Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Working Remotely for the Glory of God. Joe Holland writes “Without question, workspaces around the globe will be forever changed by this virus. But it doesn’t have to be for ill.”
- A Prayer for Working from Home. Will Sorrell offers this helpful and timely prayer for those suddenly having to work from home.
- Understanding How Men and Women Approach Family Life and Work. Courtney Reissig writes “As a Christian, there are overarching principles that can help us in understanding our fellow brothers and sisters as they work and parent. These principles may also help us as we live in community with one another in our local churches, allowing for freedom and nuance regarding our work and family life balance.”
- Are You an Ideal Team Player? Patrick Lencioni thinks it is time to change the way we prepare people for success. Drawing from his book, The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni makes the compelling case that the key to success in an increasingly team-oriented world is being humble, hungry and smart. Whether you’re a CEO or a 7th grader, focusing on these deceptively simple virtues can radically improve your personal and professional effectiveness and fulfillment.
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
- More links to interesting articles
- The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- My Review of
- The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities by Patrick Lencioni
- Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
- Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”
- Why Should I Encourage My Brothers and Sisters in Christ at Work? I enjoyed reading about Russell Gehrlein’s Tuesday lunchtime Bible study in this article, which reminded me of the joy of book club gatherings that I continue to enjoy with fellow believers to this date.
- How to Pray for Workers During Coronavirus. Here are some thoughts from Made to Flourish about how to pray for workers during this time.
- 3 Facets of Fruitfulness God Desires. On this episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast, Tom Nelson explores a robust theological bridge from the scriptural text to wise economic thought, in a message delivered at the 2019 Gospel Coalition National Conference.
- 4 Ways God Calls Us to the Same Things. Cameron Engle writes “The callings in the biblical story can release us from the daunting pressure of pinpointing our purpose, and instead can bring real meaning to the tasks of everyday life, in our work, our home, and our community.”
- Are You Leading for the Right Reasons? Watch this talk from Patrick Lencioni about his new book The Motive from the recent UnConference 2020.
- What I Didn’t Learn in Business School. Ken Eldred writes “There are a lot of biblical values business schools won’t touch or teach, and these, likewise, prove to be successful business principles. The scriptures are highly relevant to successful business.”
- The God-Given Dignity of a Woman at Work. Penny Nance writes “You have to find meaning where you are. At the risk of giving a cliched “bloom where you are planted” lecture, I want to emphasize that you have to see the beauty and dignity in everything you do.”
- Are We Attempting to Earn Our Own Salvation with the Faith and Work Message? Hugh Whelchel writes “Let us work then, not to earn our salvation, but to serve others and contribute towards their well-being out of gratitude for the work of salvation Christ has done on our behalf.”
- 9 Ways to Work Efficiently from Home. Devin Maddox shares a nine-point outline for how he’s thinking about the days ahead.
- How to Fight the Monotony of Work with Hope. Dr. Andrew Spencer writes “Working with hope is one way we work faithfully for God, “knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:6).
- Most leaders today don’t generally see their role as a privilege or a duty. They see it as a right and a reward. Patrick Lencioni
- What are the implications of settling for less than your best? Mark Miller
- This is what vocation is for everyone everywhere, a calling to care about the way the world is—even dreaming dreams about what might be—and working through the days of our lives at what could and even should be. Steven Garber
- Guard against the subtle teaching that suggests that God does everything and you step back and do nothing. Charles Swindoll
- We must not think that “sacred” work—church work—pleases God more than “secular” work. Dan Doriani
- The Christian doctrine of vocation approaches these issues in a completely different way. Instead of “what job shall I choose?” the question becomes “what is God calling me to do?” Our vocation is not something we choose for ourselves. It is something to which we are called. Gene Veith
- The best thing you can do is to keep your nose to the grindstone, to remember that it takes a lot of work to hone your gift into something useful, and that you have to learn to enjoy the work—especially the parts you don’t enjoy. Maybe that’s the answer to a successful career. Andrew Peterson
- Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get because giving truly is the highest level of living. John Maxwell
- Your daily work is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped you to do it—no matter what kind of work it is. Tim Keller
FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEWS:
The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities by Patrick Lencioni. Jossey-Bass. 192 pages. 2020
Patrick Lencioni writes that The Motive, his eleventh business book, is the shortest and simplest book he has written to date. It’s also the book of his that he would recommend those new to his books read first. He suspects that it may be the most important of his books because the danger of leading for the wrong reason is so high, not only for individuals, but for society as a whole. His objective is that the book help you understand and, perhaps, adjust your leadership motive so that you can fully embrace the difficult and critical nature of leading an organization.
The author follows his usual format – a leadership fable followed by a debrief of the main points illustrated in the story. In the fable, we meet Shay Davis, was promoted to CEO of Golden Gate Security six months ago. The company isn’t failing, but it is falling fall short of All-American Alarm, the leading national company in the home and small business security market. Shay decides to reach out to Lighthouse Partners, a small consulting firm that has a reputation for working with interesting and successful clients. One of those clients was Del Mar Alarm, the shining star of the regional security arena in California. Del Mar’s CEO is Liam Alcott. Surprisingly, it is actually Liam who calls Shay back and offers to meet with him. Shay is uncomfortable with this unusual approach, but agrees to the meeting.
