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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • On Following Mediocre Leaders. Tim Challies writes “The question each of us has to consider is this: How do we follow mediocre leaders? After all, we will spend much of our lives doing exactly that.”
  • Scott Sauls, Author and Pastor: The Vulnerable Leader. On this episode of the Working with Dan Doriani podcast, Dan visits with pastor and author Scott Sauls to talk about the role of leaders in these unprecedented times. Sauls encourages us to fix our eyes, not on our enemies or the controversy of our day, but on Jesus. Reflecting on excerpts from Scott’s book A Gentle Answer, he and Dan discuss media, outrage, politics, criticism, and the importance of vulnerable leadership.
  • Corporate Purpose with Carol Tomé. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley and Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS discuss how successful leaders align behaviors and values with their company’s purpose.
  • 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).

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World by Michaela O’Donnell
  • Snippets from the book Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore

  • Faith & Work: How Should We Think Biblically About End-of-Life Care? In this episode of The Gospel Coalition Q&A podcast, the fifth in a six-week series on faith and work, Bill Davis answers the question, “How should we think biblically about end-of-life care?”
  • How Can I Address an Unsafe Job Site? Charlie Self responds to “I’ve been contracted by a large corporation to provide staff at a job site I’ve since discovered has some major safety concerns. What should I do if the corporation refuses to fix the issues? Should I break the contract and lay off the contractors? Is there some other route I should consider?
  • What Does the Book of Exodus Teach us About Work? Russ Gehrlein writes “Exodus, like several other books in the Bible that I have discussed in previous articles, is full of reference that help form foundational principles of our theology of work. It contains some great illustrations that show the connection between God’s presence and human work which I have discussed in my book, Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession.”

  • The Call to Mastery: Dr. Michaela O’Donnell. On this episode of The Call to Mastery podcast, Jordan Raynor sits down with Dr. Michaela O’Donnell, Executive Director of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership and author of the new book Make Work Matter, to talk about the helpful difference between “betting the farm” and taking the “next doable risk,” how Russian nesting dolls can help us think differently about calling, and 3 things to consider before joining the Great Resignation.
  • Affirm Values in Action. In this short video, Mark Miller discusses the final of three best practices for “Act as One”, Affirm Values in Action.
  • Hugh Whelchel’s Top Ten Articles for 2021. Jacqueline Isaacs shares the top ten articles of 2021 from IFWE’s founder Hugh Whelchel.
  • The Word Before Work Podcast. The Word Before Work is a weekly 5-minute devotional podcast hosted by Jordan Raynor that helps Christians respond to the radical, biblical truth that their work matters for eternity.
  • IFWE’s Top Ten Articles for 2021. Jacqueline Isaacs shares this helpful list of articles posted on the IFWE site in 2021. Was pleased to see two articles written by Russ Gehrlein one by John Pletcher. Thankful for their writing ministries.
  • Goodness in the Workplace. Joshua Nangle continues his series on the application of the fruit of the Spirit in the workplace. In this article he focuses on goodness.
  • When Mom Goes Back to Work. Courtney Reisigg writes “In the Lord, our labors in the home aren’t in vain. And in the Lord, our labors outside the home aren’t either.”

Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • Do you realize that no matter what your job is, no matter what it is you do in it, no matter who your boss is or even your boss’s boss, what you do in your job is actually done in service to King Jesus! Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger
  • Just like the tabernacle, which was a portable temple where God’s presence resided that the Israelites carried through the wilderness for forty years until they entered the Promised Land, we too can experience the presence of God with us as we enter into the wilderness of our workplaces during a forty-year career. Russ Gehrlein
  • We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him, and as workers together with Him. Let us see that our life fulfills this purpose. Charles Spurgeon
  • God has not called you to be awesome. He has called you to be humble, faithful, and free. Leave the awesome to Him. Scott Sauls
  • The Lord is pleased with faithful work in every calling. Dan Doriani
  • A broken person is a much more attractive leader to God, than one who doesn’t know they are broken. Tim Keller
  • Work is not burdensome when you do what you love, for people you love. Dan Doriani
  • It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus. Charles Spurgeon
  • Success can work like an addiction – the more successes we have, the more successes we feel we must accumulate in order to keep feeling valuable. Abiding in the righteousness of Christ is the only sustainable way out of this. Scott Sauls

Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World by Michaela O’Donnell. Baker Books. 238 pages. 2021

