Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

faith-work-cultureFaith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Start with the Heart. Mark Miller writes “Regardless of where you are on your timeline, there are four arenas which require your attention and ultimately your mastery if you want maximum influence and opportunity. These four domains create an eco-system of sorts – Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Teams and Leading Organizations. Each contains its own unique elements, but each also is in a symbiotic relationship with the others.” Here he takes a look at what he contends is the most challenging domain of them all and where all great leadership begins… Leading Self.leaders vs. managers
  • Five Thoughts on “Makers” and “Managers”. Eric Geiger writes “Makers primarily focus on creating while managers primarily focus on managing people, processes, and systems to ensure the work gets done.”
  • Work: What is it Good For? In this video interview Tim Keller discusses his excellent book Every Good Endeavor, and how our faith should inform our work.
  • Redeeming Work. Listen to Matt Perman’s messages from the Redeeming Work Conference.
  • Groans as in the Pains of Childbirth. Carey Bustard interviews Kimberly Ibarra, who works in obstetrics/women’s health, about how she integrates her faith and work.
  • Lessons from the First 20 Years. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast Stanley looks back on 20 years of organizational leadership – what worked and what really mattered. Hoping that he puts all of this into book form someday.
  •  You Have What You Seek. Dan Rockwell writes “To get where you want to go, move toward authentic leadership.”
  • leave it betterLeave It Better: Faith, Vocation & The Mission of God. I’ve been enjoying Scott Sauls’ sermon series on faith and work titled “Leave it Better: Faith, Vocation & The Mission of God. You can listen to them here or on the church’s podcast available on iTunes.
  • What Does God Want Done? Matt Perman writes “We can define productivity in this way: to be productive is to be fruitful in good works.”
  • Nehemiah and John Kotter on Leading Change. Dave Kraft looks at the eight steps for leading change, according to John Kotter, and how one can see them in Nehemiah’s leadership.
  • Four Ways to Be a Less Bossy Boss. Eric Geiger writes “Few leaders want to be known as being a “bossy boss,” and even fewer people want to work for one. So here are four ways to be sure you are leading, not just bossing.”
  • 5 Reasons Your Pastor May Not Be Leading Well. Ron Edmondson writes “When a pastor isn’t leading the church well, there’s usually an answer as to why.” He lists five reasons he has observed for this.
  • Teamwork. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell discusses what teamwork means.
  • How I Work: An Interview with Steven Grant. Joe Carter interviews web developer Steven Grant about integrating his faith and work.
  • 30 Questions Every Leader Can Ask to Become a Better Coach. Paul Sohn writes “Whether you’re a CEO, teacher, parent, project leader or any other kind of a leader, you need to know how to coach your team. The need for coaching has never been greater. Gallup’s research shows that a team that is highly engaged has double the chance of job performance and success.”
  • Top Ten Books on Faith & Work. Hugh Whelchel offers this list that you may find helpful. This list is already a few years old, and there are constantly good new books available in this genre. The Center for Faith and Work in New York City offers this helpful list.
  • TeachabilityTeachability: The Prince Of Character Traits. Dave Kraft writes “When I’m thinking of investing in a potential leader, having a teachable spirit is the number one quality I’m looking for.”
  • Leading Team Members You Don’t Like. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper talk with Brad Lomenick about the challenges, complexities, and techniques of leading team members you don’t really like very much.
  • Thinking Strategically in the Moment. Ron Edmondson writes “What the leader says can negatively impact other people or the organization. Good leaders have to learn to think strategically — even when making quick decisions.”
  • 4 Steps to Dying Slowly. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Your stress and your unhealthy habits may be killing you and hurting your company.” He offers these four helpful thoughts for us to get rid of our unhealthy habits and stress.
  • Results. In this “Minute with Maxwell” John Maxwell discusses achieving the results that we would like to accomplish.
  • Are You an Ambivert? Dr. Travis Bradberry writes “I’m sure you’ve been asked many times whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. For some people, it’s an easy choice, but for most of us, it’s difficult to choose one way or the other.”

Alistair Quote on Service

Faith and Work Quotes

  • Mission includes our vocations and not just church ministry. Tim Keller
  • Holy Spirit, free us to receive feedback humbly and non-defensively today, and help us to give feedback with compassion and clarity. Scotty Smith
  • One often sees a call only in retrospect. This too is God’s design. God often reinforces our faith after we trust Him, not before. Ravi Zacharias
  • When Christ says “Follow Me,” He never tells us where He will lead us. He decides, we follow. Steven Lawson
  • There is a big difference in wanting to and willing to. Coach K
  • In our creativity and work, we image our creator and fulfill his purpose. Art Lindsley
  • Average people make their decisions according to the present, not the future. Andy Andrews
  • We were meant to give our lives away. Spend more time living your legacy instead of worrying about leaving it. Lee J. Colan
  • Your roles are all callings from God and thus avenues of worship. You can serve Him just as fully in the “secular” areas of your life as you can in the spiritual areas.  Matt Perman
  • Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Augustine
  • Leaders are responsible to be Lifter Uppers, not Letter Downers. Brad Lomenick
  • God feeds the birds, but He doesn’t throw worms in their nest. Dave Ramsey
  • If your heart is not right, no one cares about your skills. Mark Miller
  • You can’t please everyone. On your best day someone loves everything about you and someone is struggling to find one good thing to say. Ron Edmondson

Welchel Quote on Work

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

This week we’ll look at the Conclusion and the remainder of the book:

  • What the individuals and church leaders profiled in this book have accomplished is not outside the realm of possibility. These are people like you; these are congregations like yours. What they have done, you can do.
  • The people and the churches profiled in these pages have struggled, questioned, gotten frustrated and taken missteps along the way. They’re ordinary folks like you and me. They didn’t have this all figured out.
  • Coming to clarity about the specific actions you can take to advance the kingdom in and through your profession takes time – time to muse, to pray, to consult, to read, to discuss, to question, to debate.
  • Fining the vocational sweet spot is typically a process with plenty of trial and error in it.
  • Waking up to all the different possibilities there are for serving God through our vocational skills also takes time.
  • Similarly, the churches mentioned in this book also hit bumps along the road. They weren’t perfect. They have their struggles just like every congregation.
  • Pursuing the journey of vocational stewardship as a church is not about “three easy steps and you’re done.” It’s an evolving process that looks different at different times and contexts. And it’s not one-size-fits-all.
  • In all spheres where we work – education, business, government, media, law, arts and more – we are agents of restoration. Talk about a heady job title! The contentions of Christian doctrine are bold; the work we do matters and it lasts.
  • Believers who participate intentionally, thoughtfully, strategically and creatively in the mission Dei through their daily work taste more deeply of God. They learn more about his character as they participate with him in the things he is passionate about. Their work lives gain deeper meaning and purpose. They realize that God is accomplishing his “creational order” work through them. That is, they’re able to see the intrinsic value of their farming or their “lawyering” or their artistry or their managing or their teaching. Through such professions, they realize that God is doing his work – through them! – of providing for, sustaining, and governing his world.
  • Believers who take vocational stewardship seriously also see their reliance on the Holy Spirit become more authentic, more of a daily practice. They lean hard into prayer, seeking heavenly wisdom for decisions. They offer up their workday, each day, as worship to God. They look for new ways to serve their neighbors near and far through their work. Along the way, they begin to feel as though they have stopped being mere spectators and have become active players in the work King Jesus is doing to push back the curse and push in the kingdom of shalom. And all of this brings rejoicing.
  • As we take up our place as agents of restoration, we also become instruments through which our neighbors taste more of God’s goodness. As we faithfully do our part on the section of the “wall” (from Nehemiah), we been called to, we promote the common good. Depending on our circumstances, our efforts to steward our vocational power can cause transformation at a variety of levels – among individuals, within local organizations or neighborhoods, or throughout institutions and different sectors of society.
  • To find a number of helpful follow-up resources go to www.vocationalstewardship.org

Next week, we’ll begin a new book club on the book that has had the most influence on me outside of the Bible – Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Why not read along with us?


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

The Catalyst LeaderBOOK REVIEW: The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker by Brad Lomenick. Thomas Nelson. 2013. 288 pages.
***

Brad Lomenick led and directed a movement of young leaders called Catalyst for 12 years. He is now in a strategic advisor role with Catalyst, along with several other organizations. In this book he gives us a road map, filled with stories from his experience of leading Catalyst, offering practical advice the readers can incorporate into their lives and work.

Lomenick partnered with the Barna Research Group on this project. Through a series of questions, Barna was able to probe the thoughts, opinions, and passions of 1,116 self-identified Christians ages eighteen and older. The survey data is included in the appendix to the book.

Lomenick writes that becoming a catalyst leader means becoming a change maker—someone who leverages his or her influence for the betterment of the world, the collective good of others, and the greater glory of God. He states that this is possible by developing the eight essentials for becoming a change maker.

He begins by discussing the first essential – Called. He writes that only about one-third of Christians feel called to the work they currently do. The definition of calling that Catalyst used was:  God’s personal invitation for me to work on His agenda, using the talents I’ve been given in ways that are eternally significant.

He recommends that leaders develop “Calling Statements”. Lomenick’s calling statement is:   To influence influencers through gathering, inspiring, connecting, and equipping them to become change makers.

Lomenick discusses the eight essentials for becoming a change maker. You might be a good leader with only a few, but in order to be a true catalyst leader you need all eight. They are:

  1. Called
  2. Authentic
  3. Passionate
  4. Capable
  5. Courageous
  6. Principled
  7. Hopeful
  8. Collaborative

Lomenick includes many helpful resources throughout the book, including “8 Questions on Calling for a Year-End Review”. He ends each section with a pertinent list of “Five Leaders You Should Know”. He includes several profiles of leaders, and fifty change makers on the rise. I found this to be a very helpful book.

