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

  • Experiencing God’s Presence in my Military Service (Part 1). Russell Gehrlein writes “I have been reflecting on my military experience over 34 years of serving in and with the U.S. Army.  There is abundant evidence that God has been and is present with me in this work.”
  • Good Men Work Hard and Sleep Well. Marshall Segal writes “Work hard with what you have been given, for as long as you are given, and get some sleep along the way. Trust God’s will willbe done. He will accomplish everything he means to be done through you.”
  • How to Witness at Work. In this workshop from the 2018 Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, Gloria Furman, Lauren Hansen, Jeany Kim Jun, and Regina Robinson discuss how we can carry out the Great Commission in our workplaces. What kinds of sensitivities and clarity are biblical and effective? What is the role of the church? How can we shine the light of the gospel in our various places of work—whether an office, a kitchen, an artist’s studio, or a classroom?
  • How to Fire Someone Like Jesus Would. Brad Larson writes “You can be Christlike and kind to someone as you fire them. You can love them while letting them go. Though it may not be received well, showing sincere tenderness to someone while letting them go is indeed an act of love.”
  • The Dignity of All Work. Tim Keller writes “All work has dignity because it reflects God’s image in us, and also because the material creation we are called to care for is good.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of 3D Leadership: Defining, Developing and Deploying Christian Leaders Who Can Change the World by Harry L. Reeder
    • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • A Conversation with David Murray. In this episode of the Signposts podcast, Russell Moore is joined by author and professor, David Murray. Professor of Old Testament and practical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. They discuss his book, Reset, and explore the idea of applying the gospel to Christians facing burnout.
  • God Has Given You a Unique Platform. Randy Alcorn writes “If you are working a “secular” job, you are not second class in God’s Kingdom. You are no less called or gifted than a pastor or a missionary. Your ministry is to represent Jesus in your own sphere of influence and to provide financial support that enables others to do the work God equips them to do.”
  • 5 Habits to Practice the Presence of God at Work. Justin Whitmel Earley responds to the question “Are there any habits that could help me tie my entire workday to remembering, praising, and loving God?”
  • Ten Commandments for Talking Politics in the Office. Marcus Goodyear offers these suggestions to help us navigate political conversations with grace, both online and in the office.
  • What Should I Do If My Career Has Become an Idol? We can turn even good gifts from God into idols that lure our hearts away from Him. From one of the Ask Ligonier events, B.Charles Jr. offers biblical guidance to help us resist the pull of lesser things with a persistent devotion to Christ.
  • Vocational Discipleship in a Bulletproof Vest. Pastor Bill Gorman writes of his role as a chaplain for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department.
  • The Best Workers Make the Best Neighbors. Tom Nelson writes “The Christian faith compels us to live in such a God-honoring way that we do honest work, make an honest profit, and cultivate economic capacity so we can serve others and help meet their economic needs.”
  • God Can Redeem a Bad Job Choice. Gaye Clark writes “As we prayerfully move through work decisions, let’s yearn for Christ more than a definitive answer to our specific questions.”

Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • If the ultimate example of a leader is our Savior, who forsook his lofty place, suffered willingly and laid down his life for his own, then wherever we are called to lead, we should be known for humble, tender service, not for our power and control. Paul Tripp
  • In America, leaders crave recognition and credit. In Jesus, leaders think less of themselves, and give credit to others. Scott Sauls
  • In America, leaders compare and compete so they will flourish. In Jesus, leaders sacrifice and serve so others will flourish. Scott Sauls
  • 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. Os Guinness
  • The greatest leaders aren’t necessarily the ones who do the greatest things. They are the ones who empower others to do great things. John Maxwell
  • For many, retirement offers a budding hope for work that better aligns with calling, yet is less subject to the deadline-driven pressure of their careers. Jeff Haanen
  • All honest work is dignified if we love our neighbors and strive to serve God in it. Dan Doriani
  • Our aim is to joyfully magnify Christ, to make him look great by all we do. John Piper
  • Whether our work is paid or not paid, our work is to glorify God, honor others, and add value to their lives. Tom Nelson

