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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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Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Faith and Work Movement, Theology | 0 comments

A Better Starting Point for the Faith and Work Movement, Part 2

A Better Starting Point for the Faith and Work Movement, Part 2

  In my last post, I mulled over all the times I buzzed around the topic of faith and work with pastors, only to bump into the screen door of misunderstanding time and time again. Sometimes I felt like a fly; other times like a mime trying to get my message across with frantic hand gestures. Either way, I’ve concluded that the best place to start conversations around faith and work with pastors is this: Jesus’ death and resurrection begins the redemption of all of creation. This doesn’t seem all that controversial, but I do think it is unique. Many of the theological voices I respect the most in the faith and work movement start with either Genesis 1-2 or Revelation 21-22. The idea is to regain both a knowledge of God as a Creator (and our identity as sub-creators and workers) or the fact that aspects of human culture (and work) will be in the renewed heavens and earth.  What’s central, they say, is to recover the “book...

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Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in Faith and Work Movement | 0 comments

A Better Starting Point for the Faith and Work Movement, Part 1

A Better Starting Point for the Faith and Work Movement, Part 1

  One of my continual shortcomings as the executive director of Denver Institute for Faith & Work is that I’ve rarely framed our mission so we’re clearly understood – especially by pastors. More than once, my initial enthusiasm for all things “faith and work” is seen by good, godly pastoral leaders as a niche-y ministry that will likely soon, like chaff, be blown away by the winds of evangelical enthusiasm. Here’s what I mean: Almost inevitably, the first time I meet with a pastor over coffee and start a conversation about Christianity and work, I can sense two questions behind an ever-gentle, shepherding smile: (1) What is this guy saying?, and (2) Of all the ministries that need my attention, why should I focus my attention here? “Are you with some kind of career ministry? Do you help people discover their talents to serve in a ministry of their own? Do you meet with business men – and help give them a sense of meaning?” I’ve heard all of these....

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