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • On Leaving Things Better Than We Found Them. Scott Sauls, author of Jesus Outside the Lines, the next book my wife and I will read together after completing Tim Keller’s Prayer, writes “Our work doesn’t feel meaningful but because our perspective about work lacks a biblical imagination. Dorothy Sayers says that the church is largely at fault for this crisis.”
  • The Gospel Goes to WorkWhy I Wrote My New Book. Stephen R. Graves writes about his new book The Gospel Goes to Work. It looks interesting and I plan to read it soon. Look for a review in the coming weeks.
  • What’s Next on Your Leadership Journey? Mark Miller writes “I believe there are four primary domains in which leaders must ultimately demonstrate competence if they want to maximize their influence and their impact. Although circumstances beyond our control often mess with the natural order of things, I do believe there is a logical sequence of steps or stations in a leader’s development.”
  • What is the Most Meaningful Job in America? Would you believe that there was a three-way tie in PayScale’s list of the most meaningful jobs that also pay well? Top 30 Must Read Leadership Articles from October. I always look forward to Paul Sohn’s compilation of the best leadership articles each month.
  • Top 30 Must Read Leadership Articles from October. I always look forward to Paul Sohn’s john-hawkins-Hawkins-Welwood Homescompilation of the best leadership articles each month.
  •  The Road to Humility: An Interview with John Hawkins. Bill Peel interviews John Hawkins, who states “I’m called to serve Christ—and, by the way, we build homes.” Hawkins is president of Hawkins-Welwood Homes and 30-year veteran of the real estate/homebuilding industry.
  • 12 Ways to Rise After Being Thrown Under the Bus. Dan Rockwell discusses how leaders might deal with being thrown under the bus, which he defines as someone elevating their status and lowering yours in front of others.
  • Word+Life A Prayer for a God Honoring Work Life. I first read this wonderful prayer in Kevin Halloran’s new book Word + Life: 20 Reflections on Prayer, the Christian Life, and the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I highly recommend.
  • Put Fear In Its Place – Lessons From a Former Airline Executive. Scott Dickson is the former CEO and president of Vanguard airlines, a position he took in early 2001 with full understanding that it was a turnaround situation. The airline was in trouble, and it was his job to reverse a bad situation. Then 9/11 changed everything. In his book, Never Give Up: 7 Principles for Leading in Tough Times, Scott shares lessons he learned and biblical principles he implemented at Vanguard and other airlines where he served. Here’s an excerpt from the book.
  • Collaboration. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks about the value of collaboration.
  • Which Job Should You Get Based On Your Personality Type? [Infographic]. Paul Sohn writes “Does your current job fit your personality? Or the better question is, should I find my job based on my personality type?” Check out his interesting infographic included in his article.
  • Ten Differences Between a Boss and a Leader. Eric Geiger writes “Some bosses are leaders, but not all of them. It is possible to be a boss and not be a leader, or be a leader without being a boss.”
  • work mattersCultivating Gospel Readiness at Work. Tom Nelson, author of the excellent book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, writes “I believe Jesus’s parable of the talents encourages us not only to gospel readiness but also to more seamlessly connect our Sunday faith with our Monday work.”
  • 3 Ways to Eliminate Your Stress. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Are you feeling too much stress on the job? Are you feeling pressured to do more and more?  You may even be wondering whether it’s worth it.”
  • Five Ways to Stop Spending Time Managing Time. Rick Segal shares five applications Christians might employ for buying back time for the purposes for which they were given it by God.
  • Life Always Triumphs in the Garden. Carey Bustard interviews Louise Brewer, who lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she is part of a flower team, a women’s bible study, and an ESL program at her church.
  • Art for Whose Sake? Art can broadly be defined as human skill applied to give shape or “form” to “something.” With that in mind, is it possible to avoid art in the church? In this video message entitled “Art for Whose Sake,” Dr. R.C. Sproul teaches us the proper place art has in the church and our lives.
  • Scott Rae: Calling, Work and Vocation [The Gospel and the City]. Watch this helpful 43-minute lecture.
  • A Powerful Lesson from Jesus in Handling Conflict. Ron Edmondson writes “When you’re facing conflict in life and leadership — when you’re angry — take time to make a whip. It changes everything.”

John Maxwell quoteFaith and Work Quotes

  • Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it. Lou Holtz
  • Your career is never going to die for you. If you don’t fulfill its dictates, it will punish you all your life. Tim Keller
  • One often sees a call only in retrospect. This too is God’s design. God often reinforces our faith after we trust Him, not before. Ravi Zacharias
  • Over and over we’ve seen that people cannot achieve beyond what they really believe. Andy Andrews
  • All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. Coach K
  • We are most likely to succeed when ambition is focused on noble and worthy purposes and outcomes rather than on goals set out of selfishness. John Wooden
  • Take time for silence. By beginning and ending each day peacefully, you’ll help everything in between remain under control. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Saint Augustine
  • People want leaders to model the values of the organization daily, not occasionally. Mark Miller

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 13 – Pathway 4: Participate in Your Church’s Targeted Initiative:

  • Can you image a congregation that targets a particular community for long-term, deep investment and then “plugs in” marketplace professionals for meaningful and strategic service? Or envision a slightly different story, one of a church that doesn’t pick a particular place for radical, long-term engagement, but rather, a specific issue. Are any churches actually doing these sorts of things? An honest answer is, well, not many. But there are some.
  • In this chapter, we’ll look in detail at two congregations-Southwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Huntsville, Alabama, and Crossroads in Cincinnati, Ohio-that are testing out, in the real world, kingdom-oriented transformational initiatives that involve vocational stewardship. One has targeted a specific neighborhood in its city; the other, a specific issue. Both have been at their labors for several years; neither is anywhere near finished. Their stories offer us much by way of inspiration and instruction.
  • The two have some things in common when it comes to mission. Both are externally focused. Both believe that a narrow and deep outreach ministry focus is far more effective than the mile-wide, inch-deep approach that characterizes many congregations. Each has committed to long-term investment. Additionally, at both Southwood and Crossroads, church leaders had to be captured by the missional call of the gospel of the kingdom before they could launch into their impressive initiatives. And leaders and congregants at both congregations had to experience punched-in-the-guts compassion. At both churches, attention to mobilizing congregants for service according to their specific skill sets and passions has evolved over time.
  • Southwood’s journey into robust, holistic community development ministry in its city began with painful repentance. Roughly three years into his pastorate, Mike Honeycutt became convicted that Southwood had “become a church very much inward-focused … and not really reaching our community very well.”
  • At Crossroads in Cincinnati, the central focus of the church’s inch-wide, mile-deep outreach is not on a particular neighborhood, but on a pressing cause: promoting justice in the face of the evil of international sex trafficking.
  • Let’s look at several lessons they’ve learned. First, leaders at both churches recognize the importance of preaching and leading with an emphasis on the kingdom-on the church’s external focus for mission in the community and the world.
  • A second lesson from these churches is that a narrow and deep strategy makes sense not only because it is more effective in terms of tangible results for the people or communities served; it also makes progress more visible. And that contributes to the ongoing motivation of the congregation.
  • Third, the stories of these churches reveal that success requires significant financial commitment. To mobilize such commitment, intentional leadership and directed preaching were required.
  • A fourth lesson learned is that, while both churches strongly affirm the value of mobilizing congregants by their skill sets, they do not see vocational stewardship as their exclusive method of lay mobilization. There is a call for everyone to serve, for all to take responsibility. And there are many opportunities for service that require no particular professional training or experience. In short, there’s a place for everyone, not just white-collar professionals.
  • Finally, this pathway, particularly as expressed in neighborhood-targeted ministry, requires a mindset of mutuality. When a church of largely middle- or upper-middle-class congregants, many of them white-collar professionals, gets engaged in a low-income neighborhood, the risk of paternalism is high. Church leaders must work hard to help their highly talented laity to see their own poverty and need. A great way of doing so is to teach the biblical definition of poverty, namely, “the absence of shalom in all its meanings.” Poverty is not only material; it is relational and spiritual as well. Given the universal implications of the Fall, all humans-including those materially non-poor-are poor in one way or another. This understanding can help congregants who are not economically poor to avoid considering themselves as superior. It also can help congregants find places of commonality with the members of the target community.

Next week we’ll conclude our look at this outstanding book.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

connecting faith and workFaith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

New Patrick Lencioni Book. One of my favorite authors Patrick Lencioni will release Humble, Hungry, Smart: The Three Universal Traits of Great Team Players on April 18, 2016. Here is a description of the book “Building on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Happy, Humble, Smart is the story of Jeff Shanley, the former head of business development from DecisionTech, who takes over his family’s business in Napa, California. Jeff brings with him the lessons he learns from Kathryn Petersen, DecisionTech’s CEO and the protagonist of The Five Dysfunctions, but he finds himself frustrated with the number of people he hires that don’t seem suited to be team players. Jeff casually seeks the advice of the local college basketball coach, whose teams are known to exceed the expectations that his talent would indicate. That’s how Jeff learns about the three traits that the coach uses to evaluate players, a recipe that has a greater impact on the team’s success than any technical approach. A non-fiction model summary will follow the fable and the book will provide many opportunities for related programs, applications and tools, including the possibility of an accessible self and team assessment.” Can’t tell you how excited I am to hear about this new book!

