“Preparing Christ-Followers for the Marketplace”
We recognize business is a ministry of service. Business allows people to physically flourish, experience freedom, and find fulfillment. By doing good work, God is glorified and others are served. Apostle Paul wrote this in the book of Ephesians 2:10. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Business is the organized avenue of doing good work.
When you discover your natural abilities. When you develop them into specific skills sets for a role to serve others. And when you join the Triune God in HIS macro plan for the redemption of all creation including humanity, HE will lead you. He will lead you through the ups and downs of life. He will direct your steps to live out your micro plans in today’s marketplace. But His main purpose is to prepare you for an eternal role in HIS Kingdom. You most likely will not do everything your heart desires in this age. But you will enjoy a relationship with HIM. And enjoy the relationships with most of the people HE brings into your world during your life’s journey.
Yes, when you intersect your work with an abiding relationship with God, HE will lead you. You will experience a more abundant life (John 10:10). The abundant life may includes physical prosperity. But more importantly, includes living out the whole gospel of Jesus Christ even in the marketplace.
The following are a few Articles, Books, and Links that I found helpful over the years. My prayer is for you to find fulfillment in your calling within the marketplace as I did. Always remember, no matter the outcome, God is always good. Always lean on HIM.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE?
HOW WILL YOU MEASURE YOUR LIFE?
INSTITUTE FOR FAITH, WORK & ECONOMICS
These links connect you with some ministries serving the marketplace.
Free Personal Spiritual Gift Analysis
Business as Mission Think Tank
Spiritual Capital Initiative at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture
Marketplace Chaplains of America
Alleviating Poverty Through Biblical Based Business
International Christian Coaching Association
Fellowship of Companies for Christ International
Pew Research Religion and Public Life
Blog: Organizational Excellence
These books are recommended for readers who want to better understand the overall workings of faith and business in the marketplace. Some of the books emphasize the faith side and others the work side. After each comment, the asterisk* ranks the importance of each book (my opinion) with four being the most important and one being the least important. The books are in no logical order. Each book is also linked directly into Amazon.com for your convenience. If purchased through Amazon, we receive a small remuneration which is used to bless others.
Loving God with All Your Mind…Thinking as a Christian in the Postmodern World, by Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Crossway Books, 1987. Comment: If you seek a better understanding of the educational process of the mind and how it can better reflect the glory of God, you will enjoy this book. (****)
The Gift of Work…Spiritual Disciplines for the Workplace, by Bill Heatley, NavPress, 2008. Comment: Does a fair job of explaining the importance of developing the spiritual connectors one needs to deal with the trappings of the marketplace. (***)
Work as Worship, by Mark Russell, Editor, Russell Media, 2012. Comments: A collection of Christian CEO’s sharing how their faith brings meaning to the workplace. (***)
The Church in the Workplace…How God’s People Can Transform Society, by C. Peter Wagner, Real Books, 2006. Comments: Introduces Church in the workplace which opens the eyes of many believers wanting to integrate faith into the workplace. (****)
God at Work…The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement, by David W. Miller, Oxford University Press, 2007. Comments: Looks at the history of the movement that seeks to integrate faith into the workplace. Gives the reader an excellent narrative of where the movement began, where it is today, and possibilities for the future. Scholarly, but informative. (****)
Why Business Matters to God…And What Still Needs to Be Fixed, by Jeff Van Duzer, InterVarsity Press, 2010. Comments: More faith than work, but shares the authors insight into the workplace that others have contemplated but never openly discussed. (**)
Business For the Glory of God…The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business, by Wayne Grudem, Crossway Books, 2003. Comments: An excellent overview of economics built from the foundation of the Bible which highlights God’s intention for mankind from the beginning of time. A simply read for the non-economist. Lays a good basic understanding of Biblical principles and Godly attributes that creates a marketplace where everyone flourishes. (****)
God at Work…Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, by Gene Edward Veith, Jr, Crossways Books, 2002. Comments: The author does an excellent job in upgrading marketplace careers as important in the eyes of God just as any formal Church vocation calling. (****)
Business By the Book…The Complete Guide of Biblical Principles For the Workplace, Thomas Nelson, Inc, 1998. Comment: Thoroughly builds from Biblical principles demonstrating their effectiveness within the workplace. May not agree with all the concepts, but like every book, there are excellent principles one may apply to live a life imitating our Triune God in the marketplace. (***)
God in the Marketplace, Henry & Richard Blackaby, BH Publishing Group, 2008. Comment:Provides situational events that often occurs in the workplace and principles to guide one through a godly outcome. Good review of moral ethics within the workplace. Helps one to distinguish between business apart from God and business with God. (***)
Linchpin…Are you Indispensable? by Seth Godin, Do You Zoom, Inc, 2010. Comment: May not be a pure faith@work book, but gives excellent advice on being what God has designed you to be. If nothing more, this book will open your eyes to the opportunities and courage to lean more on God and seek out His work within the marketplace. (****)
Good To Great…Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins, Harper Collins Publishers, 2001. Comments: Already a classic, Mr. Collins does an excellent job of simplifying the principles of building a great company on a mission. The book focuses more on corporate structure, leadership, and discovering ones sweet spot within the marketplace.(****)
Breakout Churches…Discover How To Make The Leap, by Thom S. Rainer, Zondervan, 2005. Comment: Following the same technique as Good to Great by Jim Collins, Mr. Rainer focuses his attention on mapping a strategy for churches to follow in pursuit of their mission. A good, practical read for church leaders. (****)
Business for the Common Good…A Christian Vision for the Marketplace, by Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae, InterVarsity Press, 2011. Comment: Excellent presentation of faith and work within the marketplace. Provides a vision for one to pursue. Challenges the reader, but provides sources for reassurance. A must read. (****)
How People Grow…What the Bible Reveals about Personal Growth, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Zondervan, 2001. Comment: Excellent book to better understand why God’s Word makes sense for everyday life including work in the marketplace. A must read for those who want to better understand God’s awesome wisdom working among people. (****)
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1998. Comment: A simple classic for workers to better understand the changes that take place within an organization and how they need to best proactively manage their response. A quick read but highly informative. (****)
Every Good Endeavor, by Timothy Keller, Riverhead Books, New York, 2014. Comment: One of the best reads that gives an excellent in-depth view and thought process behind the faith within work movement. (****)
Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation – Choosing Intelligently, A Practical Guide to Using Your Aptitudes. I personally took their hands on aptitude test in my late twenties which help launch a 35-year career via several different leadership roles in the real estate industry. If you are struggling to discover your strengths and weaknesses and how they align with various career choices, I highly recommend their program. (****)
These articles may also spark interest for you.
Follow Me as I Follow the Cash = Oops, I Mean Christ?
Are You Brutally Intolerant With Your Core Values?
The Power of Conversationalist Leadership
Creating a Culture of Excellence
17 Big Companies That Are Intensely Religious