Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Announcing the Release of My Book “Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace”

I’m excited to announce that my book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is available now on Amazon. The book is available in the Kindle edition, and can be read on Kindle Fire devices and on Kindle Reading Apps. The book is free on Kindle Unlimited and available on the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. We are working on an update to make it available on all Kindle devices and to activate the links in the book. If you read the book and would like access to the links now, please contact me and I’ll send them to you.
The book looks at calling, vocation, the integration of faith and work and leadership, and ends with some information that will be helpful specifically for church leaders. It includes lessons I’ve learned from more than 40 years of leading in the workplace and at church.
Here is a brief summary of what is in the book:
In Chapter 1 I take you on my faith and work journey.
In Chapter 2-4, I share what the Bible says about work, calling and what I learned about integrating my faith and work as a leader.
In Chapters 5-9, I talk about being called to be a leader and practical applications of living and leading for Jesus in the workplace, which includes meetings, communication, listening, goal setting, leading large teams and challenges in
leadership. There are also tips on how to care for others and develop future leaders.
In Chapter 10 I look at finishing well in our callings and also the idea of retirement for the Christian.
In Chapter 11, I share a few suggestions for church leaders on how they can help those under their care see that God values their work and callings.
In Chapter 12 I share some leadership lessons from the Bible.
Chapters 13-16 include thoughts for developing leaders inside and outside of the church, as well as practical advice on effective planning in the church, as well as reasons why your church should establish a personnel structure.
While the book has been written primarily for Christians, in both the general marketplace and the church, I hope that there will be some helpful takeaways for everyone. Go to this page in the Amazon Kindle Store to view a free chapter in the book and/or purchase it. If you read the book, please let me know what you think of it. Thanks.

https://www.amazon.com/author/billpence


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • 5 Ways to Make the Most of Unemployment. Tom Nelson writes “When we find ourselves unemployed, how do we make the most of it? Trusting God and his promises, we can take positive steps in moving forward.”
  • How to Faithfully Work from Home in a Season of Teleworking. Russell Gehrlein addresses some of the unique challenges he has faced since having been forced to telework on short notice due to social distancing as a result of the pandemic. Then, he focuses his thoughts on how his Christian faith is impacted by this new environment.
  • Leading in Times of Disruption. Uncertainty and disruption are why the world needs leaders. In this month’s episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Andy and Lane Jones discuss how to lead in uncertain times.
  • Thank God It’s Monday. John Stonestreet writes “To be Christian is to be called to God’s redeeming work in the world. And anyone who is in Christ can and should seek to glorify God wherever they are—even on a Monday.”
  • Business for the Common Good On-Demand. The Denver Institute recently launched Business for the Common Good On-Demand, a resource they are giving away for The videos and discussion guides address questions like: How do you determine if a business is successful? Is it reflected in a positive balance sheet, gleaming customer reviews, or a charismatic CEO? What if God measured success by a broader standard—by the way businesses help every employee, supplier, consumer, or community they touch to thrive?
  • How to Thrive in Work. Paul Tripp shares six gospel principles that will allow you to thrive spiritually in your place of employment.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Hand Me Another Brick: How Effective Leaders Motivate Themselves and Others by Charles Swindoll
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

Continue reading


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Now’s the Time for Rest. Dan Doriani writes “If we hope to endure without a burden of guilt or bad temper, we should rest. We need this God-given rhythm.”
  • Too Many Christian Workaholics. Paul Tripp writes “When you look to work for your identity, you will find it very hard to resist its challenges, demands, and promises of reward.”
  • What COVID-19 Lays Bare: Implications for Women’s Work. Joanna Meyer shares 4 Ways COVID-19 will change how we think about women’s work.
  • COVID-19 Reminds Us of the Humanizing Aspect of Work. Anthony Bradley writes “We need to be reminded why work matters for persons and their communities beyond its capacity to help people meet their personal financial obligations and businesses to remain open.”
  • 3 Essentials to Remember as You Go Back to Work. John Pletcher writes “Remember that work is our Father’s gracious gift. Remember our divine purpose, to serve others for his glory. And remember to “call it a day.” He did.”
  • Mission at Work. Enjoy this sermon series from Bryan Chapell, in which he deals with many workplace realities and challenges us to examine how the Bible applies to each, and to show that it is not only possible to live for Christ at work, but it is also every Christian’s mission.
  • The Theology of Work on Display During our Darkest Days. Russell Gehrlein writes “In the midst of this awful pandemic, it has been an extraordinary time to clearly see some of the basic tenets of the theology of work on display for all to see.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of “Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life” by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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Adaptability:  A Key Leadership Trait in the Pandemic (and Always)


I always enjoyed it when a team member demonstrated adaptability by willingly pivoting to a different task on a project, or moving to a completely different effort all together – all with a positive attitude and approach. Adaptability can be looked at as effectively adjusting to changing conditions. It’s important for team members to be able to be adaptable, but it’s critical for leaders to be able to adjust to changing conditions, especially during the pandemic we are experiencing.
My wife Tammy and I enjoying eating out a lot. We also enjoy having pizza delivered to our home. I’ve observed three types of adaptability regarding food service providers during the past several weeks – No, Slow and Go.