  • Work and Rest. Listen to this excellent sermon on the importance of Sabbath rest from Tim Keller, based on Luke 6:1-11.
  • Solving the 12 Dumbest Things Leaders Do. Dan Rockwell writes “The most important thing you do happens after you do something dumb.”
  • If You Can’t Answer ‘Why?’ Then Stop Doing It! In this three-minute video, Andy Stanley asks “What would happen in your community if your organization ceased to exist?”
  • Stop Bristling at Feedback. Dan Rockwell writes “The most important thing about seeking feedback is the way it’s received.”
  • Do Executive Jobs Have More Kingdom Value Than Dirty Jobs? Listen to this panel discussion with Dan Doriani (I enjoyed two classes with him at Covenant Seminary), Harry Reeder and Bethany Jenkins.
  • REspectCan I Trust You? Mark Miller, in discussing how to build trust, writes “If you and I want to lead well, we must build trust. Trust doesn’t come with the office or the title; it is something earned over months, years and decades.”
  • Trust is Given, Not Earned. Dan Rockwell writes “I gave my friends an unscientific poll. The result was a three-way split. About 30% of my friends give trust to people who haven’t earned it. About 30% are skeptical and untrusting. I’m in that group. The other 30% are in the “it depends” group. I think they’re untrusting but don’t want to admit it. But that’s my skeptical voice.” Personally, my approach is to start with trust and people have it unless they give me reason to withdraw that trust.
  • Challenges to the Faith and Work Movement. Watch this edition of the Table Podcast with Darrell L. Bock and Greg Forster.
  • What Is A Christian Company? Chris Patton writes “Do you believe we can label a business as a Christian company or not? If so, how is that label determined?”
  • The Poetry Behind the Light. Carey Bustard interviews Luci Shaw, a poet and essayist since 1986, she has been a writer-in-residence at Regent College in Vancouver. Author of more than 35 books of poetry and non-fiction prose, her writing has appeared in numerous literary and religious journals.
  • 60 Keys on Leading the Next Generation. Brad Lomenick shares 60 Keys, Issues and Areas to be aware of and focused in on as it relates to the Next Generation of Leaders, primarily those currently in their 20’s and 30’s.
  • Language, Literature, and Culture Formation. Eric Geiger writes “What can we learn about building a strong culture from the Babylonian leaders? They taught people, even those they captured, their language and the literature.” 
  • 7 Attributes of a Wise Leader. Ron Edmondson shares some attributes he has observed in leaders who have wisdom. He asks us as we read this to think of people you believe are “wise” leaders.
  • Should Christians Be the Best Workers? Stephen Graves writes “The more I think about my true/false question, the more I think answer is…it depends. I am not certain a balanced, mature, flourishing Christian should be the highest performing worker every time…regardless.”
  • What’s Best Next – the Organization. Matt Perman announces a new organization he is forming with his friend James Kinnard. He writes that the vision for What’s Best Next will be “to launch an organization focused on helping Christians be more effective leaders, managers, and individual contributors. Through a variety of practical resources, we want to empower men and women in their daily work, from a gospel-centered perspective.”
  • How Do You Respond in Difficult Circumstances? Chris Patton writes “In both of these cases, there seems to be a clear path to take if we are serious about seeking to hear, “Well done” from Jesus. I don’t think any of us have a problem seeing the right thing to do. Unfortunately, in both cases these decisions will cause loss of popularity with employees and people in the community. Hearing, “What a guy” from the crowd is very unlikely after making these decisions.”
  • John Maxwell Quote20 Ways Being a Mom Makes Me a Better Leader. Selma Wilson writes “Being a Mother has been the most rewarding, challenging, adventurous, and fulfilling role in my life. Being a Mom has stretched me, grown me, and taught me so much about life and leadership. I wouldn’t be the leader I am today, had I not gone through the boot camp of motherhood.”
  • The Leadership Pursuit That Enhances All Others. Dan Rockwell writes “The pursuit of feedback enhances all other leadership pursuits. And when leaders grow, everyone around them gets better.”  As leaders, even though we may not always like what we hear, we need to be asking feedback our teams and our leaders.
  • How to Release the Power of Your Goals. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Unfortunately, very few people are very good at setting their goals and reaching their goals.  Oh sure, they experience some success but nothing close to what they could experience if they really knew what they were doing when it comes to setting goals. So what’s the problem and what’s the answer?”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Good work with good people. If I can do that until I cannot, I will be a happy man. Steven Garber
  • If you’re waiting for a title to lead, chances are you’ll never lead. Dan Rockwell
  • When people don’t work to take control of things that matter, they work to take control of things that don’t matter. That’s called politics. Simon Sinek
  • People aren’t interested in your answer until they feel you understand their problem. Dan Rockwell
  • The God who calls is also the God who equips. Kevin DeYoung
  • Saying you’re a leader doesn’t make you a leader. Leading makes you a leader. Simon Sinek
  • Someone said, “Comfort is the enemy of achievement.” Do something challenging and faith-filled today! Craig Groeschel
  • A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. John Wooden
  • The fear of conflict is always a sign of problems. Patrick Lencioni
  • None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes so don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself for making mistakes and learn from them. Ken Blanchard

The SecretThe Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do by Ken Blanchard, Mark Miller. Berrett-Koehler. Publishers. Third Edition. 155 pages. 2014 edition
****  

I read this book when it was first released, and recently re-read the third (or 10th Anniversary Edition). The book is written as a fictional story (think of Patrick Lencioni’s leadership fables) and follows Debbie Brewster, a leader who has been struggling. As a result, she applies for a new mentoring program at her organization. She is selected to participate, and the mentor she is assigned to is Jeff Brown, the president of the company.

In their first meeting Debbie asks Jeff “What is the secret of great leaders?” He responds that the secret is that great leaders SERVE. The book follows Debbie through her monthly mentoring meetings with Jeff as he takes her through the SERVE model. We see her applying what she has learned in those sessions, and as a result growing as a leader.

The SERVE model is:

S – See the Future.

E – Engage and Develop Others

R – Reinvent Continuously

V – Value Results and Relationships

E – Embody the Values

This quick read communicates helpful messages about being a servant leader via an interesting story about a leader who was struggling. It also includes some helpful resources at the end of the book, including a self-assessment and frequently asked questions. This would be a good book to read in a book club or in a mentoring session.

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 12 ~ Pathway 3 LAUNCH YOUR OWN SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

  • A third avenue of vocational stewardship that congregational leaders can consider facilitating is getting behind the entrepreneurial dreams of high-capacity congregants. Right now, your church may contain some talented marketplace leaders whom God is stirring in an exciting-and perhaps slightly scary-new way. They are actively thinking of leaving their “day job” (or at least carving out significant time in their schedule) to birth a new social enterprise. They dream of implementing a new kingdom endeavor to bless a targeted group or to provide a creative solution to a thorny social problem.
  • In short, right now, God may be planting some big dreams in the hearts of your congregation’s members-dreams that could rejoice your city and that many congregants could rally behind.
  • At a remarkable evangelical church in Nairobi, these sorts of social enterprises are being encouraged deliberately, as a centerpiece of the church’s mission. Mavuno (“Harvest”) Church’s purpose is bold: “to turn ordinary people into fearless influencers of society.” It does so through a carefully conceived, robust and unique discipleship program called the Mavuno Marathon.
  • Mavuno Church’s model provides several lessons for congregations that wish to encourage social entrepreneurs. First, Mizizi provides the foundational kingdom theology that effectively undergirds a missional commitment. Second, the course includes a section inviting participants to identify and explore the unique passions and gifts God has given them. Third, Mavuno Marathon exposes congregants to the needs of the poor in their city and to contemporary issues of injustice. Fourth, as church leaders challenge congregants to take risks and do great things for God’s kingdom, they also recognize that church members with natural gifts for doing so are the ones who could suffer from pride. So, in addition to affirming these people’s talents and supporting their efforts to serve society, Mavuno challenges them to learn and to practice servant leadership. Fifth, the church helps high-capacity leaders to remember the foundational value of community and accountability, and expects them to be part of a Life Group. Sixth, it grounds these social entrepreneurs in the practice of prayer-for themselves, their initiatives, their city and their nation. As Linda says of the Ombi course, when you’ve completed it, “you fully understand that there can be no genuine social transformation except that which happens through prayer.” Finally, Mavuno’s model holds people loosely. It empowers the laity and sets these talented people free to minister outside the four walls of the church.
  • Today Muriithi wants to see Mavuno Church completely transform its members’ lives. “Our business is about raising an army that will bring reformation in our generation.” The Mavuno Marathon cultivates the personal and social righteousness that believers need in order to live as the tsaddiqim who rejoice the city.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • How I Work: An Interview with Lori Bridges. Joe Carter interviews Lori Bridges, a homeschooling mother who has four children.
  • Nicknames Your Boss Deserves But You Don’t Dare to Use. Dan Rockwell shares this humorous post of names that none of us want attributed to us.
  • prayingOne Responsibility a Christian Leader Cannot Delegate. Chris Patton writes that “there is one responsibility that you simply cannot delegate to your team – not even to your inner circle. This responsibility is prayer.
  • The Dangerous Fear of Attrition. Patrick Lencioni states that “Many leaders have something of an obsession with retention, and a corresponding fear of attrition.” But, “Retaining a misaligned employee, customer or member of the congregation is not actually good for that person, who is often just plain unhappy.  Compassionately freeing them to leave, without animosity or bitterness, will actually increase the likelihood that they may eventually opt in for the right reasons.  That seems a lot wiser than retaining them for the wrong ones.”
  • 5 Steps to Dealing with Compromise in Business. Chris Patton writes “If you are a Christian in business, then you have been compelled to compromise your faith (or how you exercise it) at some point. It may have come in the form of a small decision. Maybe it came in the form of a big one. Whatever the case, there are many opportunities to compromise. We need to be aware of this and fight hard to stand firm.”
  • 10 Powerful Beliefs of Unstoppable Leaders. Dan Rockwell writes “What you believe is the most important thing about you. Choose your beliefs carefully, they determine your destiny.”
  • In Praise of an Uncommon Corporate Value. John Kyle writes “We are not called to simply have romantic thoughts about the idea of warmth. We’re called to live it. We’re called to be passionate advocates for it – even in the workplace, even when our colleagues are hard to love.”
  • 5 Keys to Getting Through Conflict. Dr. Alan Zimmerman shares five tips that will help you resolve any interpersonal problem
  • rebuild the dreamRebuilding the Dream. Bob Chapman writes “It’s our responsibility as leaders to make the American Dream a reality. We can do this by moving away from the singular focus on shareholder value and working towards leadership practices that create a ‘safe’ environment where people feel valued for who they are and what they do as we collectively aspire to a vision that creates value for all stakeholders. Business could be the most powerful force for good if it simply cared about the lives they touch.”
  • How to Seize the Biggest Missed Opportunity in Meetings. Dan Rockwell writes “Treat people – in the conference room – the way you want them to treat each other in the hall. The way we treat each other, while we do the work, is the most important thing about us.”
  • Four Warning Signs You’re Approaching Burnout. Eric Geiger writes “I am not a medical doctor or counselor, but I have learned the rhythms in my own life and have sought counsel continually from leaders I respect. I have seen and also learned the hard way that pushing through seasons of exhaustion can backfire.”
  • 3 Signs We’ve Made Work an Idol. Jeff Haanen writes about exhaustion, fear and pride.
  • The Best of Patrick Lencioni. Andy Budgell writes “For the last few decades, Patrick Lencioni has been on a crusade to help revolutionize teams. Anticipating the changes of the 21st century workplace, Lencioni’s ten books have sold more than four million copies worldwide. The following are some of our top takeaways from this prolific author.”
  • Leadership Identity. Brad Lomenick ends his series on leadership identity with a sixth installment. The other five articles are also linked here.
  • The Great Leader’s Guide to Connecting Emotionally with Others. John Maxwell writes “After spending forty years as a leader and communicator, I am convinced more than ever that good communication is all about connecting.  If you can connect with others at every level—one-on-one, in groups, and with an audience—your relationships are stronger, your sense of community improves, and your ability to create teamwork increases. In addition, your influence grows, and your productivity skyrockets.”
  • Lead Like Jesus Devotional. I enjoy these short devotionals I receive each week. You can sign up to receive them free.
  • Acquire. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks about the word acquire.
  • Three Things That Will Greatly Improve Morale on Your Team/Staff. Dave Kraft writes that if clarity, communications and celebration are missing you are guaranteed to have bad morale
  • 7 Popular Productivity Beliefs You Should Ignore.  Stephanie Vozza shares seven myths productivity experts say we should avoid. Some of which I’ve heard for a long time.
  • 7 Ways to Respond to a Lazy Co-Worker. Ron Edmondson writes about how to respond to lazy co-workers, “People who don’t want to work. They often have a job, but give far less than their best to it. They want a paycheck, they want to eat well, but they don’t really want to earn their pay.”

