Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Favorite Books on Faith and Work, Calling and Productivity

I have a passion for integrating my faith and my work and talking to others about how to do it. Over the past few years, I’ve read a number of helpful books in the faith and work, calling and productivity genres. Below are my favorites:

Five Books on Integrating Faith and Work

  • Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Tim Keller with Katherine Leary. Keller helps to illuminate the transformative and revolutionary connection between the Christian faith and the workplace. He encourages believers to think about their work through the lens of a Christian worldview. He structures the book around three questions: Why do we want to work? Why is it so hard to work? How can we overcome the difficulties and find satisfaction in our work through the gospel? This book introduced me to Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s Center for Faith and Work, something I would like to model in my community.
  • Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work by Tom Nelson. Nelson looks at Os Guinness’ discussion of our primary and secondary callings in his excellent book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life and focuses on our secondary calling (to do a specific work) in this book. He looks at work through a biblical lens in the first section of the book and focuses on how God shapes our lives in and through our work in the second section.  The author, who is a pastor, includes helpful “Questions for Reflection and Discussion” and a “Prayer for Our Work” at the end of each chapter. He mentions that the Center for Faith and Work at Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church (mentioned above) has been a catalyst for his church to think more intentionally about equipping their congregation in vocational mission.
  • God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith. This book is an exposition of the doctrine of vocation and an attempt to apply that doctrine in a practical way to our life in the twenty-first century. He first looks at the nature of vocation: the purpose of vocation, how to find our vocation, how God calls us to different tasks and how He is present in what we do in our lives. Then he looks at specific vocations (as a worker, in the family, as a citizen, and in the church), and specific problems common to them all.
  • Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman. This is a book about vocational stewardship that is primarily written for pastors and ministry leaders, particularly those already committed to leading missional churches (those that seek to follow King Jesus on the mission of making all things new). It would be an excellent book for these leaders to recommend to those they lead to help them integrate their faith and work.
  • Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber. The author invites the reader to “come and see” that the vision of vocation he writes about is being lived out by men and women who are committed to a faith that shapes a vocation that in turn shapes culture. He writes that there is not a more difficult task that human beings face than to know the world and still love it. A recurring question that he asks throughout the book is “Knowing what I know, what will I do?” This book is best read slowly as he weaves in stories to illustrate his points.

Two Books on Calling

  • The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness. The author writes that there is no deeper meaning than to discover and live out your calling. He states that there is no calling without a Caller, and if there is no Caller, there are no callings, only work. He states that it is never too late to discover your calling, which is deeper than our jobs, our career, and all of our benchmarks of success. He discusses our primary and secondary callings and the two distortions (Catholic and Protestant) that have crippled the truth of calling. An excellent abridged version of this book is available entitled Rising to the Call.
  • The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins. This book is an excellent introduction to the subject of calling. It’s easy to read, interesting and practical. The book is organized into three major sections – Preparation, Action and Completion. In those sections he covers seven overlapping stages of calling – Awareness, Apprenticeship, Practice, Discovery, Profession, Mastery and Legacy. In each stages he uses interesting stories to illustrate the stage. In the Appendix, he includes a summary of the seven stages, seven signs you’ve found your calling and seven exercises to complete. He also includes questions for discussion that will be helpful if you’re reading and discussing the book with others.

Two Books on Productivity

  • Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies. This new book is an extremely efficient, well-organized, easy to read and practical book. The author’s aim is to help the reader do more of what matters most and do it better. He writes that our productivity depends to a good degree on identifying and using the best tools (management, scheduling and information), for the job and then growing in your proficiency with them. He also discusses concepts such as a “Weekly Review” and includes helpful “Action Steps” at the end of each section.
  • What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. The author states that the book is about getting things done and making ideas happen with less friction and frustration from a biblical perspective. He helps the reader think about productivity as Christians. He aims to help us live the life that God has called us to live and live it with maximum effectiveness and meaning. He introduces us to the concept of Gospel Driven Productivity, which looks at not only what the Bible has to say about getting things done, but also learns from the best secular thinking. He uses the DARE Model – Define, Architect, Reduce, and Execute.

These are my favorite faith and work, calling and productivity books. Do you have others to add to the list?


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

Darrin Patrick, St. Louis Cardinals Chaplain, holds a Sunday morning chapel service in Spring Training February 21

Darrin Patrick, St. Louis Cardinals Chaplain, holds a Sunday morning chapel service in Spring Training on February 21

VOCATIONS:  

  • Chaplain Works Behind the Scenes with the St. Louis Cardinals. Darrin Patrick is lead pastor of The Journey, a church in St. Louis, and Vice President of Acts 29, a global church planting network. He also serves as Chaplain to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Designing the Homes of the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bethany Jenkins interviews David Greusel, founding principal of Convergence Design, a Kansas City architectural firm, about his work. With another firm, he was the lead designer for Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, and PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Vocation of a Fast Food Worker. Gene Veith writes “Like a lot of people in this economy, my former student Stephen Williams is “underemployed” right now.  But he understands the doctrine of vocation.  Read his account of how working in a fast food joint is charged with spiritual significance and gives him occasion to love and serve his neighbors.”
  • Why Christian T-Shirts, Movies, & Music Aren’t Very Good. R. J. Grunewald writes “Christian t-shirts, mediocre films about the rapture, and Christian music that is a copycat of the Top 40 are proof that Christians largely misunderstand the doctrine of vocation.”
  • When Every Detail Matters. Bethany Jenkins interviews Erin Pommer, who works in the hospitality industry as the director of events at Frasca Food and Wine about she integrates her faith and work.

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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