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Your Online Guide to Faith in the Workplace

November 9, 2009

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When I first became interested in the strange idea of linking my spiritual life to my career, I enthusiastically sought out like-minded souls for advice and commiseration.

Without knowing exactly how best to categorize this subject (which is a problem unto itself, to be discussed on another day), I carefully typed “Faith in the Workplace” into the Google search bar, hoping to retrieve a myriad of helpful and compelling resources.

Unfortunately, the search results led me down a fragmented path of church groups, authors, and wannabe-experts, some of which were helpful, and others which were, frankly, a little kooky. Despite the seemingly infinite sophistication of Google’s search-engine algorithms, I found that the best online resources are often difficult for the newly initiated to uncover.

A “Faith in the Workplace” Curator?

What we need is a Curator – a polished and capable guide with exceptionally sophisticated taste, one who can sift through all the noise and adeptly lead others to the best that the internet has to offer on the subject of Faith and Work.

Seeing as no one has stepped up thus far, I will be more than happy to fill the void to serve you in that capacity. And why not? Over the past year or so, I have slogged through numerous Blogs and websites as I plugged into the Faith and Workplace community. In the process, I found a rich and varied world of  online magazines, organizations, gurus, bloggers, and other working schlocks just like you and me who are dedicated to the integration of their faith and work.

So now, imagine, if you will, that just for today, I am your esteemed and very selective Curator for the entire online world of work and faith. Allow me to point out the most relevant, thoughtful and compelling material on the internet addressing this burgeoning niche of faith, work and spirituality. 

Online Magazines

The big Kahunas in this niche are online magazines Inside Work and The High Calling. These are the sites where your beloved curator spend most of his time. No matter that I also happen to write for both of these organizations, which by no means makes me biased towards the excellence and good taste of their offerings. You can visit them both and decide for yourself.

Inside Work.  The tag line for this organization is “Business Spiritually Engaged.” That alone scores them points, for coming up with a much more agreeable phrase than “Faith in the Workplace.” These guys are smart and sophisticated. They approach business for what it is, without slicing and dicing it through a theological Cuisinart. The site is geared towards managers, executives and entrepreneurs, with a slight Silicon Valley slant (they are based in that area, after all). InsideWork assumes you are visiting the site because you are passionate about both your career and your faith, and as such, they often draw from current events and thinkers in the business, economic and financial world. They offer daily posts, Study Guides, conferences and even consulting (or so I’ve heard. No one there really advertises it. Maybe it’s just a rumor? I’ll get to the bottom of that before long, though). Don’t expect a traditional, old-school approach to Faith in the Workplace here. I would venture to say these guys are probably the most progressive thinkers in what can sometimes become a stale field.

The High Calling.  This organization is founded and directed by Howard Butt, the founder of the famous upscale H.E. Butt grocery chain in the Southwest. That, of course, brings immediate credibility to these folks. But the real online mover and shaker at High Calling is Senior Editor, Marcus Goodyear. Marcus also heads up the High Calling Blogs, a spin-off of the High Calling site built around an active blogging community, as well as Christianity Today’s Faith in the Workplace website content. The High Calling is dedicated to folks who are interested in finding their high calling in life, through work or otherwise. Which means that it goes a little broader than just the work-life category. And that would be my only caution – at the moment, you may find more Mommies than Managers engaged in this site. But the sense of community it generates, especially at the High Calling Blogs is very special, indeed.

Business as Mission Network  . The tag line here is, “News, resources and tools to turn good business into Great ministry.” Founder Justin Forman has a turbo-charged website that is the ultimate catch-all for Christian business leaders who view their business as an expression of their Evangelical Christian faith. If your desire is to use your business as a mission field to “build the Kingdom,” then this site will have you like a kid in the candy store. 

Ministry Organizations

There are a number of organizations that identify themselves as ministries, dedicated to serving, growing and nurturing the battalion of employees hacking it out in the workforce.