lazy coworker

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. C.S. Lewis
  • You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. C.S. Lewis
  • To you to live a significant life, you have to become intentional. John Maxwell
  • Success is about us. Significance is about others. John Maxwell
  • Most people are not valued. Very few people have someone who believes in them. Very few have others love them unconditionally. Do these things intentionally every day. John Maxwell
  • What if leadership is mostly about trying to graciously embody each day what you invite others to follow? Zack Eswine
  • God doesn’t call people to a job description, He calls people to Himself and His mission in the world. Louie Giglio
  • Discernment might be the greatest requirement for leadership. Seeing beyond the surface to the core issue is essential. Pray for it. Louie Giglio
  • Leadership is stewardship. Ron Edmondson
  • Don’t wait to be inspired to work, work until you are inspired! KB
  • Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. Coach
  • To leave someone in a position of leadership when he/she cannot be successful is like cancer within an organization. Mark Miller
  • Leaders with the most POWER must be the MOST willing to pass it on, Give it away and push it to others. Brad Lomenick
  • Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Saint Augustine
  • True greatness, true leadership, is achieved not by reducing men to one’s service but in giving oneself in selfless service to them. Oswald Sanders
  • Great vision without great people is irrelevant.  Jim Collins
  • The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake.  Jim Collins
  • Whatever you focus upon, increases. Andy Andrews

John Maxwell Quote

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at

CHAPTER 11 ~ Pathway 2 DONATE YOUR SKILLS

  • Pathway two of vocational stewardship is about donating vocational skills to nonprofits and ministries-within the church, in the local community or abroad-that can use them to advance God’s kingdom.
  • Churches with the ability to promote not only blooming but also this pathway may discover that many congregants respond enthusiastically to meaningful opportunities to use their job skills on their off time.
  • Despite the fact that this kind of service would be of obvious benefit to both the server and the served, most congregations have no specific, intentional focus or programs to identify their congregants’ occupational skills and match those to serving opportunities.
  • With regard to administration, some churches do not use any sort of database to gather information on their parishioners. Consequently, they do not collect vocational information that could be useful in matching members to relevant volunteer opportunities.
  • Some clergy are not enthusiastic about helping their members to plug in to service opportunities best suited for their skills when those opportunities are outside the church’s own programs.
  • Congregational leaders have pioneered four strategies for overcoming administrative obstacles: implementing new technology; rethinking traditional approaches to engaging volunteers; partnering with a local “volunteer clearinghouse’; and providing formal coaching.
  • Many church leaders fear that releasing congregants to agencies outside the congregation will leave the church itself bereft of the human and financial resources it requires. Leaders must conquer this fear if they are to implement vocational stewardship along pathway two.
  • Facilitating pathway two may require congregational leaders to make some changes in both their attitudes and their administrative structures. Change is never easy, and it doesn’t happen without significant motivation. For those active in vocational stewardship along pathway two, the enormous benefits are well worth the effort.
  • The first benefit is the deep joy parishioners experience. They discover that it is profoundly rewarding to use their unique, God-given skills to serve others on the frontlines.
  • Service along pathway two has also deepened some congregants’ appreciation for believers whose skill sets are much different from their own. For them, it illuminates in fresh ways the truth of 1 Corinthians 12 about the value of all parts of Christ’s body.
  • Congregants who have donated their vocational skills to ministries also report that they’ve grown in their appreciation for the unity of Christ’s body worldwide.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly for congregational leaders, service along pathway two has sparked spiritual growth in some parishioners.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articlesrespect

  • 7 Ways to Maintain Respect as a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “As a leader, one of your most valuable and needed assets is the respect of the people you are trying to lead. If a leader is respected, people will follow him or her almost anywhere.   If a leader loses respect it becomes very difficult to regain respect.”
  • The Question Great Leaders Ask. In this short video, Andy Stanley talks about the question all great leaders should ask.
  • 10 Inexpensive Ways to Develop People on Your Team. Ron Edmondson writes “When budgets are stretched, development often is pushed to the back burner or cut altogether from the budget. This is dangerous for a team, which wishes to remain healthy and continue growing. If a team is not learning and improving, it will soon struggle to maintain any level of success. It’s important, therefore, to find ways to develop even with stressed budgets.”
  • Eight Steps to Leading Change from Nehemiah to Kotter. Eric Geiger writes “Perhaps the most definitive business book on leading an organization to change is John Kotter’s book Leading Change. When ministry leaders speak or write about leadership, they often look to the wisdom found in the Book of Nehemiah, as it chronicles Nehemiah’s leadership in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah led wide-scale change.”
  • Why Does God Allow Poor Leadership? Chris Patton writes “I want us to think about the various reasons that God may have for leaving Saul in authority as long as He did. Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever wondered why certain poor leadership is allowed to remain in authority today?”
  • 9 Questions to Determine if You’re a Christian Leader. Chuck Lawless writes “Many of us find ourselves in leadership positions, but we wonder sometimes if we’re really leading. And, frankly, sometimes there are folks around us who also wonder if we’re leading. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you’re really leading as a Christian leader.”
  • 7 Ways to Find Purpose. Dan Rockwell writes “Lack of purpose is the reason you feel adrift and disconnected.” He lists provides 7 benefits of purpose and 7 ways to find leadership purpose.
  • How I Work: An Interview with Karen Swallow-Prior. Joe Carter interviews Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English at Liberty University and author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions—The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist.
  • Thick Skin, Tender Hearts and Four Types of Leaders. Eric Geiger writes “Don’t choose between thick skin and a tender heart. As a leader, you need both. But only by walking daily with the Lord can a leader have thick skin and a tender heart.”
  • Beauty is a “Clue” that God Exists. Kyle Werner interviews Dan Forrest, a composer living in Greenville, South Carolina.
  • work hardNobody Cares How Hard You Work. Oliver Burkeman writes “We chronically confuse the feeling of effort with the reality of results.”
  • Can One Marriage Support Two Callings? Dorcas Cheng-Tozun writes “In the end, we had to confront a question that many couples ask: God has called us together in marriage, but what callings does he have for each of us? How do we balance—and support—our distinct gifts and purposes?”
  • 5 Leadership Questions with Thom Rainer. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper talk with Dr. Thom Rainer, the President of LifeWay Christian Resources, and one of the most influential leaders of leaders in the church world today.
  • Four Reasons to have a “Stop Doing” List. Eric Geiger writes “A “stop doing” list forces you to evaluate what you and your team are doing and to eliminate that which is not the most fruitful. Just as waste accumulates in a spare room in a home, waste has a tendency to accumulate in any organization. Unnecessary activities and unfruitful actions threaten effectiveness”.
  • A Common Calling. Steven Garber writes “What is plain to me is that a long-loved love requires a common calling…We don’t fall in love and then get married; instead we get married and then learn what love requires.”
  • Seven Ways to Improve Your Team. David Mathis shares “seven ways, among others, for ministry teams (and especially team leaders) to pursue health and fitness in team dynamics”.
  • Top Twelve Trends in Leadership Today. Brad Lomenick shares key trends happening in leadership today
  • 5 Things You Need to Succeed. Mark Miller writes “Conventional wisdom says, “10,000 hours of deliberate practice will make you world-class”. However, if you can’t devote 10,000 hours, what do you need to succeed?

frayed rope

  •  Subtle Signs of Stress. Charles Stone writes “For years doctors have warned us that prolonged stress can hurt our bodies such as causing high blood pressure and stomach problems. But as neuroscientists learn more about our brains, they’re discovering that stress can diminish brain functioning which in turn shows up in subtle ways in our bodies. Take this quick self-evaluation and ask yourself if any of these are true of you.”
  • Three Ways Leaders Must Communicate Vision. Eric Geiger writes “If you want vision to be embraced, it must be repeated over and over again.
  • Finish the Drill. Mark Miller gives us some tips on how to follow-through on our goals.
  • Insecurity. Dave Kraft writes about insecurity, calling it the biggest issue he has struggled with as a Christian leader.
  • Vision: A Conversation with Frank Blake, Part 2. In this edition of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley continues his conversation with Frank Blake on organizational vision and how to get things done.
  • 7 Popular Myths about Leadership. Ron Edmondson writes “I have observed leadership is often not easy to define as a few simple words. In fact, there are many myths when it comes to even what leadership means — certainly how it’s practiced. I encounter people who don’t have a clue what real leadership is and what it isn’t.”
  • Secrets of the Top 10%. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “According to Lewis Timberlake, in his book It’s Always Too Soon To Quit, statistics show that only 10% actually succeed at all their goals, making the changes they need to make to get the success they want. The other 90%, to some degree or another, may have some goals but they’re convinced they’ll never achieve them.

favorite quotes

  • John MaxwellPeople will not give you their hand until they can see your heart. John Maxwell
  • Most people are more comfortable with old problems than new solutions. John Maxwell
  • Rather than being a jack of all trades and master of none, be a jack of a few trades and master of one. John Maxwell
  • Leadership functions on the basis of trust, and when the trust is gone, the leader soon will be. John Maxwell
  • Higher calling matters. When you care so deeply about the why—why you’re doing what you’re doing—then and only then are you operating in a way that allows you to overcome the obstacles. Dave Ramsey
  • Just keep taking the next step and keep having excellence in the ordinary. Dave Ramsey
  • When I think of character, I think of not only behavior but also of motive. What it is that drives you to serve and do what you are doing? Ravi Zacharias
  • What’s not working in your life? Challenge your beliefs to see what is working for you and what isn’t. Ken Blanchard
  • The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life – mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical. Coach K
  • Martin Luther was once asked by a man how he should serve the Lord. “What is your work now?” Luther asked. The man replied, “I am a shoemaker.” Luther said, “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.”
  • Matt ChandlerYour vitality is going to not be so determined by how you manage your time or what programs you implement but really your vitality and strength in leadership comes from your knowledge of Jesus Christ and how well you see him and what you actually believe about him. Matt Chandler
  • I think leadership just comes down to walking in a humility that allows you to learn from others and hear from others, that isn’t quick to judge, that allows you to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. Matt Chandler
  • Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln
  • Hard work is a prison cell only if the work has no meaning. Malcolm Gladwell
  • Greatness is not about personality. It’s about humility, plus will. That is where the essence of leadership begins. Jim Collins
  • We don’t just enter the mission field when we leave our church parking lot, but when we get out of bed every day. Burk Parsons

