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 New Book. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is now available in the Kindle edition (Kindle devices and Kindle reading apps). It is also available free on Kindle Unlimited. You can read a FREE sample of the book. If you have read the book, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.
  • Reflecting on Work While Picking Blueberries. Russell Gehrlein, author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work, reflects on the many blessings of being a co-worker with God as he worked in His presence to harvest what others had cultivated from what he had created.
  • What Should I Do About a Corrupt Boss? Will Sorrell writes “As a follower of Jesus, you have a responsibility—and the strength—to speak truth, and so honor Christ. Your honesty and forthrightness are an overflow of the Spirit within you.”
  • 12 Bible Verses to Encourage Christian Leaders. Ron Edmondson writes “Perhaps you should choose one or two of these – write them down somewhere you’ll see them often, and commit them to memory”.
  • Finding Work-Life Balance in the Practice of Sabbath. Andrew Spencer writes “Left unchecked, our work can demand all our time and energy, leaving no room for rest. It can rob us of Sabbath. It can diminish our delight in God’s creation.”
  • Integrating Faith and Work in a Crisis. Watch this discussion between Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church pastor Rob Pacienza and Tom Nelson, President of the Made to Flourish Network, on the topic of Integrating Faith and Work in a Post-Pandemic World.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A: How Faith, Cows, and Chicken Built an Iconic Brand by Steve Robinson
    • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • Seven Lessons for Productivity. In this 1,500th episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question What have you learned about your own personal productivity? Do you have any wisdom about productivity or creativity you want to share with us at this podcast milestone?”
  • Restlessness is Everywhere. It’s Not New, but it is Pervasive. Petar Nenadov writes “None of us know the future of the pandemic and the economic and emotional consequences that will follow. The upcoming school year and national election already seem like they will heighten the restlessness we currently feel. False assurances and grand solutions will become even more tempting for leaders to spout, but should be viewed with the clear-eyed skepticism of the ancient preacher. Honesty and humility will be most helpful.”
  • The Gospel for Our Work. Ryan Tafilowski writes “In the end, the way we think about work is tied to the way we think about the gospel. If our understanding of the gospel is too narrow, we will most likelyarrive at an instrumental understanding of our work, where we toil in our jobs to raise money for pastors and missionaries. But if we broaden our understanding of the gospel, we’ll find ways to engage our work as part of the mission of God to make all things new.”
  • Honor God by Pursuing Your Passion Outside of 9-5. Elizabeth Moyer writes “God has called you to glorify him in your work, He has also called you to glorify him in many other ways.”
  • How to Connect Your Faith and Work. Have you ever struggled to connect your faith and work? Perhaps you’ve asked yourself, ‘How is my current work, my 9 to 5 job, relevant to my faith at all? In this helpful video, Paul Sohn shares a way to connect your faith and work.
  • Grief as a Way Forward. Gage Arnold writes “For the Christian has the great joy of co-laboring with God to offer foretastes of God’s coming kingdom into our world now. This means even in the ways we push back against the assault of sin on the world, we embody the peace and shalom of Christ to a world in desperate need.”
  • Leading in Times of Disruption. In times of disruption, your voice is more important than your words, your presence is more important than your presentation, and clarity is the next best thing to certainty. Listen to part two of this discussion on leading in times of disruption on the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast.

  • Our one thing ought to be where our passions and gifts collide with the greatest opportunity to love and serve others through masterful work. Jordan Raynor
  • People will forget your brilliance, but they will never forget your compassion. Burk Parsons
  • The burning question for most Christians should be: How can my life count for the glory of God in my secular vocation? John Piper
  • Retirement is the chance to pick up the strands of your calling that might have been latent during your career and develop them more fully into your life’s work. Jeff Haanen
  • All honest work is dignified if we love our neighbors and strive to serve God in it. Dan Doriani
  • 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 in need. Tom Nelson
  • When you know why you’ve been put on this earth and you know what you need to be doing, you don’t need anyone to motivate you. Your purpose inspires you every day. John Maxwell
  • The words vocation and occupation more often than not thread their way through my conversations, and I do my best to make clear that there is a difference and why the difference is important. The one is a word about the deepest things, the longest truths about each of us: what we care about, what motivates us, why we get up in the morning. The other is a word about what we do day by day, occupying particular responsibilities and relationships along the way as we live into our vocations. They aren’t the same word, and understanding that matters. Steven Garber
  • The Christian’s calling, in part, is to proclaim God’s dominion in every corner of the world—in every corner of our hearts, too. Andrew Peterson


Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A: How Faith, Cows, and Chicken Built an Iconic Brand by Steve Robinson. Thomas Nelson. 246 pages. 2019