Made to Matter . This is former truck driver Randy Kilgore’s site dedicated mostly to biblical study guides on various topics of work and career, designed to encourage workers in their faith on the job. He has been at this for a long, long, time, and has built up quite an expertise and following. Randy is one of those rare individuals who has both real hard-core business experience as well as a degree in theology, so he has become one of the few pastoral leaders in this field with some real credibility in preaching to the workforce. His primary audience would be earnest Christians who are seeking to pump up their spiritual lives at work with daily doses of scriptural insight. Randy acknowledges that every job is sacred, and caters to the every-day line worker, as opposed to executives, leaders or managers.

His Church at Work. These folks have put together a fairly comprehensive program that helps those of us in the workplace “assess, grow and navigate tough workplace issues.” Their goal is to help people align their work life with God’s plans. I have to give these guys credit for developing a thorough online toolkit which breaks down the components of work life into distinct “Navigators,” to be followed up with very practical bible-study applications. This is one of the only online resources that provide practical tools. Even better news, it’s free!

Marketplace Leaders    The mission of Marketplace Leaders is “to help men and women discover and fulfill God’s unique and complete purposes through their workplace calling.” Marketplace Leaders is the brainchild of author and speaker, Os Hillman, and by the looks of it, this guy means serious business. His organization provides conferences, coaching, devotionals, books, articles, training, you name it. Coming soon to a theatre near you.

Academics, Theologians and Gurus

David Miller, Director of Princeton’s Faith and Work Initiative.  David Miller has become well known as one of the pre-eminent thought leaders in the work-faith movement because (1) He is a former investment banker; (2) He wrote a very well-respected book, “God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith-Work Movement;” and (3) He operates out of Princeton University. The ole’ triple threat, as Paula Abdul might say.

Ken Costa . Ken Costa is the equivalent to David Miller, except he lives across the pond. He is also very well known as a pre-eminent thought leader in the faith-work movement, because: (1) He is a former investment banker; (2) He wrote a very well-respected book, “God at Work: Discover the Real Purpose of Your Life;” and (3) He operates out of London.  Parallel lives?

Executive Soul . Margaret Benefiel is a Quaker professor who wrote two books on workplace spirituality, “The Soul of Leader,” and “The Soul at Work.” She does plenty of speaking and consulting on spirituality, but goes beyond a Christian spirituality to encourage business leaders to embrace spiritual practices to enhance their organization. 

Yale Center for Faith and Culture  . Miroslav Wolf leads this storied academic institution’s Center for Faith and Culture by focusing  on research and leadership development to bring a more lively and dynamic spirituality into the workplace. Much of their emphasis is on integrity and ethics issues, along with a Reconciliation program to reach out to improve relations with the Muslim world. 

Theology of Work . This is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating a theological commentary to support a biblical basis for work. Their focus is on the clergy, to provide pastors, priests and ministers with sound theology and biblical back-up that will allow them to encourage their congregations to fully express their faith in the workplace. Formerly linked to Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, this organization is now run as a non-profit, led by former Harvard MBA-investment-banker-turned Episcopal Priest, Will Messenger (what is it with these former investment bankers?!), along with a Who’s Who of names from the greater Boston area.

Dr. Stephen Payne. If you really want to get right down to the business of getting your spiritual life connected to your business life, I would recommed you do as I did, and hire Executive Leadership Coach and author, Dr. Stephen Payne. Dr. Payne is CEO of Leadership Strategies, and his latest venture, Equilibrium Fellowship. He is also the driving force behind the Spirituality in Leadership Series over at Princeton Theological Seminary.

And so much more…

There are many more resources online, including bloggers, career-networking groups, church ministries, books, and, of course, more bloggers. It would take many more posts and pages to list them all.

A quick tip – If you want to get started on connecting with other work-faith bloggers, I would suggest that you check out my blogroll’s “Work and Faith” category. Next, Red Letter Believers has a pretty thorough and up-to-date blogroll, and then also check The High Calling Blogs list of “Work” Blogs.  That should do ya.

