.
  • Our primary calling as followers of Christ is by him, to him, and for him. Our secondary calling, considering who God is as sovereign, is that everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live, and act entirely for him
  • We can therefore properly say as a matter of secondary calling that we are called to homemaking or to the practice of law or to art history. But these and other things are always the secondary, never the primary calling. They are “callings” rather than the “calling.”
  • Secondary callings matter, but only because the primary calling matters most.
  • If we understand calling, we must make sure that first things remain first and the primary calling always comes before the secondary calling. But we must also make sure that the primary calling leads without fail to the secondary calling.
  • The church’s failure to meet these challenges has led to the two grand distortions that have crippled the truth of calling – the “Catholic distortion” and the “Protestant distortion”.
  • The “Catholic distortion” is a form of dualism that elevates the spiritual at the expense of the secular. The “Protestant distortion” is even worse. This is a form of dualism in a secular direction that not only elevates the secular at the expense of the spiritual but also cuts it off from the spiritual altogether.
  • If all that a believer does grows out of faith and is done for the glory of God, then all dualistic distinctions are demolished. There is no higher/lower, sacred/secular, perfect/permitted, contemplative/active, or first class/second class.
  • Calling means that everyone, everywhere, and in everything fulfills his or her (secondary) callings in response to God’s (primary) calling.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 39 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.

One thought on “FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

  1. Thanks for sharing my article, Bill!

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