In February, I attended the Work as Worship conference organized by RightNow Media. It was a one-day event with a dizzying line-up of world-renowned speakers. I’ve also been reading in this area in preparation for a new series I’m starting in June entitled, “Let God Transform your Career.” I’d like to share some of the things I learned from the conference, but I’d also like to ask for your help. Would you take a minute to answer five short questions to help me make the upcoming series as meaningful as possible? Click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y88QLW5
Let me share with you some of the lessons I learned from the speakers:
1. Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church: God’s command to “have dominion” over creation (Genesis 1:26) is based on our creation in His image which is described in the same verse. Whatever work God has given us must be done as an expression of His character and purposes. Our goal is to represent God in our workplaces even as we honour and serve our employers and our customers. Working as one created in God’s image also means praying in the driveway about what Matt calls the “second shift:” loving and serving your family.
2. Christopher Brooks, pastor of Evangel Ministries in Detroit: Brooks gave an inspiring example of how the church can transform a community, beset with economic challenges. He urged Christians to consider not just the “what” of their ministry but also the “where.” Go to hard places! He also showed that Christians are uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of poverty because we can more accurately diagnose the problem and so bring effective solutions. If you believe poverty is just a lack of resources you’ll throw money at it. His ministry is impacting their poor community by better connecting people in relationships, giving them hope and training them in the skills they need to thrive.
3. Tom Nelson, President of Made to Flourish: Jesus worked as a carpenter for longer than He was a preacher. That isn’t to minimize the right focus of the cross but to help us remember that Jesus spent most of His life as a wood worker. When He speaks of bearing much fruit in John 15, in addition to the fruit of the Spirit, He’s also speaking of relational intimacy with Christ, the fruit of neighbourly love and the fruitfulness of vocational productivity.
4. Bryant Ambelang, CEO of Naturesweet: Ambelang shared the remarkable story of their company’s desire to transform an industry, known for injustice and the poor treatment of workers. He says, their goal is to “transform the lives of agricultural workers” and they accomplish that goal by growing tomatoes. With wages, incentives, benefits, training and year-round employment, unheard of in the agricultural industry, Naturesweet has pioneered a new business model for their industry that believes that empowered workers who are treated with respect take pride in their work and are more effective as a result.
5. Norm Miller, Chairman of InterState Battery: Norm, his brother, and another colleague all came to Christ within months of each other. Soon after, he bought out InterState Battery from the owner. When he did, he sat down and asked the question, “How can we lead this company in a Christian way?” God answered him and has used him to lead countless employees to faith in Jesus. In fact, every new employee gets a Bible, a copy of Norm’s testimony, the book More than a Carpenter and a DVD of the Jesus video.
6. Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: Lencioni talked about the 3 qualities to look for whenever building a team: humility, hunger and emotional intelligence. Humble people don’t necessarily think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less. They’re focused on others. People who are hungry have the passion that drives them to do more than is asked of them. Emotional intelligence is crucial for someone to understand how their words and actions affect others.
We spend the majority of our lives doing work, not reading the Bible or serving at church. So it’s important that we’re able to see our work roles through God’s eyes and connect the dots to our faith. May God give us help as we seek to do that!
In awe of Him,