Whew! I never thought that Curating would be such hard work. So for now, this is your Curator, signing off.  Thanks for shopping with me, and hopefully this gets you off to a good start on your journey for discovering the vast resources available online for building your faith at work.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2009 9:33 am

    woah!
    that is quite the list! i see that you have been doing a lot of research. good job of getting to know all of these people and places and compiling them into a easy to use list of information.

    food for thought,
    you mommy was your first boss and manager.

  2. November 9, 2009 10:27 am

    Bradley

    A great collection you have put together.

    I am still amazed…after three years of intensity at this, a book that I can’t published, and lots of frustration, that “work and faith” are not two subjects that Christians are rushing to learn about.

    Unfortunately, i think we have been innoculated that the two don’t mix. “Keep your faith out of your workplace” has been a secular mantra and the church has swallowed it.

    Together, with the others on your list, maybe we will change that?

    David Rupert
    http://www.redletterbelievers.com

  3. November 9, 2009 10:28 am

    An excellent list, Curator, with just enough interesting information to send me to check out those of your suggestions with which I’m not familiar.

    Thank you for taking the time to sift the Web’s resources. You’ve saved us a lot of time.

  4. November 9, 2009 10:31 am

    What David’s learned about “separation of work and faith” has also been my own experience. Here’s to the new curator to help these great sites start changing that!

  5. November 9, 2009 2:36 pm

    Very nice list. I’m going to come back and dig through the web sites you mentioned later tonight when I have more time. I have rarely found anyone willing to speak about faith and spirtuality in the workplace. It seems to be a place where folks are uncomfortable sharing their beliefs.

  6. November 10, 2009 12:14 am

    Bradley,

    Thanks for the list of resources. I think somehow that the googlebot is also a subscriber to the work and faith don’t mix philosophy. I am amazed at some of the sites that come up when you start searching keywords and phrases for it. There are a few good sites that show up in the top 100, but there are so many dead sites or unrelated sites too.

    Perhaps, as David suggests, there just isn’t enough interest or aren’t enough searches for the googlebot to pay much attention? Your lists will keep me busy for the next week or so scouring through these sites and the ones to which they link.

    Brad

  7. November 10, 2009 9:40 am

    These are very useful resources Bradley, thanks. Here in the Netherlands this separation of work and faith (the Sacred-Secular Divide) is also annoyingly present. As we’re currently organizing a series of symposiums we experience a lot of Christians not being aware of the need and possibilities of connecting their faith with their work.

    But I’m with David and Glynn: Together we (which includes the Holy Spirit right?) can make a difference!

  8. November 10, 2009 12:45 pm

    A most excellent list of references and nice layout. Keep up the good work! peace~

  9. November 10, 2009 5:15 pm

    HOME RUN! At the risk of sounding self-serving, this was a MOST HELPFUL piece on many levels, and I applaud your selections and your rationale. Don’t be surprised if this column is still getting visitors well into the future, it’s that useful/helpful.

    I want to encourage David Rupert, too, publicly. (A good friend and GREAT writer at Red Letter Believers). In 1990, I was commissioned to examine over 800 titles written on work/faith, en route to recommending which were useful to working Christians. Literally, less than 10% were helpful, accurate and/or Biblically appropriate (and I was extremely loose in defining “worth reading” back then!) And that was before the recent rash of titles (over 300 in three years, I’m told) hit the shelves. Publishers have been burned by work/faith writers who
    (a) aren’t careful with Scripture;
    (b) teach health/wealth or have joined the bandwagon addressing the narrow, narrow, narrow market of leaders in business who are Christians; or
    (c) trash the church or pastors, an act God simply will not honor.

