Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Leave a comment

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • How Do You Think About Your Job? Adam Nesmith writes “How you think about your job will directly affect how you work day to day. Sadly, many people have a very wrong perspective about their vocation.”
  • Can I Be a Nurse for a “Gender Reassignment” Surgery? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question, “I am a nurse in surgery pre-op and recovery for a hospital that performs gender-reassignment surgeries. I play no role in the decisions made to undergo these surgeries. I believe the decision itself is sinful. The question I cannot resolve is this: Is it sinful for me to serve as a nurse involved in the care of these patients in the pre-op and recovery settings?”
  • Are Vocation and Occupation the Same Thing? In this short video, Bryan Chapell tells us “Our occupationis what occupies us, and that’s good and that’s important, but vocation actually comes from a word that means calling.”
  • Should I Prioritize Family or Work? Neither. Michelle Myers responds to the question “Should I prioritize family over work? My quality of work suffers, but my spouse and kids rely on me.”
  • What Would Jesus Do If He Had My Job? Scot Bellavia writes “The WWJD bracelet may be out of style but its purpose remains relevant. “What would Jesus do?” is the only question worth considering for the Christian. What else does it mean to be a Christ follower than to do what he would do?”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory (Expanded Edition) by Tod Bolsinger
    • Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic

  • Why Has God Put Me Here? Russ Gehrlein writes “I challenge you to think about your job from now on with a new perspective. Look for clues as to the divine purposes that God may have for you. Perhaps he has put you there for such a time as this.”
  • How Can I Think About The “Billy Graham Rule”? Courtney Powell responds to the question “My job involves occasional one-on-one meetings with people of the opposite sex. Should I use the “Billy Graham Rule”? Are there other ways to protect others and myself, particularly in ways that are cognizant of my sin nature and don’t treat others as the problem?”

  • Quiet Quitting, Vocation & Values. Judy Allen writes “The cultural chatter around quiet quitting may have caused you to confront work related angst, which is healthy. Whatever you think about quiet quitting, may the Lord bring you closer to understanding your vocation and clarifying your values. We need everyone’s work as God directs.
  • The Pleasure of God in Ordinary Work. Marshall Segal writes “So, as you prepare for another year of work — perhaps hard, perhaps thankless, perhaps “ordinary” — ask God to help you see the work through his eyes. Ask him for some of the pleasure he takes in what you do.”
  • 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).
  • Cultural Renewal Through Faithful Work. Tim Keller writes “when Christians work in the world, they will either assimilate into their culture and support the status quo or they will be agents of change. This is especially true in the area of work.”
  • Work Well in an LGBT+ Environment. Charlie Self responds to the question I work in a heavily LGBT+ environment. How can I be a light in this situation?”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • All followers of Jesus are called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to bloom where they are planted. Tom Nelson
  • If our identity is in our work, rather than Christ, success will go to our heads, and failure will go to our hearts. Tim Keller
  • The work we are called to do every day is one of the primary means the Holy Spirit uses to conform us to greater Christlikeness. Tom Nelson
  • Thinking of work mainly as a means of self-fulfillment and self-realization slowly crushes a person. Tim Keller
  • A cobbler, a smith, a farmer, each has the work and office of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops, and every one by means of his own work or office must benefit and serve every other. Martin Luther
  • You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you will lose yourself if you say work is the primary meaning of your life. Tim Keller
  • Your success stops where your character stops. You can never rise above the limitations of your character. John Maxwell
  • Any kind of work that leaves people, places, or things in better shape than before—that helps the city of man become more like the City of God where truth, beauty, goodness, order, and justice reign—is work that should be celebrated as good and ‘of God.’ Scott Sauls
  • Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God. Dorothy Sayers

Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory (Expanded Edition) by Tod Bolsinger. IVP Books. 276 pages. 2018

This book by Tod Bolsinger (Principal of Sloan Leadership, Senior Congregational Strategist and Associate Professor of Leadership Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary and former pastor), is a guidebook for learning to lead in a world we weren’t prepared for. The author tells us that in this changing world, we need to add a new set of leadership tools.
Our guides in the book will be the first American adventurers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.  Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery were about to go off the map and into uncharted territory. They would have to change plans, give up expectations, even reframe their entire mission.
The book is structured around five vital lessons that every leader of a Christian congregation or organization must learn to lead in uncharted territory.  Throughout the book, are a series of additional pieces to help you learn how to lead in uncharted territory. These “Reorientation” lessons are one or two sentence bullet points that help reinforce a concept.
The author tells us that leaders are heading into uncharted territory and are given the charge to lead a mission where the future is nothing like the past. In every field, in every business, every organization, leaders are rapidly coming to the awareness that the world in front of us is radically different from everything behind us. We now must use every bit of what we know and become true learners who are ready to adapt to whatever comes before us. Ultimately, this book is about the kind of leadership necessary for the local church to take the Christian mission into the uncharted territory of a post-Christendom world. It is about the kind of leadership needed when the world has so dramatically changed that we really don’t know what to do next. The strategy for leading into uncharted territory is:

