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

  • Do We Need to Confess All Workplace Mistakes? Charlie Self responds to the question “If something goes wrong in the workplace, and no one is asked to own the problem, should I speak up and claim fault or should I just fix the problem and move on? What if someone else made the mistake—am I obligated to “rat them out”?”
  • How Should a Christian Handle Being Sued? Charlie Self responds to the question I own a small business, and a former customer has brought a legal claim against it. The complaint is completely false, but proving this in court would be costly to the point that my business might not even survive. My lawyer says I must settle with the complainant, though to do so is basically an admission of guilt. Should I fight for justice or protect my business by settling?”
  • How Does Adam’s Sin Impact Work? Russ Gehrlein writes “On my drive in to work several months ago, I had the chance to reflect on the effects of Adam’s sin. It took me by surprise when I realized some of the implications of this doctrine on my everyday work.”

  • 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).
  • Developing Leaders with Carol Tomé. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS, and Stanley discuss why a leader’s priority should be to invest in their team and the impact doing so can have.
  • Leaders are Made. Howard Graham writes “We find a great example in the Gospel of Mark of how Jesus, the perfect leader, uses his followers’ mistakes to teach them to be better leaders.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Good Work: How Blue Collar Business Can Change Lives, Communities, and the World by David Hataj
  • Snippets from the book Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore

  • Share Ownership. Mark Miller discusses the second-best practice for all High Performance Organizations wanting to “Win The Heart”, Share Ownership.
  • Work is Redemptive. As he wraps up his series, Howard Graham writes “We will see that – just as Jesus came to redeem sinful humans and present them brand new and spotless before a Holy God – those who follow Him are made redemptive agents. Therefore, our work is meant to be redemptive.”
  • The Gospel and Our Various Christian Callings. Hugh Whelchel was recently featured in an interview with Praxis Circle. Below are a few highlights of that conversation, which you can watch in full here.
  • Investing that Makes the World Rejoice with Robin John. On this episode of the Denver Institute for Faith & Work podcast, Joanna Meyer speaks with Robin John, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eventide Asset Management, as they talk about faith, investing, and the moral responsibility that comes with owning stock.
  • Meaning in Work. Jeff Haanen writes “When people focus their life’s goals not just on money, titles, and power, but even on noble goals like activism for a social cause, they mistake means for ends and find happiness fleeting. It becomes a life of constant “more” – more impact, more influence, more wealth. Yet they fail to realize that those should have been mere “means” toward a greater “end.” But when people focus on ends they find meaning.”
  • Gentleness in the Workplace. Joshua Nangle is in the middle of a serieson the application of the fruit of the Spirit in the workplace. This article focuses on gentleness.
  • Time Management Lessons from the Bible. On this episode of the Making It Work podcast, Jordan Raynor talks about getting a handle on time management, with wisdom from Jesus and the Gospels.
  • Working for a Bad Boss. Ryan Laughlin writes “Peter is not calling us to follow bad leaders so that we can feel better than they are. We follow bad leaders because we know, down deep, we are sinners and failures like they are. When this feels impossible, we remember the good news. This is the good news for us: Jesus died for bad leaders andbad followers alike.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • God prizes faithfulness, not success. Dan Doriani
  • God is always preparing us through our present successes and failures. Tim Keller
  • God created people to be His coworkers in expanding His kingdom on earth. He is present in the work of His children in order to meet the needs of humankind and bring glory to Himself. Russ Gehrlein
  • Our passion is to know that we are fulfilling the purpose for which we are here on earth. Os Guinness
  • Your success stops where your character stops. You can never rise above the limitations of your character. John Maxwell
  • What if we began to rethink “missions” altogether? In addition to commissioning pastors and missionaries for God’s work, we can also commission artists, physicians, homemakers, educators, baristas, athletes, parents, intercessors, attorneys, landscapers, and salespeople. Scott Sauls
  • It doesn’t matter whether a person is a CEO with her corner office or a server with his name embroidered on the restaurant-issued apron, a job gives us a place in the world. Ben Sasse
  • It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God. C.S. Lewis
  • 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

Good Work: How Blue Collar Business Can Change Lives, Communities, and the World by David Hataj. Moody Publishers. 256 pages. 2020