3D Leadership: Defining, Developing and Deploying Christian Leaders Who Can Change the World by Harry L. Reeder. Christian Focus Publications. 198 pages. 2018
The author, a pastor, writes that the church used to be a leadership factory that developed leaders not only for the church but also for the world.  The church used to serve as a distribution center that deployed those leaders throughout the world. But he tells us that today, it’s the other way around. Most churches now try to make leaders out of people who have been identified as successful in the world. He states that today’s church typically takes the leaders developed under a worldly, self-directed model of leadership, and attempts to deploy them in the church.
The author, unlike many who teach about integrating our faith and work, and myself as well, makes a clear distinction between the sacred and secular, here referring to the church and Christian ministries (sacred) and the world (secular). The book was not what I was expecting it to be. I liked the idea of churches being leadership factories, teaching those within their church’s solid leadership principles, and then deploying them in leadership positions in business, sports, government, non-profits, etc. to use their gifts for the Lord. However, this book focuses primarily on developing leaders for churches and Christian ministries, with only passing references to deploying leaders outside of the church, and no practical steps on how to do this.
The book takes its leadership principles solely from the Bible. It uses many helpful illustrations of leadership, many from military history, for example, but misses out on good leadership teaching from Christian leaders such as John Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni, Ken Blanchard, and others. The author tells us that genuine, effective leadership must be learned from God’s Word, nurtured in God’s church, and then transported into God’s world. He writes that the church must follow the Bible’s model for defining, developing, and deploying leaders while simultaneously rejecting the world’s leadership models and standards.
The author uses the term “3D” leadership for defining, developing and deploying leaders.  Christian leaders are multiplied and mobilized when the church takes the time to define leadership, then develop leaders, and then deploy leaders. He writes that whenever God decided to do something special, He called, equipped and empowered grace-driven leaders, who in turn multiplied themselves through other leaders. He tells us that by faithfully applying the model of leadership revealed in the Scriptures, the church can again turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
The author gets “3D” from Jesus, our model for leadership. For three years, Jesus defined leadership, developed three groups of leaders – He called the Twelve, and He focused on the Three (Peter, James, and John) – and then deployed them with the mission and vision of the Great Commission.
The author provides a short definition of leadership is “A leader influences others to effectively achieve a defined mission together”. He discusses the difference between “thermometer leaders” and “thermostat leaders”. “‘Thermometer” leaders merely reflect the state of our declining culture, while “thermostat” leaders work hard to change it. Good leaders serve others, that is one of the key differences between a thermostat leader and a thermometer leader.
He looks at the two foundational texts for leadership roles in the church, contained in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. He states that the two basic qualifications for a leader in God’s church: a divine calling and a Godly character. Chapter 3 of 1 Timothy lists twenty-seven qualifications and Titus 1 has seventeen of them, and all but one or two are clearly issues of character rather than giftedness. Good leadership needs both.
The author outlines a model for leadership in churches based on principal leaders, proven leaders and potential leaders. A principal leader multiplies himself, developing proven leaders from potential leaders, who then attract other potential leaders. In this model, the principal leader is the pastor, who should invest in a team of proven leaders who each conduct ministry through teams of potential leaders, and then develop ministry teams of possible leaders.
The author looks at three problems that have entrapped many Christian leaders – indolence, immorality, and insubordination. He covers three basic styles of leadership that we see taught or exemplified in the Scriptures – authoritative participatory, and delegated, and also three types of leadership required for a victorious “army” – visionary leadership, strategic leadership, and tactical leadership.
The book is helpful in developing a leadership model for churches and Christian ministries. I wish it would have included more about deploying leaders in business, sports, government, non-profits, education, the home, etc. It also includes an unhelpful dichotomy between sacred and secular vocations.
The book includes helpful “Questions for Thought and Discussion” at the end of each chapter.

Here are 10 of my favorite quotes from the book:

  1. Grace-filled leaders will become transformed leaders, and then inevitably will become transformational leaders.
  2. Modeling is a major key to having the opportunity to influence others, and especially other leaders.
  3. Great leadership requires an understanding of our mission and an unyielding commitment of faithfulness to it
  4. Great leaders are those who intentionally reproduce themselves.
  5. The mark of great leaders is not the number of their followers, but how they attract and intentionally develop the next generation of leaders.
  6. Circumstances do not determine your character, they reveal it, and become the occasion to refine it.
  7. A large following does not necessarily reflect the presence of biblical leadership. A truer test of an effective Bible-based leader lies not with the size of the followership, but with the quality of leaders he or she produces.
  8. A Christian leader is to shape the culture; the culture must not be allowed to shape the leader.
  9. We need men and women who are able to change the trajectory of the culture for the glory of the Lord and the good of others.
  10. The idea of servant leadership is a familiar one that, sadly, is often taught but seldom practiced.

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’ll look at a few takeaways from Chapter 14: “Where the Buck Stops, There I Stand”:

  • The notion of calling is vital to the modern search for a basis for moral responsibility and to an understanding of ethics itself.
  • For modern, secular, freedom-loving people responsibility to God is out of the picture and responsibility to society is out of the question.
  • When we are called to be responsible for too much and responsible to no one, then responsibility itself collapses.
  • The truth of calling provides a profound basis for responsibility.
  • Answering the call by its very nature is a stepping forward to responsibility.
  • We are responsible to God, and our calling is where we exercise that responsibility.
  • Responsibility is most difficult when we are anonymous or invisible to everyone but God.
  • Traditional morality was closely tied to accountability. In the modern world, however, anonymity has risen sharply.
  • Humanly anonymous and invisible, we must consciously hold ourselves responsible to the one audience—the Audience of One—or succumb to irresponsibility.
  • What we do then, when no one sees but God, is the test of our true responsibility.
  • Apart from the call there is no responding and no responsibility.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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