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at

Chapter 10: Pathway 1 ~ Bloom Where You’re Planted

  • Three key commitments mark congregational leaders who are effective in encouraging their members to steward their vocations for the common good: affirmation, education and support
  • Affirmation. Nurturing the tsaddiqim to bloom at their job begins with solid preaching based on the theological convictions examined in previous chapters.
  • At The Falls Church, for example, in the congregational prayer every Sunday, four or five church members are specifically prayed for by name and vocation.
  • Church leaders can also affirm their marketplace professionals by formally commissioning them during worship services.
  • Pastor Tom Nelson from Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kansas, uses workplace illustrations in sermons and invites testimonies from marketplace members. He and his staff also visit church members at their work sites.
  • Education. In addition to affirming their members’ daily work, church leaders can promote “blooming” by offering adult education opportunities devoted to faith/work integration topics.
  • Some churches have found that gathering members into vocationally based small groups is a good strategy for helping believers deepen their understanding of and commitment to faith/work integration. Redeemer Presbyterian Church, a megachurch of more than four thousand attendees in New York City, leads the oldest initiative of this sort that I found in my research. Its Center for Faith and Work, launched in January 2003, seeks to “equip, connect, and mobilize our church community in their professional and industry spheres toward gospel-centered transformation for the common good.””
  • We need to get to the point in our churches where even children can describe what “vocational stewardship” is. They will be able to do so if we regularly tell the stories of what it looks like in every sector of society.
  • The professionals profiled throughout this chapter demonstrate that it is possible for Christians in the marketplace to go far beyond the traditional ways of connecting faith and work (that is, practicing personal morality and studying the Bible with others in the workplace). Their stories point to several additional arenas where kingdom values can be advanced, such as how employees are selected, treated and managed; how a firm’s profits are used; how an organization practices environmental stewardship; how its products are designed; how it relates to others in its industry; and how it contributes to its community.
  • As church leaders encourage their members to wed their faith and work, they should challenge them to ponder this question: “In my current job, am I doing all I can to deploy my vocational power to promote kingdom foretastes? Am I truly blooming where I’m planted?”
  • Even believers with limited authority at their workplaces can be creative about stewarding the level of influence they do possess. Specifically, church leaders can respond with the following. First, they can encourage church members to educate themselves about the working conditions of everyone below them in their organization. Believers can strive to develop friendly, respectful relationships with those workers, learning their names, inquiring about their families.
  • Believers in the firm-including those not high up themselves-may be encouraged by church leaders to improve the quality of life for the lowest-level workers in some simple, practical ways.
  • Regardless of what position a believer holds at the firm, he could start a quiet, intercessory prayer ministry.
  • Church leaders should remind their congregants that, in many firms, even employees in the lower echelons can offer suggestions about ways the organization could be more engaged in the community.
  • There is also nothing to stop a small group of believers at an organization from forming their own emergency benevolence fund. They could seed the fund with their own contributions and then invite other employees to contribute.
  • Additionally, even employees with modest positions or low seniority can suggest small, doable reforms in terms of the organization’s energy and resource use, to inch the firm in a “greener” direction.
  • Another strategy involves tweaking initiatives that already exist at the company in order to promote the values of equality or opportunity.
  • The point is this: congregants need to understand that wherever they are, regardless of their status, they can probably do at least one thing that advances kingdom values like justice or beauty or compassion or economic opportunity or creation care.
  • There remains a role for church leaders to continue to teach on some less “sexy” familiar topics as they disciple their people for blooming. One is ethics. Since the workplace is fallen, there will always be a place for strong teaching from the pulpit on personal holiness on the job.
  • The second is evangelism. Church leaders should regularly remind their flocks that the amazingly good news of the good news needs to be shared with our nonbelieving coworkers.
  • Finally, church leaders should continue emphasizing one other E-word: excellence.
  • In some cases, given the weight of their individual responsibilities, some believers may need to view excellence as the highest among the kingdom values they are seeking to live by as they bloom for Jesus in their profession.

no purpose


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FAITH AND WORK

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articlesgrouch

  • 5 Ways to Deal with the Grouch in Your Life. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “I don’t know your exact situation, but I do know this. You’re probably a grouch once in a while. And if you want The Payoff Principle to work for you, you can’t afford to be a grouch. So what can you do to maximize your chances for incredible happiness and outlandish success?
  • Four Leadership Personalities: What Color are You? I very much enjoy personality tests (Strengthfinders, Myers-Briggs, Pace Pallet, Stand Out, etc.). Eric Geiger shares one that I am not familiar with. He writes “With our leadership team, we use the Insights Discovery tool to help each other understand our unique personalities. The tool is validated and has proven helpful to our team in serving and communicating with one another.”
  • What are YOU Waiting for to Truly Enjoy Your Life and Responsibilities? Dave Kraft writes “Are you stuck emotionally and vocationally? Do you feel you are in a rut and will be there for a long time?”
  • Calling: Context is Everything. What happens when expectations misalign with reality? David H. Kim expounds the rarely discussed, surprising and vitally important context of calling as it relates to our work. What expectations do you have with respect to your calling? Expectations play a hidden, but very important role in shaping our motivations for work as well as a deeper sense of purpose. The wrong expectations can make a great job seem miserable. Yet, our expectations often go unexamined and unchallenged. Here Kim explores how the Bible presents a very important context which transforms the way we view our work and our sense of calling. The gospel changes everything and realigns our expectations in such a way that connects our daily work with God’s redemptive purposes.
  • 10 Things You Don’t Know about the Faith and Work Movement. Jennifer Woodruff Tait shares these ten helpful thoughts about the faith and work movement.
  • 5 “C” Suggestions for Developing Trust as a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “If any leader wants to be successful, much will be determined by the level of trust he or she can attain. One goal of every leader, therefore should be trust development.”
  • The Courage to Change Course. Mark Miller writes “There are no great leaders without great courage. A Stop Doing List is an outstanding tool to strengthen our courage and our leadership.”
  • Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling. What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, if you’re not sure you want to do just one thing for the rest of your life, you’re not alone. In this illuminating talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick describes the kind of people she calls “multipotentialites” — who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. Are you one?
  • H3H3 Leadership Q&A with Brad Lomenick. Matt Perman, author of What’s Best Next, interviews Brad Lomenick about his new book H3 Leadership. I’ll be reading that book soon and will post a review after I do.
  • Empower. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks about what it means to empower.
  • Book Review: 18-Minutes To Maximize Productivity. Paul Sohn writes “Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done reveals helpful insights on how to jump-start our productivity.
  • 3 Dangerous Ways to Think About Your Identity. Our friend Kevin Halloran writes “Everybody in leadership needs to foster the right self-identity in relationship to their work. For many of us, identity issues can be major sources of pain and frustration as we seek to make a difference in the position the Lord has placed us.”
  • Trusting God in a World of Competition. Carey Bustard interviews Robert Bigley, a performer, administrator, and educator. He is currently executive director of the Trust Performing Arts Center and director of choral activities at Lancaster Bible College.
  • Four Practical Ways to Change Organizational Culture. Eric Geiger writes “Changing the culture of an organization is extremely difficult, and it is not something that can be done with a new logo, a purpose statement, a white board session, and a few media slides.”
  • How Fear Shapes Your Life—and How to Take Control. In this edition of the In the Loop podcast, Andy Andrews answers two listener questions on how fear shapes your life and how to balance belief in yourself against pride.  
  • 7 Qualities of an Easy to Follow Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “The best example I know of a followable leader is Jesus. Consider some of the reasons He was able to develop such loyalty among the people He led — why He was easy to follow.”
  • How Do I Find My Calling? New Bible App Reading Plan Available on YouVersion. IFWE recently launched a new five-day reading plan by Dr. Art Lindsley, “How Do I Find My Calling,” on the YouVersion Bible App.

5 questions

  • 5 Leadership Questions Podcast with John Maxwell. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, John Maxwell tells us about how he moved from pastoring into the leadership development space, shares much wisdom, and drops some absolutely gold quotes. Maxwell also shares about his new bookIntentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters.  
  • 5 Leadership Questions Podcast with Eric Geiger. In this episode of the podcast, Eric Geiger joins the team to talk constructive vs. destructive criticism, the difference between feedback and criticism, and how to respond well in a digital age when everything goes public and trolls abound.
  • Pride, Pro Baseball, and Perspective: An Interview with Ben Zobrist. Collin Hansen interviews the major league baseball player, who is from a small t own about 30 minutes from my home.
  • 10 Principles of the Thorn. Dan Rockwell writes “Salve is a temporary response, not a solution, to nagging frustrations. The best thing you can do with thorns is dig them out.”
  • The Bottom Line Isn’t at Odds with Loving Employees. Carey Bustard interviews Les Slough, vice president of Shank’s Extracts, Inc.
  • 7 Communication Opportunities For Every Leader. Bobby Albert writes “Successful, values-driven cultures have leaders who consistently offer meaningful communication with a purpose.  And they repeatedly communicate internally- with their employees, as well as externally- with customers and suppliers”.
  • Does the Everyday Mundane Matter? Hugh Whelchel writes “If Christianity is to once again become a positive influence in American public life, all Christians need to be present within that life as salt and light. Christians need to leave the safety of their Christian ghettos and take the risks necessary for reforming, renewing, and recalling today’s culture.”
  • Injury Interrupted My Idolatry. Professional basketball player Landry Fields writes “Suffering has made the gospel real to me. And God will use suffering to make the gospel real to you too. If you’re going through something painful or difficult, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t paying attention or doesn’t care. It means God wants to win you to true faith in him, a better hope in his salvation, and deep humility and joy in his grace”.
  • Communicating Grace in an Ungracious World. In the first article of a four-part series on communicating grace in the workplace Bill Peel writes “Whether we work on a factory floor, in a cramped cubical, or in the corner office, each of us has the opportunity to bring grace to our workplace. Even small things—a word of encouragement or a simple act of kindness—can be used by God to accomplish big things”.
  • Take Every Task Captive Today. Marshall Segal writes “Serve in the strength and time and talents that he supplies (1 Peter 4:11), because the work ahead of you is God’s, given to you for his glory”.
  • Our Questions, Our Callings, Our Commitments. Steven Garber, an excellent writers, the author of Visions of Vocation, writes about the Ligonier Valley Study Center, Libri and other things in this article.
  • 10 Easy Ways Leaders Can Build Trust with Their New Teams. Randy Conley writes “The primary goal of any leader stepping in to lead a new team should be to build trust.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Leaders should bring clarity to the unknown, calm to chaos, and order to disorder. Brad Lomenic
  • Your reputation is not for sale. Protect it at all costs. It takes years to build, but only seconds to lose. Brad Lomenick
  • Too often we confuse popularity with success, and obscurity with failure. Chris Larson
  • Good attitudes among players don’t guarantee success, but bad attitudes guarantee failure. John Maxwell
  • If you wake up in a bad mood, get over it, ask for help, or call in sick and stay home. No need to infect others with what you have. Dr. Henry Cloud
  • A sure-fire way to gain a boost in attitude is to surround yourself with optimistic people. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • Giving people real responsibility accelerates their growth. Mark Miller
  • Effective leadership is influence, but the foundation on true effective leadership and influence is agreement—not disagreement. Andy Andrews
  • Learning is at the heart of mentoring. Think about how you can learn from people across generations as mentors. Ken Blanchard
  • Choose JOY! That is the feeling that life is a special occasion and you take the opportunity to serve when the opportunity comes. Ken Blanchard
  • There is great joy and satisfaction in the journey to achieving your goals. There is power in intentionality. Dave Ramsey
  • Ability can take you to the top but it takes character to keep you there. Coach K
  • Surround yourself with people strong enough to change your mind. John Wooden
  • Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. John Wooden
  • What the whole world wants more than food, shelter, safety and peace — is a good job. Scott Sauls