The author, David Hataj, is a second-generation owner of Edgerton Gear, Inc., a family business in Wisconsin. Since 1962, the organization has been manufacturing precision custom gears for all sorts of equipment. The author tells us that this book is his attempt to apply some moral, ethical, and spiritual foundations to the workplace in order to make it more fulfilling and having more impact than the plain process of making money. I have read several books about integrating our faith with our work. This is the first I have read that specifically deals with this issue in a blue-collar environment.
In the book, the author tells some of his life story, including that he and his wife believed that God was calling him back to the one place he swore he would never return, back to the family business as a gear maker. He never imagined that the small gear shop was exactly where God wanted him to be for the long haul. He would eventually come to believe that there was nowhere else in the world that he could do such effective “ministry” than in and through this small business.
The author tells us that seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness should or could be the determining factor in how we conduct business. For more than twenty-six years, his quest has been to see what a business would be like if given over to God’s kingdom.
In discussing the culture of Edgerton Gear, the author discusses the “Three-Legged Stool” of business – quality, value, and service – which were his parents core values of the business. Over the years, he has come to think of the company as a congregation. He writes that Jesus is his ultimate role model for conducting business, and that God’s true inner goodness should be reflected through the workplace culture we lead. His motivation for being in business is simply that he is loved by God, and his response is to love others.
I appreciated the organization’s partnership with the local high school to help students find their way in life, in a course called “Craftsman with Character”. The course offers a place for those he refers to as “lost shop kids”, to help find their place in the world.
Among the topics the author addresses are true inner goodness, purpose, relational transactions, business, money/wealth, betrayal, failure, philanthropy, loving your neighbor, the pricing of products, doing what you say you’re going to do, and ministry/serve.
I enjoyed reading this book about how Edgerton Gear, Inc. ministers to their employees, customers, suppliers and community.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • Whatever your role in the workplace, you have a sphere of influence that has more of an impact on those around you than you may realize.
  • The word ministry in its simplest form means to serve. We’re all called to serve, to be ministers, no matter what our job or profession is.
  • Business is a very important way we fulfill the creation mandate.
  • The ability and desire to work is a tremendous gift that should minister to the soul’s need for purpose and relationship.
  • Business is God’s instrument to help the world prosper and thrive.
  • Our businesses are a reflection and extension of who we are.
  • Business is, or at least should be, our attempt to use all the gifts and talents God bestowed on us to contribute to the greater good.
  • Money has a tremendous power to entice and corrupt. It must be approached with equal doses of wisdom, discernment, humility, and courage.
  • As followers of Jesus, our lives should exude meaning, purpose, goodness, and a commitment to excellence on every level.
  • Business, at its most basic level, is a series of relational transactions. My challenge is how to be certain that at least the majority of my relational transactions are successful.
  • With every single business I know, without exception that company’s biggest strength or biggest weakness is the relational health of the day-to-day transactions that comprise their business.
  • If you want to stand out and have a competitive edge, remember this one simple rule: do what you say you’re going to do.
  • I’ve come to the conclusion that a calling is not so much about a specific occupation as it is a posture or response to God summoning us to join Him in His ministry, or service to the world.
  • Becoming who God intends us to be is a lifelong process.
  • God doesn’t expect us to be superb leaders right out of the gate. We grow into it through successes, failures, and challenges.
  • We must be careful in thinking that to minister, in other words to serve, should be left to the religious professionals. The point is we all have a role to play in serving others.

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 8: Choose. As a disciple, choose joy. As a leader, delight others. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • My identity is not in my own strength but in being a child of God.
  • Joy is the delight that results from being in right relationship with God.
  • Remaining in Christ every moment, surrendering your life to him, and obeying him out of love are essential to an abundant, joyful Christian life.
  • We will experience utter joy in life when we are completely devoted to Jesus, daily yielding our will and desires to him as he transforms us from the inside out.
  • No matter the circumstance, God can provide the inner strength to endure the hardships that come our way. The deep joy given by the Lord is independent of the trials or struggles that we face.
  • When a discipled leader delights his or her team or individual contributors, this will in turn cause them to delight in their work and delight their customers.
  • Get to know your people—their interests, families, friends, needs, hopes, dreams, and fears. Take a genuine interest in them and make them feel valued.
  • Once a failure has happened, a problem is solved, or an adversity is overcome, take the time to look back, learn, and grow.
  • Encouraging others is a choice you make, and it flows out of a joyful heart.
  • Treat people well because someday they may forget what you said or did but will remember how you made them feel.

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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