I’ve recently launched a podcast called Talmidim! Talmidim is the Hebrew word for disciples. This podcast is designed as a journey through a story. We’ll engage with the gospel of Luke as an invitation to watch what Jesus does, hear what he teaches, and be inspired by who he loves and how he loves. In a world of much heartache, uncertainty, and tension I pray this journey can invite you into hope. Not by pointing you to an other-worldly spirituality but by looking at what Jesus and the Spirit offer here and near.
15 things I’m teaching in Business As Mission in helping students develop a theology of work.
#1 Carrus. Vocacion.
Carrus (career) originally meant carrier.
Vocacion (vocation) originally meant calling.
Conclusion: Your career can be a carrier of your calling.
#2 Your Vocational Calling in 4D
delight reveals desire. (Ps. 37:4, Luke 12:34)
desire reveals design. (Ps. 139:14)
design reveals destiny. (Eph. 2:10)
If you delight in the Lord he wants to give to you a desire for something. That desire usually coordinates with the way he has designed you. And that design can reveal your destiny (future).
#3 Work As Expression of Belief
You’re not defined by your work but the way you do your work defines what you believe and who you believe in.
#4 Joy and Dedication
Joy is a catalyst for curiosity.
Dedication is a revelation of discipleship.
#5 Excellence and Ethic
Excellence is a catalyst for influence.
Ethic is a cultivator of ethos.
#6 Congratulations, You’re Gifted
Skill is a reflection of the creator who gifted you.
Stewardship of that skill is way of giving what you’ve been gifted.
#7 Work as Worship
Don’t worship your work but your work is an expression of your worship. (Rom. 12:1)
#8 It Doesn’t Have To Be Glamorous To Be Glorious
“For young [people] who have graduated from privileged colleges, or who have been lifted upward by the expensive entitlement culture, their soul life often begins with the basement work in the kitchen.” – Robert Bly (Iron John)
#9 Redeem the Profession
When those practicing a dishonest trade went to John to repent he didn’t tell them to quit their career. Instead he told them to REDEEM the profession (Luke 3, my paraphrase).
#10 The Original Plan
Work wasn’t just a good idea. It was God’s idea. (Gen. 1-2)
#11 The Glory of Co-Creation
It’s a glorious moment when we can wake up and say, “Good morning, Lord. What do we get to do together today?”
When you see your work as your mission wake up even on Mondays and declare, “TGIM!”
#13 Artisanship as Justice
You’re not “just” anything. “Just” an accountant. “Just” a librarian. “Just” an engineer. Once you believe that you’ve reduced your vocational calling. You are an artisan using a skill. Use it to God’s glory in your vocation to bless others. Then you can say, “I’m not just a ____. I am a ____ working justly.”
#14 Work as Partnership
God didn’t create out of boredom but out of desire, creativity, and collaboration. He didn’t need you. He WANTED you. So he invited you as a partner in his startup (creation) to co-create and steward.
After the fall, work devolved from co-creation to “painful toil.” Mission devolved from co-care to, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Jesus came to restore and redeem both.
A few things I’m teaching students in Business As Mission about how social enterprise has potential to create sustainable impact in the world:
Be Prophetic With Profit
It’s not only okay to create profit it’s essential for sustainability. But be prophetic. This doesn’t just mean telling the future it’s speaking truth over or into something. Create a business and earn a profit. Social enterprise prophetically speaks truth over and into that profit as you direct it to impact others for sustainable good.
Teach A Person Not Just to Fish But to Start a Fishing Business
Many people in need already have a skill. But they don’t have access to the “pond.” One of the most sustainable ways to help someone is to equip them with an entrepreneurial framework for using their skill while pointing them toward sustainable resources.
Excellence In Your Business Lends Credibility To Your Mission
Don’t just create an excellent mission that you communicate well but simultaneously design and implement an excellent product or service. Never build a social enterprise around a half-hearted effort toward a product or service that you use to tug at heart strings because of your mission. Create amazing products and services that will enable you to carry out the impact you desire to see.
Broaden Your Perspective of Stakeholders
All who interact with your business are essentially stakeholders in your mission — customers, employees, those who are part of your supply chain, suppliers, and those you are seeking to help with your mission. Love and serve all with excellence and compassion.
Invite The Consumer To Be Consumed
Customers long to use their consumer buying power to do good. Your social enterprise is inviting the customer to have their need met by a product or service you provide while empowering them to help bring change in the world through a purchase. Make them the hero of the story as they partner in the mission.
Transaction To Transformation
It’s amazing what can happen when you invite a consumer into the mission of your social enterprise. What begins as a transaction can lead to a transformational journey.
Multiplication > Addition
Donations toward a cause are good. Generating a sustainable profit that can keep giving toward that mission is better. A social enterprise has the potential to multiply dollars through sustainable business.
Compassion. Strategy. Sustainability.
Compassion is Good. Compassion + strategy is better. Compassion + strategy + sustainability is life changing.