No Adaptability – In my state, we went under a “stay at home” order on March 22. Since that date, we have not been able to eat inside restaurants in Illinois. Restaurants were only allowed to serve customers via drive-thru lanes, delivery service or curbside pickup. Some restaurants that had not previously provided carryout or delivery service, didn’t adapt and just decided to close their doors. Some of those establishments have since announced that they were closing permanently. I wonder how many more will close permanently before this is all over.
Also in this category are businesses that have not adapted by taking all of the recommended safety precautions. An example is an ice cream shop in town that also sells food (burgers, etc.). My wife went recently through their drive thru lane, and was stunned to find that the person handing her the food was wearing neither a mask nor gloves. We haven’t been back there since.

Slow Adaptability – Some businesses initially remained closed, only later to open with limited menus and carryout service, curbside pickup or delivery. An example of this is our local Cracker Barrel. They initially were closed, but within a few weeks, began offering curbside pickup service. Even though they already had carryout service, I assume they needed time to develop processes to handle the curbside pickup service, as they had not previously offered it.   But their menu no longer included mashed potatoes?!
Some restaurants began advertising on television, telling their customers that they were open for carryout, curbside or delivery service. Some quick service restaurants, such as Arby’s, began advertising that their food was being delivered. All kinds of food service providers began offering delivery service through firms such as Door Dash, Uber Eats and Grubhub. One company, Papa John’s Pizza, advertised “No Contact” delivery for “extra safety and peace of mind” of their customers.

Go Adaptability – Some businesses demonstrated innovation as they adapted to the changing conditions. Our local Chick-fil-A, with all personnel wearing masks and gloves, continued to operate two drive-thru lanes, with personnel taking orders outside as the cars proceeded through the lanes. But then, Chick-fil-A decided to improve service further by adding a third drive thru lane – that’s right, three drive thru lanes. This took leadership, innovation and additional coordination, but the lines, even during peak periods, continued to move at a good pace.   Another good example is Bob Evans Restaurants quickly shifted to delivering 3 meals a day, and doing it well, without delivery fees.
These are just a few examples of how one industry – restaurants – have adjusted to the changing conditions in my town. My guess is that many restaurants are doing all they can to hold on during the pandemic and various stages of shutdown and recovery. Most areas of the state will soon be allowed to offer socially distanced outdoor dining, creating another opportunity for leaders to show their adaptability.

How have you seen restaurants in your area demonstrating adaptability – be it No, Slow or Go?


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Help! I’m Irritated with My Work-From-Home Husband. Amy Dimarcangelo answers a question from a wife who is feeling envy over how meaningful and interesting her now working from home husband’s work is compared to hers.
  • Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good. Amy Sherman writes “Churches need to do better at teaching their members about ‘vocational stewardship’ – seeing their jobs also as God’s provision, and deploying their talents through their work in ways that express love of neighbor.”
  • Reflections on the Pandemic’s Impact on Work. Our friend Russell Gehrlein reflects on some of the challenges that we face together in our work situations in response to this pandemic, reminds us of the kinds of valuable coworkers God provides to meet our human needs, and offers some hope grounded in a biblical perspective.
  • Resources for Work Disruption Related to COVID-19. The Global Faith & Work Initiative provides these helpful resources for those whose work has been disrupted due to the global pandemic.
  • Faith in a Time of High Anxiety. Hugh Whelchel writes “We believe that we are in control, the masters of our own destiny. Then, an event like this comes along, and as a society, we must confess we have no control over our current circumstances. At best, we can only control our reactions to the situation in which we find ourselves.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success” by John Maxwell
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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The Most Difficult Conversation I Ever Had at Work

As a leader, I had to have many difficult conversations in my career. But as I reflect back, there was one conversation that took place several years ago that stood out above the rest as the most difficult.

In the organization I worked at, we would regularly have conversations about analysts who had the potential and interest to move into a leadership position. If everyone agreed, these analysts would be placed on a “promotability list”. This list would have multiple levels.  Being placed in the top category indicated that they were ready to take on a leadership position.
One of my team members was in that top category when our leadership team had their regular conversation about our area’s candidates. At that time, there was very little movement of analysts into leadership. As a result, there was new criteria applied to those on the list. As a result, my team member was not approved to stay on the list. They were not going to be moved back a level on the list, but taken off the list completely, which was very unusual. As their leader, I would have to communicate this news to them. But I was going to be out of the office on a previously scheduled vacation before our meeting. Needless to say, I thought about our meeting a lot during my vacation. Continue reading


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Are You a Leader or a Manager? 


