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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles


  • George Washington Carver’s Amazing View of Work. These insights about G.W. Carver are adapted from John Pletcher’s book about faith at work Henry’s Glory: A Story for Discovering Lasting Significance in Your Daily Work.
  • Changing Lives Through Washing Cars. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra shares the story of Everclean car wash and its founder, Thomas Kim, who focuses on honoring God by loving customers and team members.
  • Joe Buck: Announcing Sports with Humanity. On this episode of the Working with Dan Doriani podcast, Dr. Doriani visits with six-time Emmy award winning sportscaster Joe Buck and talks family, legacy, charity, the perils of social media, and of course — sports.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

  • Letting God Help You Find a Rewarding Career. Our friend Russ Gehrlein – author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work– was a guest on the radio program, Community Bridge, a Family Radio Network program and podcast on January 4. Here is a partial transcript of that conversation.
  • 7 Ways Pastors Can Help Integrate Faith and Work. Walter R. Strickland II and Benjamin T. Quinn write “Church leaders play a major role in helping Christians understand their role as ministers in God’s economy of all things. Here are seven suggestions for how pastors might consider their role in relation to the workers in the congregation.”
  • Want to Be an Agile Leader? Be Innovative, Learning, and Empathetic. Jonathan Chambers completes his three-part series on how to be an agile leader.
  • Responding to the Changing World of Work (Part 2). In this article, Jeff Haanen suggests three macro changes to our world as a result of the pandemic, as well as how Christians might understandthose changes and what practices we might consider in light of those truths.
  • If You’re Not Developing Other Leaders, You’re Not Leading. Matthew Hall writes “Investing in the development of other leaders is one of the most energizing and wise things any leader can do.”
  • Don’t Look at Your Work, But Along It. Casey Shutt writes “When we look atour work, we fail to see work’s connection to the world and others, which creates either an obsessive preoccupation or a numbing malaise. Christianity not only invites us to look along our work, but provides ample resources for doing so.”
  • The Working Genius Podcast. Patrick Lencioni recently announced his new The Working Genius Each week, Lencioni and his team explore the nuances of the model and explain how you can best apply it to your work and life.
    New episodes every Tuesday morning, but you can listen to the first 3 today:
    1. What is Your Genius?
    2. No Joy, No Genius
    3. Are You a Disruptor or a Responder?
  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).

  • Where is the Water Cooler in a Virtual Work Environment? Russ Gehrlein responds to this question from a friend “How do I glorify God and make Christ known when I only have contact with people via phone and video?”
  • How Does My Faith in Jesus Connect with My Work Life? Benjamin Quinn reviews Gene Veith’s book God at Work. He writes “May God at Workremain not only on the shelves of those teaching and preaching about Christian vocation; but may it find its way to the bedside table of all Christians that each may become a mature and ministering worker of God.”
  • Will We Work in the New Earth? Hugh Whelchel writes “It is also clear from the Bible that we will work in the new earth. Work was something Adam was made to do: “God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Servant leadership and shame culture cannot coexist for a simple reason: the foundation of servant leadership is courage, and shame breeds fear. Brene Brown
  • The call of God doesn’t come to the qualified. It qualifies you because it has come. Tim Keller
  • God created us as His coworkers with various talents so that He could meet all of the complex physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs of people. Russ Gehrlein
  • Every single job matters! Give the janitor the same respect you give the CEO. Ken Coleman
  • 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
  • If we take our meaning in life from our family, our work, a cause, or some achievement other than God, they enslave us. Tim Keller
  • Every Christian is a witness, disciple, ambassador of Christ, and the light of the world. All Christians are on mission wherever they are. Christians can’t not be on mission. It’s impossible. Burk Parsons
  • God has so much to say in the Bible about working, serving, and employment that it is a wonder how Christians made this major chunk of our lives seem so unimportant and “secular” in the sight and presence of God throughout the week! Robert Smart
  • When work is your identity, if you are successful it goes to your head, if you are a failure it goes to your heart. Tim Keller


Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown. Random House. 293 pages. 2018.
*** ½

Brené Brown is a best-selling author, speaker and research professor at the University of Houston. She has spent twenty years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and recently completed a seven-year study on brave leadership. The goal of Dare to Lead is to take what she has learned through her research and experiences inside hundreds of organizations to provide a practical, actionable book about what it takes to be a daring leader.
This is the first book I have read by Brown. It covers aspects of leadership that you won’t find in most other books on leadership such as vulnerability, shame and empathy. She includes helpful personal stories as well as stories and case studies from others who have used her daring leadership principles. As a caution, she sprinkles adult language throughout the book. She also uses terms that you might not be familiar with, such as rumble, armored leadership, grounded confidence, positive intent, confabulation, to list but a few, and quotes liberally from her other books. There is a Dare to Lead hub on where you can find resources including a free downloadable workbook so that you can put the book further into action as you read.
Brown defines a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential. She writes that we desperately need more leaders who are committed to courageous, wholehearted leadership and who are self-aware enough to lead from their hearts, rather than unevolved leaders who lead from hurt and fear.
In addition to courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, other aspects of leadership that are covered in the book are trust, feedback (giving and receiving), setting boundaries, perfectionism, armored leadership, criticism, cover-ups, inclusion, curiosity, values, holding ourselves and others accountable, and integrity.
Boiling down everything she’s learned from her leadership research; the author shares these three things:

  1. The level of collective courage in an organization is the absolute best predictor of that organization’s ability to be successful in terms of its culture, to develop leaders, and to meet its mission.
  2. The greatest challenge in developing brave leaders is helping them acknowledge and answer their personal call to courage.
  3. We fail the minute we let someone else define success for us.

