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Posted by on Jun 17, 2021 in business, Theology, vocation, Work | 0 comments

The Pearl of Vocation: Why I Bring My Whole Self to Work, Including My Faith

The Pearl of Vocation: Why I Bring My Whole Self to Work, Including My Faith

When I was in elementary school, my mother took my older sister and I to Lake Itasca State Park for summer vacation, located in the cool northern woods of Minnesota. A life-long teacher, she would glory in making the outdoor visit into a lesson: spotting the diving loons in search of breakfast, explaining the history of old-growth red pines towering over the landscape, and proudly declaring that we were looking at the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. My sister and I, however, were more concerned with the number of times we could skip a rock across the glassy surface and the tiny creatures we discovered on the lakeshore. Barefoot and with a cool breeze in my curly blond hair, I would spend afternoons hunting for tadpoles or grabbing tiny oysters to crack them open, in search of treasure. Though I never did find a pearl in those oysters, the shell’s rainbow iridescence, shimmering in the sunlight, hinted at a joy embedded deeply within creation. Three decades later, with...

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Posted by on Mar 22, 2021 in Uncategorized, Work | 0 comments

How Effective is the 5280 Fellowship?

How Effective is the 5280 Fellowship?

“How do you measure your results?” It’s usually not the first question I receive from a donor interested in our work, but it is the second or third. And it’s not always easy to answer.  Measuring impact in the nonprofit sector can be tricky business. In the business world, it’s much more straightforward: profitability is still the standard-bearer for an “effective business.” But in the nonprofit sector, especially educational organizations like Denver Institute, our goal is to shape human lives. How would we know if we were effective at a program like, say, the 5280 Fellowship?  The Process In early 2020, we recruited two outside researchers — Stephen Assink (MAR) and Andrew Lynn (PhD), both from the University of Virginia — to help us with that question. As trained social scientists with experience doing research for the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and the Thriving Cities Group, Stephen and Andrew brought both objectivity and expertise to our question. So, how did we tackle this question of impact? First,...

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Posted by on Feb 21, 2021 in Work | 0 comments

Responding to the Changing World of Work (Part 2)

Responding to the Changing World of Work (Part 2)

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” writes the author of Psalm 46. “Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts…. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” The changes to the world of work since the pandemic began feel like this psalm: waters roar, mountains quake, nations are in uproar, and my daily work rhythms just got blown up.   Yet in this cultural context of change, Christians bring a unique perspective: the unchanging reality of God. If you’re a secular person, focused just on the individual and your ability to control your own destiny, the storyline is actually chaos. Each day is a grasping attempt to bring security and stability in a world being tossed by the fierce winds of an economic, social, and cultural storm. In contrast, the Christian can breathe. “The Lord...

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Posted by on Feb 18, 2021 in Work | 0 comments

The World of Work Has Changed  (Part One)

The World of Work Has Changed (Part One)

It was the second week of the pandemic. Late March 2020. I was driving back home from the office, trying to figure out what this would mean for Denver Institute, and for my own work. As I headed south on Santa Fe, just across from Aspen Grove mall, I stopped at a stoplight. I could feel my scalp tingling, at the base of my neck. At that moment, I realized I was holding my breath. I put my hand over my chest. My heart was racing. I could feel in my body the tension and anxiety of a changing world. At a recent online event we hosted for nearly 200 people from all walks of life, 86% said they had felt deep anxiety in their work since the pandemic began. The news cycle often drives this constant stream of anxiety, but rarely do we have a chance to really step back and take a look at the big picture and calmly evaluate our role in that big picture. First, in...

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2020 in Work | 0 comments

What Is Denver Institute for Faith & Work?

What Is Denver Institute for Faith & Work?

The following is a brief introduction to my work at Denver Institute for Faith & Work that I gave at a recent fundraiser. It first appeared on the DIFW website. It doesn’t take much to make the case that the world is deeply broken.  Even as you read this, my guess is that today – in your own experience – you can feel the fallenness of our culture all around. From anger and fear in the news to our day-to-day experience of broken relationships, we know that something is amiss.  As the executive director and founder of Denver Institute for Faith & Work, I, too, feel that something is deeply wrong with the world. I’m often asked by donors, “What problem are you at Denver Institute trying to solve?” Let me try to answer by briefly sharing about the why, the how, and the what of our mission at Denver Institute. First, why? Take a moment to think about the ways you long for healing in our world today. We know that our society is deeply...

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