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.  It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at

Chapter 9: Displaying Vocational Power

  • Having seen why they should steward their vocational power and what that power is, members of the congregation now need help in discerning where to invest their efforts. This is the work of deployment.
  • Blooming where you’re planted. The primary and most important avenue for deploying vocational power is in and through one’s present work. The first place believers should look to conduct their foretaste-bringing mission is right at the current job they hold. I call this “blooming where you’re planted.”
  • Blooming involves reflecting and promoting God’s glory in our current vocation. The tsaddiqim do this by seeking to live out, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the vertical, personal and social dimensions of righteousness in the context of their vocation.
  • We bloom when we acknowledge God as our director and audience, and conduct our work in functional, daily reliance on the Spirit. We bloom when we honor God through our ethical practice and when we intentionally and creatively seek to advance shalom for all our organization’s stakeholders. And we bloom when we act as “intrapreneurs”-people who innovate needed reform within their company or industry sector.’
  • Temptations of pathway 1. The temptations in this pathway are two (at least). One might be called pietism; the other, triumphalism.
  • The pietistic temptation emerges when congregants mistakenly define the mission of faith/work integration too narrowly. That is, they seek to be people of integrity on the job and perhaps attempt to evangelize coworkers, but they do not muse deeply over the work itself. They don’t invest time considering how their work images God in his ongoing providence in creation or how their work participates in God’s redemptive purposes. They fail to discern how people can bear witness to the missio Dei through work in ways other than placing Christian plaques on the wall or leading Bible studies.
  • A second temptation in pathway one is triumphalism. This can occur when Christians in their secular workplaces forget the doctrine of common grace-the notion that God has granted degrees of wisdom and insight to nonbelievers and that he can advance his purposes through non-Christian institutions. Triumphalism rears its head when Christians assert that only they can perceive the true, the good and the beautiful. It surfaces when Christians carelessly use language about “taking” their institution or vocational sector “for Christ.” Such language can cause great consternation among secular colleagues. Triumphalism is revealed when believers fail to be good listeners to people of good will who do not share their Christian faith, when believers are inhospitable toward others’ views.
  • Church leaders equip their flock to resist the temptations of pietism and triumphalism when they teach a robust view of faith/work integration and remind their members of God’s common grace. As they celebrate members who are living out vocational stewardship along pathway one, they need to affirm a wide range of examples.
  • As they exhort congregants to influence their fields positively, they should employ the language of servanthood, not conquest.
  • Pathway 2: Donating. The second pathway of vocational stewardship involves donating our skills to organizations other than our regular employer. This includes volunteer service at churches, nonprofit ministries or private or public agencies that can make good use of our particular vocational knowledge and experience in their labors here at home or abroad. This pathway is unique in its concern that volunteer service intentionally capitalizes on vocational power. It’s about getting bankers to serve as bankers, carpenters to serve as carpenters and architects to serve as architects.
  • Temptations of pathway 2. The main temptations of this pathway involve impatience, arrogance and failure to appreciate work styles or work environments/cultures different from those with which one is most familiar and comfortable.
  • Pathway 3: Inventing. Vocational stewardship along the third pathway is a form of what author Andy Crouch calls “culture making.” In his book by that name, Crouch argues that “the only way to change culture is to create more of it.”
  • Pathway three involves drawing on our vocational power to launch a new social enterprise that seeks to advance the kingdom in a fresh way. It is about creating new or alternative institutions (big or small) that implement innovative ways of addressing social problems. Vocational stewardship along this pathway brings foretastes of shalom first to the direct beneficiaries of the services provided by these new organizations. In some cases, it can also bring about significant, far-reaching cultural or social change.
  • Temptations of pathway 3. The principal temptation of pathway three involves failure to listen or to partner.
  • In the same way, professionals who have proven themselves excellent problem solvers in the business realm may fail to see where there are limits on the transferability of those skills.
  • Investing. Finally, pathway four involves participating in a targeted, intensive initiative by a congregation to serve a particular people group, neighborhood or cause in a way that strategically employs our vocational power. Some congregations have chosen a narrow but deep strategy for affecting community renewal. They’ve honed in on a particular neighborhood or a particular problem, such as failing schools or the troubled foster care system or international sex trafficking.
  • Pathway four funnels all the diverse talents of congregants toward the same target.
  • Temptations of pathway 4. The principal temptation to fight on this pathway is the failure to undertake the work in a “ministry with” paradigm as opposed to a “ministry to” paradigm. For example, if a church has targeted an economically distressed community, it must guard against its talented, fast-paced, powerful members running roughshod over community residents in so-called helping initiatives.

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

integrating faith and work
Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • People are never fit for a divine call until they are overwhelmed and floored by the glory of God. Bob Smart
  • The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. Frederick Buechner
  • When I get the ball back after my last warmup pitch, I always think of Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man.” It’s easy to go out and pitch to impress people and to impress teammates, but the reality is God is giving you the ability to be out there. It’s almost a form of worship to give everything you have for His glory. By doing that, not only is it glorifying to God, but my teammates know I’m giving everything I have on the field. Steve Cishek (St. Louis Cardinals pitcher).
  • What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle and giving 110 percent all the time. Coach K
  • Don’t pretend things are easy when they’re challenging. People won’t trust you if they think you’re faking. Dan Rockwell
  • Aligning personal passion with organizational objectives creates performance sweet spots. Dan Rockwell
  • Expectations establish trust so set them clearly and early. Brad Lomenick
  • Organizations learn by making decisions, even bad ones. Patrick Lencioni
  • The problem is too often they (meetings) and boring in a meeting happens for the same reason as in a book or movie – when there is not enough compelling tension. Meetings should be intense. Patrick Lencioni
  • Any time you engage in shaping the beliefs, thoughts, and development of others, you are engaging in leadership. Ken Blanchard
  • Desire greatness! But bend your definition of greatness to the one He gives us Remember, in Jesus, obscurity and greatness are not opposites. Zack Eswine
  • Be a Rising Tide as a Leader, instead of a crashing wave. Rising tides lift all boats, while waves erode, crash & cause chaos. Brad Lomenick
  • The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall. Coach K
  • It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit. John Wooden

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 8: Formation:

  • Faithful vocational stewardship is not only about doing, it’s also about being.
  • Discipling for vocational stewardship involves not only the work of inspiration and discovery but also an emphasis on formation.
  • The danger here lies in people acknowledging the position, knowledge or skills they possess-but then over-esteeming them.
  • Preparing believers for wise vocational stewardship begins with cultivating at least four key character traits: servanthood, responsibility, courage and humility.
  • Servanthood. Congregants who steward power well see their primary identity as servants. To nurture this attitude among their flock, church leaders can begin by teaching the Hebrew word avodah. This term is used to express three notions: worship, work and service.
  • Avodah also includes God-dependent prayer as we undertake our work, God-focused attention as we do the work with him as our audience and God-guided love for others as we consider the kinds of work we should do.
  • Another ancient word can also help church leaders seeking to shape their people for vocational stewardship. This one is vocare, a Latin term meaning “to call.” It is the root of our English word vocation.
  • Our fundamental vocation (calling) is that of a servant. Our work is fundamentally about serving others. Congregants who deeply grasp this are more prepared for vocational stewardship than those who don’t.
  • The tsaddiqim practice seeing and perceiving rightly.
  • Courage. To accept responsibility for acting in a world of injustice and brokenness takes courage. And courage is not something our culture regularly calls us to. Our culture idolizes comfort, happiness and safety.
  • Church leaders encourage the development of godly courage in their members when they call those members to participate in doing the work that truly matters to God. That work is his mission of pushing back the kingdom of darkness with fresh expressions of the kingdom of light. It is the work of bringing foretastes of justice and shalom to broken people and broken places.
  • Humility. Many church leaders are in congregations filled with individuals with significant vocational power. Stewarding that power well requires deep humility-a character trait with which highly successful, competent people sometimes struggle.
  • The first part of the work of formation involves church leaders seeking to develop within their members the character of compassionate, engaged, humble servants. The second part of this work involves educating congregants in the right manner of deploying power-namely, doing so in a way that accords with how God manages his power.
  • God manages his power by sharing it, and we must imitate that modus operandi.
  • Made in God’s image, we have talents from him and authority to use them. We have vocational power. And it is God’s gift.
  • In this world, there are power disparities. Some people possess more power than others. That is just a fact. Another fact is that middle-and upper-class American Christians are among the world’s powerful. From our position of relative power, we are called to avoid despising those who, in the eyes of the world, are not powerful. We are called to see the poor and the dispossessed as more than just poor and dispossessed. We are called to see their potential, their dignity, their latent capacities. We’re called to labor with them. We do not impose our vocational power on them or even use it for them. We are called to bring it alongside them.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles5 Gears

    • 5 Gears – A New Productivity Book to Check Out. Brad Lomenick writes that this new book by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram, founders of GiANT Worldwide will “Help you develop a rhythm and routine for your life that allows you to be productive at the right time of the day, as well as shift gears to be truly present with your family and fully recharge.”
    • The New Necessity for Leadership Success. Dan Rockwell shares 25 qualities and behaviors that will make success more likely for leaders
    • Foundation. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell discusses building a strong foundation.
    • The Four Phases of Your Life’s Work (Which Describes You?) Dan Cumberland writes “There are four major phases that people find themselves in when it comes to doing their life’s work. These phases describe a person’s journey toward a deeper expression of who she is in what she does.
    • Five Dangers of Only Looking at the Past. Eric Geiger writes “There are many leaders who are stuck in the past. While there are dangers in leading with only a view of the present or with only a view of the future, leading with your mind only rooted in the past is destructive. Here are five dangers with only looking at the past as you lead.”
    • 5 Habits of Innovative Leaders. Samuel Deuth shares five habits and key questions that will help us develop as innovative leaders.
    • Four Ways Leaders Should Rebuke and Challenge. Eric Geiger writes “In a leadership role, leaders are required to confront and challenge team members and peers. While the issues are often performance and communication issues, and not sin issues, we can still glean insight from biblical exhortations on confrontation. Leaders should rebuke and challenge others in the following four ways.”
    • 7 Signs Your Culture is Sick. Dan Rockwell writes “I don’t want to be a pessimist, but I think there’s more sickness in organizational cultures than health. Healthy organizational culture results from focused attention. Sick cultures indicate distraction and neglect.”
    • Treating Our Tasks as from God. Robert Fraser writes “Once we change bosses [from men to Christ], we are to obey our earthly bosses “just as we would obey Christ” (Eph 6:5). Even though our tasks are dictated by others, we are to treat them as if they come directly from the throne of God. Then we become “like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from our heart” (Eph. 6:6). By viewing our tasks this way, several things happen.”
    • How to Re(Gain) Your Leader’s Trust. Eric Geiger writes “Credibility with your leader is essential. If your leader does not trust you, your influence and impact will be greatly hampered. So how do you regain your leader’s trust in the midst of difficult challenges and disappointment? Here are six steps to regain your leader’s trust.”
    • What Does Hope Have to Do with Leadership? Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Human beings cannot live without some form of human recognition or some sense of hope that things will get better. The same is true in the business world.”

“Vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission of God in the world.” Steven Garber

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 7 ~ Discovery.

  • Beyond casting an inspirational vision to congregants to steward their vocation for God’s glory and the good of their neighbors, church leaders need to provide a system that helps their people to examine their gifts, passions and “holy discontents,” and the dimensions of their vocational power.
  • Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in the Kansas City metro area is a national leader in walking members through this process of discovery and equipping for service.
  • Any church serious about vocational stewardship needs to designate a specific individual or team, paid or unpaid, that devotes time and energy to the work of equipping the laity.
  • Pleasant Valley’s equipping system is composed of staff training, a thoughtful adult education curriculum, one-on-one coaching and a database tool called Church Community Builder (CCB).
  • Congregational leaders need to establish deliberate pathways for helping members to discover and apply their talents.
  • At Pleasant Valley, the first steps on that pathway unfold through its four-week “Discover Your Design” course. This course relies heavily on Saddleback Church’s SHAPE assessment as well as assessment and spiritual formation tools that Pleasant Valley has crafted. Congregants learn through the class to identify their spiritual gifts, passions, skills, abilities and personality traits, and the key life experiences that have shaped them.
  • This high view of laity is emphasized in Vernon’s preaching from the pulpit. That preaching is then reinforced by the strong emphasis leaders put on having all congregants take the “Discover Your Design” course.
  • The task of discovery includes, but must go beyond, the traditional emphasis on spiritual gifts assessments. The vast majority of these assessments don’t help congregants to see how they can apply their spiritual gifts in the context of their daily work or in volunteer service outside the four walls of the church.
  • The seven dimensions of vocational power my fellow church members and I have identified are knowledge/expertise, platform, networks, influence, position, skills and reputation/fame.
  • Knowledge/expertise. Workers accumulate specific knowledge for the industries or fields they are in. This results from educational and vocational preparation as well as on-the-job experience.
  • Platform. Some professions provide workers a voice, an opportunity to get a message out or to shine the spotlight on an issue, cause, person, place or organization.
  • Networks. To take stock of vocational networks, congregants can begin by listing current and former coworkers. Then they can identify friends and colleagues from their time of vocational preparation (college, graduate school, training programs); colleagues they have met at professional conferences; and customers, vendors, partners, mentors and public officials they have interacted with on the job. Most people are surprised to see just how wide their network is.
  • Influence. In 2003, a book called The Influentials by Ed Keller and Jon Berry made the case that the kind of power known as influence-the capacity to cause an effect in indirect or intangible ways-is not synonymous with position. That is, people can have substantial influence without holding high positions. All Christians, regardless of their position within an organization, should consider what degree of influence they possess in their work setting-and how that influence can be used creatively for good.
  • Position is a dimension of vocational power that involves the degree of authority one has within an organization based on seniority or title or reputation. It also denotes the standing or credibility a person has that comes from the positional power of her or his organizational affiliation.
  • Sometimes people are so used to simply performing their jobs that they don’t often stop to take stock of the many different skills they are using in the process. Individuals in various vocations possess an almost endless array of skills.
  • Some professionals achieve a high level of name recognition within-and sometimes beyond-their vocational field. This can afford them entry to powerbrokers, capacities for mobilizing a large following or strategic opportunities to direct wide-scale attention to a particular issue or cause.
  • Beyond identifying spiritual gifts and dimensions of vocational power, the task of discovery involves encouraging congregants to discern their holy discontent.
  • A holy discontent is that passion that “wrecks” a person-that issue that “keeps you up at night; something in the world you want to fix.”


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articlescrazy-busy-all-the-time-is-crazy-png

  • The Crazy Badge of Honor. Dan Rockwell writes “We falsely believe that busyness reflects significance.”
  • Lead Like Jesus Podcast. I’m excited about this new leadership podcast.
  • Introducing First Graders to Words. Carey Anne Bustard interviews Sharon Strawbridge, who has been the first-grade teacher at Veritas Academy in Leola, Pennsylvania.
  • We Can Coexist and Not Compete. Dave Kraft writes “After years of watching organizations and teams, I have come to the strong conviction that any, and all, teams need to have a combination of dreamers and implementers–some with their heads in the clouds (in a good way) and some with their feet on the ground.”
  • Leadership Differences by Generation. In this episode of The 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins, Brad Lomenick, and Barnabas Piper discuss the differences in leadership styles between generations.
  • 9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit. Travis Bradberry writes “Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.”
  • Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. In this edition of this excellent podcast, Andy talks with Frank Blake on creating and communicating vision for your organization.
  • Lessons Introverts Need to Learn to Become Leaders. John Rampton writes “Introverts make excellent leaders, not necessarily by being social, but by applying their keen thoughts, sense of reflection, and attention to detail in all their projects; as well as by forming deeper and more meaningful relationships with their cohorts (everybody knows: small talk is an introvert’s anathema).”
  • The Business of Faith. Read this interview with Al Erisman, author of The Accidental Executive.
  • 11 Things Every Leader Must Learn. Jarrid Wilson writes “Over my last eight years of ministry, I have had the opportunity to be in various roles, and under the leadership of some incredible people. Although I don’t know everything, I believe these 11 points are vital for anyone looking to develop great leadership.”
  • The Value of Goals. Art Rainer writes “So whether you are leading a team or are trying to right your current financial situation, let me encourage you to consider identifying your goals by giving you the value they provide.”
  • When Does Your Religion Legally Excuse You from Doing Your Job? Eugene Volokh writes “Can your religion legally excuse you from doing part of your job? This is one of the questions in the Kentucky County Clerk marriage certificate case.”

Faith and Work Quotes

  • Want to be a world changing leader? Great. Lead yourself first. Change you and you will change others. Internal change creates external impact. Brad Lomenick
  • Being a leader is one thing; developing others is another. Dan Rockwell
  • If you aren’t leading without a title, a title won’t help. Dan Rockwell
  • We don’t need a title to lead. We just need to care. People would rather follow a leader with a heart than a leader with a title. Craig Groeschel
  • Be humble. Be yourself. People would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right. Craig Groeschel
  • Leaders want to help. Servant leaders love to serve. We also want to help others win. Mark Miller
  • If everything is a priority, nothing is. Mark Miller
  • Surround yourself with people that tell you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear. Coach K
  • Never look down on anyone unless you’re helping them up. Coach K
  • Followers want to be taken care of. Leaders want to take care of others. Be the leader you wish you had. Simon Sinek
  • Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position. Brian Tracy
  • If we give God service it must be because He gives us grace. We work for Him because He works in us. Charles Spurgeon
  • Failures will happen. But your success will be determined by how you respond to those failures. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • First become a winner in life. Then it’s easier to become a winner on the field. Tom Landry
  • Clock builders rather than time tellers, Level 5 leaders are comfortable with the idea that their companies will tick on without them. Jim Collins

Patrick Lencioni Quote

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?

Kingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 6: Inspiration.

  • It is from this high view of members’ daily work that pastors are positioned to offer inspiration to their flock. Carrying out this task of inspiration involves teaching a biblical theology of work and providing practical advice to members regarding the “vocational sweet spot.”
  • 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. Work is not a result of humankind’s fall into sin. Work is central in Genesis 1 and 2. There it is-right in the midst of paradise, right in the picture of God’s intentions for how things ought to be. Work is a gift from God. Work is something we were built for, something our loving Creator intends for our good.
  • Human beings are made in the image of God, and God is a worker. Human labor has intrinsic value because in it we “image,” or reflect, our Creator.
  • Pastors can explain the various ways in which God is a worker, and then encourage their congregants to identify where their own labors fit. God’s labors include the following: • Redemptive work (God’s saving and reconciling actions). Humans participate in this kind of work, for example, as evangelists, pastors, counselors and peacemakers. So do writers, artists, producers, songwriters, poets and actors who incorporate redemptive elements in their stories, novels, songs, films, performances and other works.
  • Creative work (God’s fashioning of the physical and human world). God gives humans creativity. People in the arts (sculptors, actors, painters, musicians, poets and so on) display this, as do a wide range of craftspeople such as potters, weavers and seamstresses, as well as interior designers, metalworkers, carpenters, builders, fashion designers, architects, novelists and urban planners (and more).
  • Providential work (God’s provision for and sustaining of humans and the creation).
  • Thus, innumerable individuals-bureaucrats, public utility workers, public policymakers, shopkeepers, career counselors, shipbuilders, farmers, firemen, repairmen, printers, transport workers, IT specialists, entrepreneurs, bankers and brokers, meteorologists, research technicians, civil servants, business school professors, mechanics, engineers, building inspectors, machinists, statisticians, plumbers, welders, janitors-and all who help keep the economic and political order working smoothly-reflect this aspect of God’s labor.
  • Justice work (God’s maintenance of justice). Judges, lawyers, paralegals, government regulators, legal secretaries, city managers, prison wardens and guards, policy researchers and advocates, law professors, diplomats, supervisors, administrators and law enforcement personnel participate in God’s work of maintaining justice.
  • Compassionate work (God’s involvement in comforting, healing, guiding and shepherding). Doctors, nurses, paramedics, psychologists, therapists, social workers, pharmacists, community workers, nonprofit directors, emergency medical technicians, counselors and welfare agents all reflect this aspect of God’s labor.
  • Revelatory work (God’s work to enlighten with truth). Preachers, scientists, educators, journalists, scholars and writers are all involved in this sort of work.
  • In all these various ways, God the Father continues his creative, sustaining and redeeming work through our human labor. This gives our work great dignity and purpose.
  • Our work lasts. We saw earlier that a further reason why our work truly matters is because it lasts. Work-pleasurable, fruitful, meaningful work-will be an eternal reality.
  • As church leaders teach the goodness of work, they also need to unmask and reject our secular culture’s false understandings of work.
  • Because we are fallen, we sometimes act as though success at work equates to a successful life. It doesn’t. Sometimes we make an idol of our careers. We need to repent. Sometimes we make decisions about jobs as though the ultimate purpose of work were self-fulfillment. It’s not. Sometimes we judge people’s worth based on their career position or status. We should seek God’s forgiveness. Sometimes we allow work-which is just one dimension of our lives-to crowd out family or worship or relationships or play or Sabbath. We must resist.
  • False ideas about work emerge not just from the secular culture but also from poor theology.
  • Christianity insists that our lives-including our work-are all about God and his work, his mission.
  • As author Frederick Buechner says in his pithy definition of vocation, “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
  • Church leaders should inspire their congregants to choose jobs that, to the greatest extent possible, offer them the best opportunities for directing their creative talents toward the end of advancing shalom for the common good.
  • The sweet spot is that place where our gifts and passions intersect with God’s priorities and the world’s needs. To the greatest extent possible, Christians should seek to work there.
  • I’m encouraging church leaders to invite people to find and live in their vocational sweet spot because of the joy it brings to the worker, the hope it brings to those served and the glory it brings to God.
  • Pastors must be careful not to make parishioners feel guilty when, for any number of legitimate reasons, they are not able to be in that sweet spot.
  • To inspire people with a robust understanding of work, church leaders may need to exhort congregants to examine whether they’re in the right place vocationally. Some believers may need to reassess why they are in their jobs. What are the reasons-and are they good reasons, kingdom reasons, God-honoring reasons? How much of a role do comfort, convenience, pride, fear or materialism play in explaining why we’re staying in our current jobs?
  • A final aspect of inspiring the congregation involves searching for people in the church who are modeling vocational stewardship and telling their stories.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting ArticlesMichael Jordan Quote