    So it’s harder to get published out there for now, but it will get loose again–and publishers ARE watching the leading writers/sites. There’s a deep and abiding hunger among workers, I promise you, and it’s global, but we’ve had too much garbage/fluff/or heresy burning off people’s attention for about five years. By the way, if Bradley permits it, and I’ll understand if he prefers not to…here’s an article showing the cycle in work/faith history, with implications.

    http://www.madetomatter.org/articles_view.asp?columnid=4672&articleid=48267

  10. November 11, 2009 9:13 am

    Bradley,

    Thanks for the mention. It’s good to learn of you and your work.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Margaret Benefiel

  11. November 11, 2009 2:04 pm

    Glad you all found this useful. As for the work-faith chasm, I did my share of whining in a post in early September, where I acknowledged the fact that my Blog was never going to grow very much because Faith in the Workplace is such a tiny niche that not too many people seem to care about. http://shrinkingthecamel.com/2009/09/03/lord-wilt-thou-not-leadest-my-blog-to-reach-1000-page-views-per-day/

    On the other hand, there really are a lot of people out there (like all of us!) who are addressing this subject. I am continually suprised by the new sites I come across all the time. It just hasn’t really ever gone mainstream, for whatever reason.

    So, yes, let’s all keep doing what we’re doing and making people more aware of the business-spiritual connection!

  12. November 11, 2009 3:02 pm

    Bradley, I believe if you put your blog on a hosted website you’d see a more accurate count of how many people are reading you. Our site shows many more readers clicking over to David’s blog than he actually sees showing up as hits on his blog. We use a third party to audit our numbers, so we know they’re solid. Also, I understand another difference has something to do with search engine blocks on blogs that reappear on another site or which appear on “blog-compositors” like WordPress. I’m told some/all search engines “switch off” the ability to be found in searches for those blogs. Now, I’m talking WAY, WAY over my head technologically, but I got this from an IT professional who was designing search engine protocols back when I was trying to decide blog/no-blog.

    (BTW, I opted for no-blog because my battle with severe pain makes the spontaneity of blogging a dangerous outlet for me. With the devotional, I NEVER print until I’ve checked it against Scripture, made sure I didn’t write it AT someone, and have let another pair of eyes peruse it for tone and spirit. Otherwise, I’d be known as thebiggrumpychristian or madetomutter, instead of Madetomatter.org. )

    Anyway, before the pain limited the hours I can work, we were getting 100 emails/day from people eager for more informaton, or prayer, or with questions. So please, don’t any of you stop or get discouraged…”the harvest is plentiful but the (unselfish) laborers are few.”

    (NOTE: “Unselfish” doesn’t appear in Jesus’ quote in Scripture.)

    • November 12, 2009 8:33 pm

      Brad: I really like how this gentleman thinks and expresses himself. I hate that he doesn’t blog. My impression is that we could all learn a great deal from him.

  13. November 12, 2009 8:35 am

    As neither a corporate or biblical expert… I still know that this is a truly good and powerful thing.

  14. November 12, 2009 5:58 pm

    Randy – Thanks for the encouragement, bro! Let’s keep on keepin’ on. And “Made to Mutter” does have a catchy ring to it… and second thoughts on that?

    And Nancy – I forgot to address your sassy remark in my last comment, but yes, you are right. Our mommies were our first managers, so they deserve to be in the mix right along with the rest of us. Good catch.

    Deb, thanks for stopping by and supporting us!

  15. November 12, 2009 8:20 pm

    Just wanted to commend you for staying focused. Your objectives were stated clearly at the outset, and I feel you’ve stayed on task. I’ve watched other sites get cluttered, become argumentative,or take off on some tangents or try to keep too many plates in the air at the same time. There is something to be said for concentrating. I’ve decided to allow other people to do the things they are best qualified to do. For my part, my plan is to stay with the originally stated intention. Don’t remember where he said it, but I think Paul wrote: “This One thing I do…” I’m not a good multi-tasker. dk

  16. November 17, 2009 12:32 am

    Bradley, thanks for your kind words about InsideWork and thanks for the survey you so thoughtfully prepared.

    I’m glad your voice is part of this important conversation and grateful every time you lend it to us!

    jh

  17. November 23, 2009 3:53 pm

    How did I miss this?! What a great service you do here, Bradley. More mommies than managers… indeed. You made me laugh out loud at that one.

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