There is no organizational culture I respect more than that of Chick Fil-A. I have eaten at numerous Chick Fil-A restaurants across the country, gotten to know our local Owner/Operator, read about their culture from Ken Blanchard and Patrick Lencioni, and read books by Chick Fil-A insiders Mark Miller, Truett Cathy, Dee Ann Turner and now Steve Robinson, who was chief marketing officer and executive vice president for the organization for 34 years, until his retirement in 2015. His job was to provide the tools and the strategic architecture to build the Chick-fil-A brand.
The author states that nobody knew better than the organization’s founder Truett Cathy that grace is the Chick-fil-A brand. Chick Fil-A aims to create a place where good meets gracious.
He writes that Chick-fil-A is built on biblical values and principles that were fundamentally rooted in its founder and that play out through a business that serves and values people and tries to honor all. He writes that with this book he hopes to honor God’s favor not only on his life and career but on Chick-fil-A as well.
I really enjoyed reading about the evolution of the Chick Fil-A culture and brand.
Today, nearly one hundred thousand people work throughout the Chick-fil-A chain of about 2,300 restaurants, serving more than 3 million customers every day, or 1.1 billion per year. The organization’s corporate purpose and their “why”, is:
“To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
The organization’s mission is to “Be REMARKable.” Chick Fil-A wants every customer’s brand encounter to be remarkable, to leave an above-average, positive impression. To that end, they have attempted to create experiences that people would want to talk about.
As the author tells the story of the Chick Fil-A brand, he states that almost every aspect of it begins with Truett Cathy’s heart. He writes that he may have been the most humble man the author ever knew, as well as the most generous and wise. He describes him as a man in a prayerful, humble, obedient, servant relationship with God, and he saw that same man lead a company of men and women to heights the world marveled at. He writes that in their prayer time before each executive committee meeting, the leaders often spent more time praying for one another and our families than they did for the business. Who wouldn’t want to work in an organization like that?
He writes that Cathy knew that a successful brand builds a foundation on relationships, relevance, and reputation. He truly had a desire to honor God and be a positive influence on every person he came in contact with.
What is it that makes Chick Fil-A different? After all, in 2017, the average Chick-fil-A freestanding restaurant had sales 70 percent higher than the average McDonald’s location and four times that of an average KFC location.
The author takes the reader on a history of Chick Fil-A, beginning with Cathy opening the Dwarf Grill in 1946 with his brother Ben, who would die in an airplane crash three years later.
Below are some of the many takeaways I had from this book:

  • Great brands become great when they are consistent on every key level of execution.
  • The liberal use of “Be Our Guest” cards (for free food from Chick Fil-A).
  • The decision to close on Sundays. This set the tone for what was important. It was a day set aside for all who were part of Chick-fil-A to rest, be with family, and worship, if they so chose.
  • The creation of a unique store-leadership financial model. The author writes that the deal Cathy created in 1967 is incredibly generous and is a “win-win”.
  • Operator selection is the most important decision made at Chick-fil-A. The business model of highly compensated, highly motivated Operators who are in business for themselves but not by themselves became a foundation of the chain’s success.
  • The creation of the Chick-fil-A Team Member Scholarship program in 1973.
  • Chick-fil-A’s charitable giving is about 10 percent of the corporate profits.
  • Operators and market Operator teams, not the home office, provide 80 to 85 percent of tactical and financial support for execution of brand marketing. The home office provides the Operators with the tools and training they need, but they finance and participate in the execution.
  • The introduction of Waffle Fries in 1985, which are still the number-one-sold menu item.
  • Differentiating themselves by delivering food to the customer’s table, providing drink refills and offering to remove their trash from their table.
  • Pioneering fast food in shopping malls, and only later opening freestanding units, licensed restaurants on more than 250 college and university campuses, and in hospitals and airports.
  • The introduction of new menu items such as breakfast, grilled chicken sandwiches, milkshakes, salads, etc.
  • The Cow campaign was not only rewarding in terms of sales and engagement, but it received many awards and honors over the years,
  • The organization’s involvement with college football, which helped develop a national brand.
  • Cathy’s desire to be debt free, which the organization achieved in 2012.
  • Inspired by the service he had received at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cathy challenged Operators to respond with “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome” or “no problem” whenever a customer thanked them.
  • The “First 100” program (free Chick-fil-A for a year) to the first one hundred customers at Chick-fil-A grand openings.
  • Three broad strategic categories of activities that had developed over the years that, all working together at a location, created “Raving Fans” – Executing Operational Excellence, Delivering Second-Mile Service, and Activating Emotional Connections Marketing.
  • Word-of-mouth advertising is the most powerful marketing anywhere. To earn it, you must be doing things worth talking about.
  • You can’t just provide a product; you must provide an experience.
  • Brand relevance, not just innovation for its own sake, was a top priority of the marketing group—to keep the brand relevant to customers’ lifestyles, tastes, and expectations.
  • The greatest influence on building a successful business and brand is its culture, which rises and falls on leadership.

So, what is it that makes Chick Fil-A unique? You know it when you eat at one of their restaurants. The author shares core values that shaped and filtered virtually every vital decision the organization made during the course of more than thirty years of working with Cathy:

  1. Being a Good Steward. Truett believed that every dollar that flowed through Chick-fil-A belonged to God, and they were to be stewards of it. That point of view allowed him to be both generous and thrifty.
  2. Building Long-Term Relationships. Truett’s relationships were for life. If you were going to be a part of Chick-fil-A, there was no reason for you to ever go anywhere else in your career.
  3. Providing Hospitality. “My pleasure” creates an immediate communication that you really do matter.
  4. Taking Personal Responsibility. Personal accountability is empowering, and it was an important aspect of Cathy’s relationships.
  5. Choosing Personal Influence over Position Power. If their influence and their performance depended on a title, they were the wrong person for Chick-fil-A.
  6. Having Fun. One of the virtues that evolved in the business was a tangible effort to be unexpectedly fun.

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. Philip 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 Chapter 22 “A World With Windows”. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • Calling directly counters the great modern pressure toward secularization because the call of Jesus includes a summons to the exercise of the spiritual disciplines and the experience of supernatural realities.
  • Secularization is the process through which the decisive influence of religious ideas and institutions has been neutralized in successive sectors of society and culture, making religious ideas less meaningful and religious institutions more marginal. In particular, it refers to how our modern consciousness and ways of thinking are restricted to the world of the five senses.
  • If our supernatural experience is not to become an end in itself and a source of indulgence and pride, we must resolutely descend from the mountain peaks of vision to the valley of ordinary life where our callings take us. The New Testament knows no monasteries or monks, only spiritually disciplined disciples in a demanding, everyday world.
  • The modern world has scrambled things so badly that today we worship our work, we work at our play, and we play at our worship.

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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