  • Start with conviction
  • Stay calm
  • Stay connected
  • Stay the course

The author tells us that we need to press on to the uncharted territory of making traditional churches missionary churches. At the heart of this book is the conviction that congregational leadership in a post-Christendom context is about communal transformation for mission.
I read the book slowly as there was much to take in and consider. It would be an excellent book to read and discuss with others. A helpful Study Guide is included, which includes six lessons to help you learn the main lessons of the book and begin to develop the capacities to lead your community, church, organization, or company “off the map” and into uncharted territory.
Among the many topics the book covers are adaptive leadership, transformational leadership (technical competence, relational congruence, adaptive capacity), reframing, trust, a healthy organizational culture, mission, courage, and personal transformation.
The well-researched book is heavily footnoted. In particular, the author frequently quotes from authors Ronald Heifetz (The Practice of Adaptive Leadership and others) and Edwin Friedman (A Failure of Nerve).
Here are several helpful quotes from the book:

  • Only when a leader is deeply trusted can he or she take people further than they imagined into the mission of God.
  • Adaptive challenges are the true tests of leadership.
  • Leadership is always about personal and corporate transformation.
  • Any person who is willing to take personal responsibility, convene a group to work on a tough problem and persist in the face of resistance is a leader.
  • Leadership is energizing a community of people toward their own transformation in order to accomplish a shared mission in the face of a changing world.
  • Transformational leadership is a skill set that can be learned but not easily mastered. It is not a role or position, but a way of being, a way of leading that is far different than most of us have learned before.
  • Leadership into uncharted territory requires and results in transformation of the whole organization, starting with the leaders.
  • Trust is vital for change leadership.
  • The most critical attribute a congregation must have to thrive in uncharted territory is a healthy organizational culture.
  • Before leaders begin any transformational work, cultivating a healthy environment for aligned shared values to guide all decision making must be a priority.
  • In adaptive leadership, reframing is another way of talking about the shift in values, expectations, attitudes or habits of behavior necessary to face our most difficult challenges.
  • That is what adaptive leadership is all about: the way that living human systems learn and adapt to a changing environment so they can fulfill their purpose for being.
  • Leadership is taking people where they need to go and yet resist going.
  • The mission trumps. Always. Every time.
  • The mission trumps, and real transformation in a congregation is only going to occur when the mission (and the decisions it inspires) begins as a clear personal conviction of the leader.
  • The leadership we have today is indeed “perfectly designed for the results we are getting.”
  • For leaders this is the point to remember about anxiety: People who are overly or chronically anxious don’t make good decisions.
  • Leadership off the map is inherently risky and frequently lonely.
  • Reframing, or “an ability to think about things in more than one way” is perhaps the most critical skill for adaptive leadership.

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

We are reading through You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic. The list of demands on our time seems to be never ending. It can leave you feeling a little guilty–like you should always be doing one more thing.
Rather than sharing better time-management tips to squeeze more hours out of the day, Kelly Kapic takes a different approach in You’re Only Human. He offers a better way to make peace with the fact that God didn’t create us to do it all.
Kapic explores the theology behind seeing our human limitations as a gift rather than a deficiency. He lays out a path to holistic living with healthy self-understanding, life-giving relationships, and meaningful contributions to the world. He frees us from confusing our limitations with sin and instead invites us to rest in the joy and relief of knowing that God can use our limitations to foster freedom, joy, growth, and community.
Readers will emerge better equipped to cultivate a life that fosters gratitude, rest, and faithful service to God.

This week we look at the first half of Chapter 9: Do I Need to Be Part of the Church? Loving the Whole Body. Here are a few helpful quotes from this section of the chapter:

  • “Compassion fatigue” describes the reaction of our limited capacity and the unlimited need. People are always needed to serve inside and outside the church.
  • One sign that something has gone wrong in efforts to focus only on the “gospel” is that a church’s pastor and staff are endlessly active in proclaiming and doing the spiritual work, while the congregation remains passive.
  • Those who have experienced the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit are called to a broad range of concerns and actions.
  • The central mission of the church is to point people continually to the Messiah: he alone fully reveals the love of the Father and pours out his Spirit on us.

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.

Leave a Reply