There is much to digest in this book. After reading it once, I know it would be helpful to read and discuss with other leaders, using some of the resources the author provides on her website.

Below are 35 takeaways I had from the book:

  1. At the heart of daring leadership is a deeply human truth that is rarely acknowledged, especially at work: Courage and fear are not mutually exclusive.
  2. Our ability to be daring leaders will never be greater than our capacity for vulnerability.
  3. The true underlying obstacle to brave leadership is how we respond to our fear.
  4. Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.
  5. We need to trust to be vulnerable, and we need to be vulnerable in order to build trust.
  6. Trust is in fact earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.
  7. Trust and vulnerability grow together, and to betray one is to destroy both.
  8. Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.
  9. Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings, or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior.
  10. Daring leadership is ultimately about serving other people, not ourselves. That’s why we choose courage.
  11. Shame is the feeling that washes over us and makes us feel so flawed that we question whether we’re worthy of love, belonging, and connection.
  12. Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval.
  13. Perfectionism is not the key to success. In fact, research shows that perfectionism hampers achievement.
  14. Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of blame, judgment, and shame.
  15. Criticism often arises from fear or feelings of unworthiness. Criticism shifts the spotlight off us and onto someone or something else. Suddenly we feel safer. And better than.
  16. If you find yourself leading a team or culture in which criticism outweighs contribution, make a conscious and resolute decision to stop rewarding the former.
  17. We want people to share our commitment to purpose and mission, not to comply because they’re afraid not to. That’s exhausting and unsustainable for everyone.
  18. Leaders who work from compliance constantly feel disappointed and resentful, and their teams feel scrutinized.
  19. If we want to live a life of meaning and contribution, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play. We have to let go of exhaustion, busyness, and productivity as status symbols and measures of self-worth. We are impressing no one.
  20. Leaders need to model appropriate boundaries by shutting off email at a reasonable time and focusing on themselves and their family.
  21. Daring leaders fight for the inclusion of all people, opinions, and perspectives because that makes us all better and stronger.
  22. In a daring leadership role, it’s time to lift up our teams and help them shine.
  23. If shame and blame is our management style, or if it’s a pervasive cultural norm, we can’t ask people to be vulnerable or brave.
  24. Shame drives two tapes: Never good enough. Who do you think you are?
  25. Where shame exists, empathy is almost always absent. That’s what makes shame dangerous.
  26. Empathy isn’t about fixing, it’s the brave choice to be with someone in their darkness—not to race to turn on the light so we feel better.
  27. It’s only when diverse perspectives are included, respected, and valued that we can start to get a full picture of the world, who we serve, what they need, and how to successfully meet people where they are.
  28. Empathy is feeling with people. Sympathy is feeling for them. Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection.
  29. Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them.
  30. Only about 10 percent of organizations have operationalized their values into teachable and observable behaviors that are used to train their employees and hold them accountable. Giving productive and respectful feedback is a skill set that most of us have never learned.
  31. Sharing values is a massive trust and connection builder for teams.
  32. Daring leaders work from the assumption that people are doing the best they can; leaders struggling with ego, armor, and/or a lack of skills do not make that assumption.
  33. If we want to be values-driven, we have to operationalize our values into behaviors and skills that are teachable and observable. And we have to do the difficult work of holding ourselves and others accountable for showing up in a way aligned with those values.
  34. Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; it’s choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy; and it’s practicing your values, not just professing them.
  35. When we have the courage to walk into our story and own it, we get to write the ending. And when we don’t own our stories of failure, setbacks, and hurt—they own us.

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

Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

Drawing on years of research, ministry, and leadership experience, in this new book Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson explain why Sunday morning worship and Monday morning work desperately need to inform and impact one another. Together they engage in a rich biblical, theological, and historical exploration of the deep and life-giving connections between labor and liturgy. In so doing, Kaemingk and Willson offer new ways in which Christian communities can live seamless lives of work and worship.

Here are a few takeaways from the second half of Chapter 3: Workers in the Pews, the section entitled “A Theological Reading of the Worker in the Pew”:

  • From a theological perspective, pastors and worship leaders do not invite workers into the mission of God. The workers in the pews have been laboring within the missio Dei all week long.
  • The work of the people is integral to the mission of God, not incidental.
  • All Christian workers, in all industries, are invited to participate in the multifaceted mission of God.
  • The workplace is a critical (if not the critical) space in which workers will either learn to follow Christ faithfully or walk away from him.
  • Workers (not pastors) are the primary agents of a church’s mission in the community. Likewise, the workplace (not the church building) is the primary locale of a church’s local mission.
  • The church’s mission is embodied in the diverse work of the people all over the city—and the church’s worship should name and reflect this.
  • All work, when done in faithful service to both God and neighbor, is a priestly act of worship.
  • God does not simply mandate human work; God delights in human work. God accepts it with joy, not as mere obedience but as worship.
  • Gathered worship must play a central role in the preparation and formation of priestly workers. As the Holy Spirit moves through song and sacrament, prayer and benediction, workers can slowly be trained to walk in the ways of the Lord.

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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