  • Fail Your Way to Success? (Yes, Really!) Dr. Alan Zimmerman shares few tips on how to handle failure properly.
  • Moses and Jesus Didn’t Have Their Dream Jobs By 30, Either. Liuan Huska writes “Maybe we should replace the question “What are you doing when you graduate?” with “What kind of person is God calling you to be?” This helps young adults reorient their identity away from careers, which will inevitably change, to character, which only deepens throughout a lifetime.”
  • Motivate. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, he discusses what it means to motivate.
  • Work: A Noble Christian Duty. Listen to this sermon from John MacArthur on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.
  • Stop Trying to Fix Your Weaknesses. In this 15-minute video Marcus Buckingham explains why performance management systems are broken.
  • Why Culture Matters. Tim Keller provides a fundamental perspective on why culture matters to God and therefore must matter to us.
  • How to Finally Achieve Work-Life Balance. In this edition of his This is Your Life podcast, Michael Hyatt covers three simple secrets that make work-life balance possible.
  •  5 Points on Decision Making as a Leader. Brad Lomenick writes “Leaders are decision makers. Period. Whatever the time of year and season of life, lots of decisions are probably on your desk or in your to do list waiting to be pushed forward. It’s something we must do. Constantly.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • For most truly successful people, it was their failures, handled properly, that taught them how to do it better the next time around. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • Just be who God has called you to be right where you are, with the people he has called you to serve. Michael Horton
  • Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. Coach K
  • Feedback really is the breakfast of champions. If you have an idea you are not really sure about, share it with someone for their opinion. Ken Blanchard
  • Leaders who lift up & lighten the load of others are ultimately making others & themselves better. Brad Lomenick
  • If a person can’t thrive in your environment and you release him or her to find a place better suited for them, you’ve given them a gift. Mark Miller
  • Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time. Coach KThabiti Quote

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at

Chapter 5: Integrating Faith and Work

  • Today thousands of Christian professionals sit in the pews, wondering, Can I participate in Jesus’ mission-and do so using the gifts and skills God has given me? The answer is a resounding yes-but such a word is tragically uncommon in many Christian congregations.’
  • Fewer than ten percent of regular churchgoers, surveys say, can remember the last time their pastor preached on the topic of work. When he or she did preach on work, inevitably the tone was critical-if not hostile-and painted all businesspeople as greedy and uncaring. Seldom do pastors honor the work world as a place for parishioners to live out their high calling.
  • Key periodicals addressed largely to clergy and church leaders do not often cover issues of faith and work integration.
  • While many Christians are not receiving guidance from their churches, they may be hearing about faith/work integration from parachurch sources. Hundreds of books have been written on this topic. There are also many marketplace ministries available for Christian businesspeople to join.
  • In short, although Christians aren’t hearing much about how to integrate faith and work in the pews, there’s a significant quantity of resources and organizations in the broader Christian community they can turn to. To disciple their people well for vocational stewardship, congregational leaders need to understand what their members may have learned from these sources about faith/work integration.
  • Miller describes the major themes in the movement as falling into four main categories or quadrants: ethics, evangelism, enrichment and experience.
  • Quadrant one: Ethics. Individuals and organizations in the ethics quadrant have primarily integrated faith at work “through attention to personal virtue, business ethics, and to broader questions of social and economic justice,”
  • Christians in this quadrant are concerned about appropriately balancing the demands of work and family. They desire to grow in wisdom in handling the temptations of secular success as well as the immoral social activities permitted or even encouraged within the organizations that employ them. Issues tackled here might include cheating on expense reports, putting corporate interests over human relationships, or navigating the toll taken on marriage by long periods of business travel.
  • Generally, discussions of ethics are limited to personal morality.
  • Quadrant two: Evangelism. As the label suggests, people of faith in this quadrant are primarily interested in integrating their faith and their work through evangelistic efforts. This includes cultivating friendships with coworkers from other (or no) faiths; sponsoring Bible studies at work; hosting events or conferences that offer platforms for believers to share their testimonies with nonbelievers within their organizations; or providing spiritual counselors or chaplains in the firm.
  • Quadrant three: Enrichment. The third theme in the FAW movement is personal transformation and spiritual nurture.
  • They are interested in healing, prayer, meditation-therapeutic and contemplative practices to aid workers. Such practices can help discouraged or downsized workers, or they may bring a new level of peace to over-stressed corporate executives. Maximizing one’s potential is also a major focus in this quadrant.
  • Quadrant four: Experience. This quadrant is composed of those FAW groups that examine questions of “vocation, calling, meaning, and purpose in and through their marketplace professions.”
  • Christians in this quadrant lament the common view that somehow secular work is “second class” or that only through a “ministry career” (such as pastoring or being a missionary) can a person truly live out her or his faith. These organizations provide counsel, books and conferences to help individuals discover their calling and align their natural and spiritual gifts with careers in which those talents can be well deployed.
  • Miller rightly affirms the strengths of each quadrant while simultaneously asserting that the healthiest approach is one that combines all these themes.
  • Miller’s Everywhere integrator type gets closest to the concept of vocational stewardship for the common good. It takes seriously the three dimensions of righteousness (vertical, internal and social). Evangelicalism could produce more believers who act like the tsaddiqim in and through their professions if its marketplace ministries, professional societies and books on faith/work integration helped move people as much as possible toward the Everywhere Integrator type Miller describes.
  • My staff and I analyzed the vision, mission and programs of twenty-three Christian professional societies. We found that the majority of associations were more internally than externally focused. That is, their principle aims had to do with member support, fellowship and peer-to-peer learning.
  • A vital part of vocational stewardship for the common good is a focus by believers on transforming the institutions in which they work.
  • My examination of marketplace ministries found no evidence that these business fellowships are discussing how Christian executives can reform practices within their particular industries that might be problematic from the perspectives of justice and shalom. Some of the Christian professional societies have taken some steps in this direction.
  • The average Christian professional sitting in the pew hears little from the pulpit or in Sunday school about how her life with God relates to her life at work.
  • Her church offers little specific guidance about why her work matters, how God can and does use it, or how her vocational power can be stewarded to advance his kingdom.
  • Lacking this guidance, some Christians simply “turn off’ their faith at work; they function as “practical atheists” on the job. They have no vision for what it means to partner with God at work, to bring meaning to their work or to accomplish kingdom purposes in and through their work. Others look outside their local congregation for guidance, joining a marketplace ministry or a Christian professional society.

The Advantage by Patrick LencioniThe Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni. Jossey-Bass. 240 pages. 2012

Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite business authors. His books The Advantage and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team are among my favorites. I recently started reading and discussing The Advantage with two colleagues at work. I’m sharing key learnings from the book and this week we look at

Behavior 5: Focusing on Results

  • The ultimate point of building greater trust, conflict, commitment, and accountability is one thing: the achievement of results.
  • One of the greatest challenges to team success is the inattention to results.
  • There is no getting around the fact that the only measure of a great team—or a great organization—is whether it accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish.
  • No matter how good a leadership team feels about itself, and how noble its mission might be, if the organization it leads rarely achieves its goals, then, by definition, it’s simply not a good team.
  • The definition of results and achievement will vary from one organization to another depending on the reason that a given organization exists.
  • When it comes to how a cohesive team measures its performance, one criterion sets it apart from noncohesive ones: its goals are shared across the entire team.
  • The only way for a team to really be a team and to maximize its output is to ensure that everyone is focused on the same priorities—rowing in the same direction, if you will.
  • Great teams ensure that all members, in spite of their individual responsibilities and areas of expertise, are doing whatever they can to help the team accomplish its goals.
  • The only way for a leader to establish this collective mentality on a team is by ensuring that all members place a higher priority on the team they’re a member of than the team they lead in their departments. A good way to go about this is simply to ask them which team is their first priority. I’ve found that many well-intentioned executives will admit that in spite of their commitment to the team that they’re a member of, the team they lead is their first priority.
  • When members of a leadership team feel a stronger sense of commitment and loyalty to the team they lead than the one they’re a member of, then the team they’re a member of becomes like the U.S. Congress or the United Nations: it’s just a place where people come together to lobby for their constituents. Teams that lead healthy organizations reject this model and come to terms with the difficult but critical requirement that executives must put the needs of the higher team ahead of the needs of their departments. That is the only way that good decisions can be made about how best to serve the entire organization and maximize its performance.
  • The surprising power of embracing team number one is one of the most gratifying and powerful things we witness in the work we do with leaders.
  • Checklist for Discipline 1: Building a Cohesive Leadership Team. Members of a leadership team can be confident that they’ve mastered this discipline when they can affirm the following statements:
  • The leadership team is small enough (three to ten people) to be effective.
  • Members of the team trust one another and can be genuinely vulnerable with each other.
  • Team members regularly engage in productive, unfiltered conflict around important issues.
  • The team leaves meetings with clear-cut, active, and specific agreements around decisions.
  • Team members hold one another accountable to commitments and behaviors.
  • Members of the leadership team are focused on team number one. They put the collective priorities and needs of the larger organization ahead of their own departments.