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

  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is now available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
  • God Covers Our Sin with Paint That Matches. My friend Russ Gehrlein writes “Our attempts will always fail. There are no works we can do to add to what he has already done on the cross to pay for our sins. His covering is perfect since he is the Master Painter.”
  • Jesus & Love: The Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time. Phyllis Hendry Halverson writes “A tremendous benefit happens in the lives of people who lead like Jesus: freedom. Jesus is the only one who offers a model of leadership that’s built on freedom and complete security in Him and His power at work within us.”
  • A Prayer for Our Ordinary Days. Laura Talton writes “We live in a time and a culture constantly celebrating the extraordinary, and yet, the reality is that daily life–that is, what makes up our time and culture–is ordinary. It’s instant oatmeal and work commutes. We are ordinary people living in ordinary places. But to God, we are also so much more.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of The Uniform of Leadership: Lessons on True Success from My ESPN Life by Jason Romano
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • What is God’s Design for Labor? Hugh Whelchel writes “God wants us all to play up to our potential. And he’s given us tremendous potential and we need to rise to the occasion. Good enough is not good enough. We want to bring exceptionalism to everything we do. And see one of the problems is that we look at success in our culture by comparing it to what other people are doing. God looks at success by comparing it to what you’re capable of doing.”
  • The Politics of Neighborly Love. “On September 19, more than 400 people from across the U.S. gathered online for the Denver Institute for Faith & Work’s event “The Politics of Neighborly Love: Christian Citizenship in a Divided Age.” With a keynote from Justin Giboney and a panel discussion featuring Gov. Bill Haslam (R-TN), Scott Sauls, and Stephanie Summers, we considered the role that faith plays in our partisan politics, and how to engage in faithful, constructive dialogue in this political season.” The event is now available to replay on demand.
  • Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. I was glad to hear that Ron Edmondson was starting a leadership podcast.
  • How to Elevate the Value of Work Through Language. John Terrill writes “If we are to re-enliven our churches and workplaces with inspired, vocation-minded stewards who seek to serve the common good, then we need to hone and strengthen our work-related language.”
  • How Do Women Make Choices about Career and Calling? Pam Lau shares three questions for you to think about as you retell God’s leading in your own choices.
  • 6 Gospel-Centered Leadership Values. Paul Tripp shares six characteristics that will mark out a leadership community formed by gospel values.
  • 90,000 Hours: How God Grows Us through Our Jobs. Drew Yancy reviews Pierce Brantley’s new book Calling: Awaken to the Purpose of Your Work. He writes “Overall, I appreciated Calling and would recommend it to the those looking to reconnect daily work with the redemptive power of God.”
  • Should We Expect Our Jobs to Make Us Happy? Barnabas Piper writes “Work— like many other things in life- is a means of finding happiness. It’s designed by God and is a good thing. It’s a good hook for the right things, but too weak to hold our hopes for total happiness.”
  • Three Leadership Lessons for All of Us. Brianna Lambert writes “While many truths can be gleaned from this incredible book, Deuteronomy communicates three main lessons of leadership that are not merely for pastors, business leaders, or politicians but for all of us.”
  • Leaders Need Tough Hides and Tender Hearts. Dan Doriani delivered a message in a breakout session at the Gospel Coalition’s 2019 National Conference titled “Only Be Strong and Courageous: Why Every Pastor Needs a Tender Heart and a Tough Hide.” The workshop explored the unique challenges faced by pastors, including five separate types of criticism.
  • How to Navigate an Election Season at Work. Daniel Darling shares three warnings for employees as we head down the home stretch of this election.

  • If God is sovereign, you can be called to a vocation, but not called to be successful in that vocation. Tim Keller
  • A spiritually healthy leadership community participates in the ongoing personal spiritual growth of each one of its members. Paul Tripp
  • Our daily work is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped us to do it. Tim Keller
  • Every leader needs to rely on the contributions of other leaders who are smart in ways that he isn’t. Paul Tripp
  • God is present whenever and wherever we find ourselves working. If God has called us to do ordinary work, and if it is work which He wants done in the world, then He will indeed be present in it. Russ Gehrlein
  • Until we learn to deeply rest and separate ourselves from our work, we won’t work effectively. Robert Smart
  • Discernment is a God given quality a leader must possess. Discernment allows you to read between the lines. Charles Swindoll
  • The integration of faith and work is misunderstood not only by the church members who sit in the pews but by those who stand behind the pulpit. Our vocation should be “an element of Christian discipleship; a habit of the mind and heart of listening for and responding to the voice of the Lord,” yet this concept is missing from most churches. Hugh Whelchel
  • To inspire their flock about their daily work, congregational leaders need to start with the vital truth that work preceded the Fall. This truth is foundational for faithful vocational stewardship. Amy Sherman