Are you a leader or a manager? Is there a difference between the two? Some people are leaders, but have the title of manager. Many, if not most people, use the words leader and manager interchangeably, but there is a vast difference between the two. So, what are some of those differences? Here are four differences between managers and leaders that I would like to share with you:

  • Managers – whether they be in business, the church or a non-profit organization – maintain the status quo. Just as leaders are needed to move organizations forward, managers are needed for those areas of an organization that are not considered strategic, but still need to be maintained. In some of my assignments in an IT department in a large Fortune 50 organization, I worked with roles that were not considered strategic, but were certainly needed to “keep the wheels on”. Also, some of the responsibilities that I had (making sure everyone on my team accurately recorded their time each week, for example) certainly fell into the managing, rather than leading category. It is the same with a church. In some churches, “managers” (pastors, church leaders, etc.), just maintain what is in place, not working to move their churches forward to impact their communities in a greater way for the Gospel.
  • Leaders cast a compelling vision of a better future. While managers maintain systems and programs that are in place in their organizations, leaders look to a better future, moving their organizations forward. Leaders have vision and they cast compelling visions of a better future for their organizations. This means change, but it is change for the better, not change for the sake of change. Change for the better improves organizations. Change for the sake of change disrupts organizations.
  • Leaders influence followers to buy into their vision of the future. John Maxwell often says that “Leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less”. In other words, if you are not able to influence people to follow your you and your vision, you are not leading. Maxwell has said that people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. As a result, leaders need to be people of character and competence.
  • Leaders inspire trust. Stephen M.R. Covey has said “The first job of any leader is to inspire trust. Trust is confidence born of two dimensions: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, motive, and intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, skills, results, and track record. Both dimensions are vital.” It is not that people don’t need managers, but here I want to focus on the word “inspire”. Leaders inspire.

Your particular situation may find you doing more managing than leading. However, I contend that no matter what type of leadership or management position you are in, you can have the vision to improve your organization. And if your vision is compelling enough and you communicate it clearly, people will follow you, and you will be a leader.

There are many other differences between leaders and managers. What thoughts do you have about the difference between the two?


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Those Whom God Uses to Heal. These days more than ever, those in the medical field are looked at as true heroes. Our friend Russell Gehrlein writes from a biblical and theological perspective to encourage those whom God uses to heal, as well as those who are on the receiving end of their valuable work.
  • The Motivation of a Leader. On this month’s Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley visits with Patrick Lencioni about his new book The Motive and the motivation of a leader.
  • Vocation and the Epidemic. Gene Veith writes “Vocation is not just about how we make our living.  It’s about how God works through human beings to care for His creation.  It’s about loving and serving our neighbors in our multiple stations of life.”
  • Remembering the Working Poor in the Time of Coronavirus. Daniel Darling writes “Perhaps our national pain will be a catalyst for God’s people to remember that the gospel is the great leveler, the cross the place where you are not defined by what you do but by who you are in because of what Jesus did. Ironically, it may be this season of social distancing that will be used by God to bring us together.”
  • Plan for Something Greater Than Retirement. The last chapter of life is not retirement. No, something greater is to come. We need to start planning for something far beyond the reach of our 401(k) plans. It’s a suitable word from John Piper in this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, to upper-class Americans, and to prisoners serving life sentences at Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the US.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Timothy Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Working Remotely for the Glory of God. Joe Holland writes “Without question, workspaces around the globe will be forever changed by this virus. But it doesn’t have to be for ill.”
  • A Prayer for Working from Home. Will Sorrell offers this helpful and timely prayer for those suddenly having to work from home.
  • Understanding How Men and Women Approach Family Life and Work. Courtney Reissig writes “As a Christian, there are overarching principles that can help us in understanding our fellow brothers and sisters as they work and parent. These principles may also help us as we live in community with one another in our local churches, allowing for freedom and nuance regarding our work and family life balance.”
  • Are You an Ideal Team Player? Patrick Lencioni thinks it is time to change the way we prepare people for success. Drawing from his book, The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni makes the compelling case that the key to success in an increasingly team-oriented world is being humble, hungry and smart. Whether you’re a CEO or a 7th grader, focusing on these deceptively simple virtues can radically improve your personal and professional effectiveness and fulfillment.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of
    • The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities by Patrick Lencioni
    • Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • How Cancer Gave Me a New Perspective on Work. Chip Roper writes “Medical work, which we have now been the regular recipients of for eight months, can teach us something about work in general.”
  • How to Pray When You Hate Your Job. Tom Nelson writes “We may deeply struggle with our work, our workplaces, and the fellow image bearers we encounter in our vocational responsibilities. Yet it is in and through our jobs that we are called to provide for our material needs, to worship God, to be spiritually formed, to incarnate and proclaim the gospel and indwell common grace for the common good.”
  • Experiencing God’s Presence in my Military Service (Part 2). Our friend Russell Gehrlein writes “This is the second article of a two-part series on this topic. In part 1, I reflected on five aspects of how I experienced God’s presence as I served in and with the U.S. Army over the past 34 years.  Here, I would like to continue to expand my thoughts by covering my next five observations.”
  • The Intrinsic Value of Business to God. Bill Peel writes “The Bible provides rich resources Christian business leaders can use to guide their vision for enterprises that glorify God.”
  • Teaching Kids to Live as Christians Through Work. Andrew Spencer writes about his desire that his children learn to value work.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Reviews of The Leader’s Greatest Return: Attracting, Developing, and Multiplying Leaders by John Maxwell and An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life by Jeff Haanen
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

Continue reading