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Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in business, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Faith and Work Movement, Work | 0 comments

Making a Permanent Impact on American Society?

Making a Permanent Impact on American Society?

  “Dealmakers: Episode I” – Pete Ochs I often imagine what collective impact between business leaders, churches, government, nonprofits and ministries might look like. What would it look like for us to partner together to make a permanent, generational impact on American society? When it comes to work, in many ways, our society is hemorrhaging. The labor participation rate for men age 24-55 is at its lowest point since the Great Depression; 10 million men are either unemployed or looking for work; today there are 70 million Americans with a criminal background, many of whom can’t find a good job due to their past. What if the Christian business leaders we all know decided to hire the millions of men and women with barriers to employment? Could the Church step up to meet a critical need – and develop the knowledge, best practices, and vision for loving our neighbors through good jobs? This is a big task – maybe too big. But I feel like things are changing. TC...

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Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in Faith and Work Movement, Theology, Work | 0 comments

Collective Impact: The Missing Piece of the Faith-Work Puzzle

Collective Impact: The Missing Piece of the Faith-Work Puzzle

  What will the faith and work movement look like in 2067? What are we doing today that could genuinely last for 50 years, and even reshape American culture? These are tough questions. Not only because 50 years is such a long time, but it forces us to think not only of our own organizations, but the larger networks across the US involved in this space, and the institutions that can outlast individual personalities. It also forces us to think: what, specifically, are the long-term goals shared among overlapping networks of churches, businesses, universities and nonprofits involved in spreading a Christian message about the far reaching effects of Jesus’ death and resurrection for our work, culture, economy, and world? After pondering this question, I’ve come to believe something rather disconcerting. The single biggest problem with the faith and work movement today is fragmentation and the absence of shared goals. In April of this year, Jeffrey Walker penned a provocative article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Solving the World’s...

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in Faith and Work Movement | 0 comments

Work, Profession, Job, Vocation, Occupation, Career or Calling?: Getting Clear on Language About Work

Work, Profession, Job, Vocation, Occupation, Career or Calling?: Getting Clear on Language About Work

  “I think I’m gonna quit. I just don’t feel called to this anymore.” “You don’t just have a job, you have a vocation!” Really? It feels more like I need a vacation.   “Some people have a calling,” my father said to me. “But most of us just have a job.” “Profession? Sounds like what rich people do. ‘Round here, we just work.” This is just plain confusing. Work, profession, job, vocation, occupation, career and calling. What exactly are we talking about here? Does vocation and work mean the same thing? When is a job a career, or just a job? Am I working if I’m not getting paid? Do I really have to be called to every task I do at work? Or is it ok to be called to something completely different than my 9-5? Why does it feel like the hardest work I do is at home, and I go to work to rest? The language we use around work – especially among Christians –...

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Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Faith and Work Movement, vocation | 1 comment

Should We Create More Vocation-Specific Faith and Work Resources?

Should We Create More Vocation-Specific Faith and Work Resources?

One topic that continually comes up among faith and work leaders is this: should we create more vocation-specific materials? That is, instead of creating resources broadly about, say, work, Sabbath, calling, or caring for the poor, should we create experiences, books or small group studies specifically for those in, say, law, business, architecture or nursing? The topic came up at the Faith & Work Summit, where we asked the question about going from 101 “introduction to faith and work” activities to 201 or 301 activities –  hosting specific conversations on retail, manufacturing or education, and the cultural challenges believers face in those sectors. It also came up when talking with my friend Alistair Mackenzie at the Theology of Work Project, as they noodle on next steps after creating an incredible biblical commentary and set of resources for pastors, laypeople and scholars on work. The question is tough for at least two reasons. First, there are many of us inside the faith and work movement that are suspicious (or at least wary)...

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Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in Faith and Work Movement, Theology, Work | 2 comments

Broader, Not Deeper

Broader, Not Deeper

  What will allow more pastors to see the importance of work for their church and its mission? How might the faith and work movement help pastors and seminaries to embrace ministry models that equips men and women to serve Christ in the wide array of professions in our culture today? And why is this so difficult? Last year, I interviewed Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College, about his new book View from the Top. One of the lasting highlights from our conversation was about his research on the White House Fellows, a leadership development experience that had shaped a significant majority of the 500+ “platinum” leaders in his study. The vast majority of these leaders had experienced a “broadening education” during their time as White House Fellows. Fellows had candid, off-the-record conversations with everybody from zoologists to members of the President’s cabinet. Through this experience, they developed a taste for seeing issues in society broadly, not only from the perspective of their own field,  but from the perspective...

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Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in Economy, Faith and Work Movement, Work | 0 comments

The Top 5 Struggles of Christian Business Leaders

The Top 5 Struggles of Christian Business Leaders

Behind the veneer of confidence, bold risk-taking, and decisive leadership, all of us in positions of influence struggle – especially CEOs.  Considering these challenges tend to be perennial challenges for Christian business leaders, what experiences and/or resources can pastors, para-church leaders, and other business leaders provide for the executives in their network? What still needs to be done in the faith and work movement to serve leaders in this area? Recently I grabbed the phone and called my friend Greg Leith, the CEO of Convene, a group that serves other Christian CEOs, to ask his opinion on the topic: “Greg,” I said, “Based on your experience serving Christian CEOs around the country, what do you believe are the top areas that Christian CEOs struggle with?”  “I’ll tell you,” Greg said, in a matter-of-fact tone. Turns out, they had recently just polled hundreds of CEOs connected to Convene about the tension points they feel on a daily basis. “The first one is universal and common among everyone we polled,” he said....

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