The Uniform of Leadership: Lessons on True Success from My ESPN Life by Jason Romano. Kregel Publications. 192 pages. 2020

The author spent seventeen years at ESPN as a senior manager and producer, which is where he learned how to be a leader. He uses the idea of a uniform throughout the book. He tells us that we all wear a uniform. On the front is the name of the team or city we represent. On the back is our name. In this book, he shows us how to wear our uniforms well.
The book is comprised of relatively short chapters that cover leadership lessons that the author learned while at ESPN. In each chapter, he illustrates the points he is making with inspiring stories about athletes or coaches that he met while a talent producer at ESPN. Some of the people he writes about are Kobe Bryant, Tony Dungy, Drew Brees, Jennie Finch, Dwight “Doc” Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Pete Carroll, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bob Ley, Larry Bird and Rob Gronkowski. Though many of the stories in the book are sports or ESPN-related, they exemplify the uniform makeup of leadership in all aspects of life, in the home, workplace, sports, etc.
A key story that he shares early in the book involves Tony Dungy and his assistant, and Dungy’s question to the author about how was living out his faith at ESPN. That question would turn out to be life changing, and the author would come to believe that he could shine Christ’s light at ESPN. For him, and us, life is about thriving in the place God has put us. You don’t have to leave where you are serving and move to a “full-time Christian ministry”. Instead, you can represent Christ and bloom right where you are planted.
Each chapter ends with helpful “Putting on the Uniform” and “Discussing the Uniform” sections to help the reader go deeper into the material discussed in that chapter. I found this to be a helpful book on leadership and on integrating our faith with our work.
Below are 20 of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • Teamwork rises out of relationships—out of serving one another. It makes all the difference.
  • How will you be remembered? Will you be remembered as an others-focused leader, or as a teammate who made relationships and serving a priority?
  • Without a strong sense of identity, it is almost impossible to be a good leader.
  • Importance comes from worldly success. Value, however, comes from love. This is vital to remember in a world with systems that revolve entirely around performance. My value comes from just one thing, and it’s not how well I measure up by this world’s standards. It’s my identity as a child of God.
  • You are more than your performance.
  • Maybe you can’t control the circumstances, but you can control your response to them. Choose a godly attitude and it will ripple out to those around you. That’s leadership.
  • It’s your job as a leader to instill value in those you are leading.
  • Each of us has been given a sphere of influence, but it’s your choice whether you view your platform as something that lifts you up or as something you can use to lift up others.
  • It’s important for a leader to become increasingly outward-focused over time in order to leave lasting, positive imprints on others.
  • The true meaning of platform—of success—is using whatever skills, gifts, influence, and material possessions you have to lift up others, not yourself.
  • Leadership is more about being aware of people’s daily needs—being outward-focused—and doing the little things each day that let others know they are valued.
  • Consistent leaders—those who focus on the hearts and minds of those they are leading each day—create cultures that are consistently inspired.
  • Bold leaders aren’t interested in just blending in; they’re focused on making a difference and letting their voices be heard.
  • Failure is a gift. It can strengthen our direction. It can bring clarity in our processes. It can give us perspective. It can ignite growth and transformation. Failure doesn’t have to be feared.
  • You have the opportunity to share life with others and empathize with them—to understand their personalities, pressures, and struggles in life so you can offer them grace, compassion, and understanding.
  • When you show those you lead that you care about their entire lives, both at work and outside of work, you show them value.
  • I don’t know anyone who doesn’t benefit from words of affirmation. The best teams have people who affirm one another and also seek wise counsel and feedback on how they can improve.
  • A little bit of empathy changes everything. It always has and always will. Especially in a culture that is becoming increasingly self-serving, empathy stands out.
  • Your legacy of leadership may well be defined by how empathetic you are.
  • Leadership absolutely requires challenging those you lead, pushing them, and helping them to develop, but if you don’t make people feel valued and inspired, then you probably are not a good leader.

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 26: Patches of Godlight:  

  • Calling transforms life so that even the commonplace and menial are invested with the splendor of the ordinary.
  • Calling transforms things by reminding us once again of our audience. Drudgery done for ourselves or for other human audiences will always be drudgery. But drudgery done for God is lifted and changed.
  • Calling transforms things by reminding us that drudgery is part of the cost of discipleship.
  • For those who answer the call, everything under God has its own importance, though the final respect is not ours to bestow. If it is ever to be ours, it will come from the “well done” of the Caller. But before the eventual “well done,” our task today is to do well—by loving people, things, and work for their sake and his.

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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