Michaela O’Donnell is the executive director of Fuller Seminary’s De Pree Center for Leadership. She has taken her research findings and paired them with theological reflection to come up with a set of tools that people can use in order to discover more about themselves, God’s callings, and their work. She has spent the years since finishing her degree testing the tools with hundreds of people in lab-like classrooms, workshops, retreats, small groups, and coaching sessions.
She tells us to think of Make Work Matter like a map. As you read it, you’ll do the work you need to do and lay aside the rest. Whether you’re hoping to move from stuck to unstuck, be liberated to take new risks, or discover deeper truths about what God has for you, there is something in this book and in these tools for you.
As a result of the author’s research, she has come to believe in what she calls the “entrepreneurial way” – a way of thinking and acting that is about paying deep attention to the needs of people and creatively joining in God’s mission of redemption in the world. The entrepreneurial way is a way of working and living that helps us respond faithfully to God’s callings. The author is convinced that the entrepreneurial way is for anyone trying to do meaningful work in a changing world.
A section of the book that I found particularly interesting was the author’s view of Luther’s doctrine of vocation and calling. She writes that some of the most influential work on calling was done in a time period when commerce was almost exclusively local and people’s work was fairly fixed. Today, neither of those things is true. She writes that theology is always contextual. In Luther’s work on vocation and calling, theology that was absolutely liberating in sixteenth-century Europe still holds up in some ways. But in other ways, it is incredibly limiting for twenty-first-century America. I don’t recall previously reading anyone analyzing Luther’s doctrine of vocation and calling in this manner.
The author summarizes her findings in a helpful model:

  1. Practice Empathy Along the Way
  2. Convert Empathy into Imagination
  3. Take the Next Doable Risks
  4. Reflect on Where You’ve Been

Among the many topics the author addresses include a holy wrestling, change, grief and hope, failure, empathy, risk, relationship, creativity, rest, resurrection, the parable of the Good Samaritan, imagination, reflection, iterating and growth.
The book ends with a benediction for the way forward. It is the author’s prayer for the reader, herself and anyone who seeks meaningful work and the way of Jesus in a changing world.
This was a book that I read slowly, letting the author’s words soak in. The book, which would be a good one to read and discuss with others, is filled with stories of those she has interviewed and from workshops she has conducted which illustrate the points she makes in the book. A helpful “Exercise” is included at the end of each chapter.
Here are my favorite quotes from the book:

  • We don’t make our way to the meaningful work we crave without a bit of holy wrestling.
  • I’ve come to believe that the changing world of work is part grief and part hope: grief for what was, hope for what might be; grief for what felt doable, hope for what feels possible.
  • Today, we’ve got to focus on cultivating skills such as grief, resilience, adaptability, agility, creativity, emotional intelligence, empathy, self-reflection, and the ability to perform well amid ambiguity.
  • It’s no longer enough to have a good education, technical skills, and a good network. In addition to these, we also need the ability to thrive in the midst of constant change.
  • Sometimes it’s the case that we need to stay and help to redeem broken systems. Other times that’s absolutely not our work to do. Regularly living in these tensions constantly demands that we use our energy to decide what to do and how to do it, and to hope that we’ve made the right decisions.
  • We’re made to belong to Jesus and to creatively work toward God’s mission of redemption in the world. Our identity is found in our belonging to Jesus. Our purpose is to participate in the mission of redemption. Our God-given creativity becomes a vehicle for the first two.
  • For most of us, God’s callings don’t come all at once and don’t stay fixed for our entire lives. Our lives and our work environments are dynamic, not static.
  • We are called to follow Jesus by creatively working in love for others, especially toward God’s mission of redemption in the world, through particular relationships, roles, places, tasks, and moments.
  • At the heart of God’s work in us is an invitation to close the gap between who we are and who we’re continually called to become.
  • If we’re truly bearing God’s image, we never start from scratch. We always start in the middle of things.
  • In our work, our creativity is part of what might close the gap between what the world is and what the world might be.
  • I am convinced that our very best and most meaningful work can be traced back to empathy.
  • Reflection is the intentional practice of pausing to consider what has happened and what it has to teach us.
  • Much of the meaningful work we crave is found when we embrace our own growth as followers of Jesus. When our work is less about changing the entire world and more about being a people who grow and change, alongside others, for the sake of God’s redemptive work in the world.

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

We are reading through Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore.
Discipled Leader provides struggling, stuck, or merely surviving Christian business leaders with a framework to grow their influence through becoming a redemptive (i.e., change for the better), Christlike presence in the workplace and living a more fulfilling life.
This week we look at Chapter 5: Talk. As a disciple, pray without ceasing. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • Our role is to glorify God—to point to what he has done, give him the credit, and bring honor to his name.
  • Worry, anxiety, and stress can be overcome by trusting God and turning everything over to him in prayer. As you rely on him and his grace, God will fill you with his peace and enable you to persevere through any storm.
  • People need to know that their work matters and is valued and appreciated. Recognize their efforts, publicly and privately.

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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  1. Pingback: What Does the Book of Exodus Teach us About Work? | Reflections on Theological Topics of Interest

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