As they meet, it becomes clear that Shay is spending his time on the work that he enjoys, and as a result is not doing the things that his company needs him to do as CEO – hold effective meetings, lead and manage his staff, and serve as the organization’s primary communicator – and that is why the organization’s performance is so far behind that of Del Mar. Initially, Shay resists what Liam is telling him, because it is so different from the way he leads.
In the “Lesson”, or debrief, the author tells us that there only two motives that drive people to become a leader. The first is that they want to serve others, to do whatever is necessary to bring about something good for the people they lead. He refers to this as responsibility-centered leadership. The second motive is that they want to be rewarded. He refers to this as reward-centered leadership. He writes that most leaders today don’t generally see their role as a privilege or a duty. They see it as a right and a reward.
He tells us that no leader is purely reward-centered or responsibility-centered. But one of these two motives for leadership will be predominant, and that motive will have a profound impact on the success of the leader and the organization he or she serves.
He then reviews five situations or responsibilities – building a leadership team, managing subordinates, having difficult conversations, running effective meetings, and constantly repeating key messages to employees – that reward-centered leaders delegate, abdicate, or avoid altogether, which cause the greatest problems for the people they lead. These are the most common omissions that reward-centered leaders find to be tedious, uncomfortable, or just plain hard. After the description of each situation or responsibility, is a “Leader Reflection and Call to Action” section to help you reflect on your own attitude and discern whether you may be struggling to some extent with reward-centered leadership.
Although a quick read, this excellent book clearly communicates the need to determine why you want to be a leader, and the importance of being a responsibility centered leader. One small concern was the realistic, but completely unnecessary, adult language that was sprinkled throughout the leadership fable.
Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. Thomas Nelson. 254 pages. 2008 edition
I recently reread this book, which was the first, and I believe, still the best, treatment of servant leadership that I have read. The authors tell us that the world is in desperate need of a different leadership role model. Many leaders act as if the sheep are there only for the benefit of the shepherd. The good news is that there is a better way. There is one perfect leadership role model you can trust, and His name is Jesus.
The authors tell us that self-promotion (pride) and self-protection (fear) are the reigning motivations that dominate the leadership landscape today. But Jesus is clear about how He wants us to lead: He asks us to make a difference in our world by being effective servant leaders. For followers of Jesus, servant leadership isn’t an option; it’s a mandate.
The authors indicate that leadership is a process of influence. Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader. The key question is going to be whether we seek to be served, or to be served.
The authors describe two primary types of leadership – life role and organizational. Life role leadership functions in enduring relationships (parent, spouse, sibling, friend, citizen), while organizational leadership involves positions and titles bestowed at the convenience of the organization to serve the perceived needs and culture of the organization. The most dramatic difference between life role leadership and organizational leadership involves the permanence of the relationships the leader is trying to influence. The authors tell us that most of the leadership that shapes our lives does not come from leaders with titles on an organization chart; it comes from leaders in our daily life role relationships.
Every leader must answer two critical questions: 1. Whose am I? 2. Who am I? The first question— “Whose am I?”—deals with choosing the primary authority and audience for your life. The second question— “Who am I?”—deals with your life purpose.
The authors write that there are two aspects of leading like Jesus. The first is an understanding that leading like Jesus is a transformational journey. The second and most important, which is the essence of their book, is to learn and internalize the four domains of leadership.
Leading like Jesus is a transformational cycle that begins with personal leadership, then moves to leading others in one on one relationships, then to leading a team or group, and finally to leading an organization or community. Leading like Jesus involves the alignment of four leadership domains: heart, head, hands, and habits. When your heart, head, hands, and habits are aligned, extraordinary levels of loyalty, trust, and productivity will result. The book goes into detail on each of these four leadership domains in a practical and helpful manner.
The concepts in this book are not complex but they are challenging. They can be applied at any level of leadership, from the family to the corporate board room. To assist the reader, the book includes “Pause and Reflect” stops in each chapter to give you a chance to let the message to penetrate your heart as well as your mind. A helpful “Summary” is included at the end of each chapter and a detailed “Discussion Guide” is included at the end of the book, which includes a summary of key concepts contained in the book and a series of discussion questions. The Discussion Guide allows this to be an excellent book to read and discuss with others.
I highly recommend this book for those who want to be servant leaders.
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.
Here are a few takeaways from Chapter 16: Followers of the Way
- Calling reminds Christians ceaselessly that, far from having arrived, a Christian is someone who in this life is always on the road as “a follower of Jesus” and a follower of “the Way.”
- Christians who contradict Christ are Christians who are not following his call.
- For those who live life as a journey and see faith as a journey, calling has an obvious implication. It reminds us that we are all at different stages on the way and none of us alive has yet arrived.
- Until Christ identifies and welcomes home the disciples he has called, we his followers can expect to be as unfinished and unvarnished as we are unlikely—but we are on the road, and we are followers of the Way.