Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

I Discovered A Gold Mine!

Research by George Barna demonstrates that a person’s worldview has a powerful effect on human behavior. Furthermore, his studies indicate that "a person’s worldview is primarily shaped and is firmly in place by the time someone reaches the age of 13...Such studies underscore the necessity of parents and other influencers being intentional in how they help develop the worldview of children."

Age 13? Yes, 13.

I'm convinced that many adults have a challenge making connections between Christian faith and work because they have not had the benefit of a well-developed biblical worldview from pre-teen years. This is not to say that a person who did not have this benefit can't integrate Christian faith with work, but an early start in "thinking Christianly" helps. Barna's studies also underscore the critical role of parents (and other influencers) in this shaping.

Occasionally I'm asked if I know of resources for biblical worldview development for pre-teens. Until recently, I knew of  little to recommend. But then I found a new series on biblical worldview development targeted to pre-teens, and I can't say enough about it! I discovered a gold mine! 

The series is called, What We Believe. Volume 1 is titled, Who Is GOD? And Can I Really Know Him?, and Volume 2 is called, Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? Two more volumes are in process. These books are written by John Hay, of Summit Ministries, and David Webb, of Apologia Educational Ministries.

These remarkable resources now make the development of a biblical world-and-life-view accessible to thousands of busy families. We bought three copies of Volume 1 for our three married children, to use with our grandkids. I recommend you consider doing the same for the benefit of your own kids or grandkids. Or for yourself! It's great reading!

To order, visit https://apologia.securesites.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=136.

To understand how intentional some parents in the past have been about building a biblical worldview into the minds of pre-teens, listen to Max DePree, former CEO of Herman Miller (second largest producer of office furniture in the world), as he explains how this was done by his own parents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxFxOc3QeX8

Today, few families sit down for three meals together, let alone use this time to develop a biblical worldview. But as an adult, Max DePree was intentional about applying his biblical worldview to the Herman Miller Company in ways that made it a world-class company.

Volume 1 of the What We Believe series.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

A Place To Focus On The Future

The current coaching movement emerged in the 1990s, and is gaining momentum. The term "coaching," however, conjures up different meanings for different people, and requires definition.

When some people hear the word "coach," they think of a person who blows a whistle to tell you when to start running in place and when to stop, and makes you do 50 push-ups when you mess up. This is not what "coaching" is about, as the term is used by professional organizations specializing in this growing field.

As a Christian faith-integration coach, my job is to pose questions that help my clients hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to them, and to bring my clients to a point of clarity about specific action steps they feel they should take. I help clients shape their objectives, not the objectives I design for them.

This is much different than the role of a consultant. A consultant diagnoses problems, comes up with solutions, and tells people what to do. I don't tell my clients what to do. They tell me what they are going to do. Thankfully, my doctor is a consultant, not a coach!

A coach is not a mentor. A mentor has expertise in a particular area, and passes on that expertise to a mentee through a teacher-pupil relationship. We need mentors. However, coaching is not about teaching, imparting information, or bringing someone up to a mentor’s level. A good coach can work effectively with a politician yet know little about politics, or work with a plumber yet know diddly squat about the plumbing business. The person being coached is the expert in his or her own field. 

A coach is not a counselor or a therapist. Counselors and therapists discover issues in a client's past that are blocking progress, and help them to get past these issues. As a coach, I do not provide therapy.

Coaching is a place to focus on the future. My particular coaching practice helps people to clarify goals and experience growth in the context of God's call in the workplace. Whatever kind of workplace that may be. My role is to listen, ask questions, encourage, challenge, and always be supportive.

For more, read What is Meant by Coaching?

To find a faith-integration coach, go to http://www.firstcommission.blogspot.com/

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Faith-Integration Coaching

Tony Stoltzfus, in Leadership Coaching, wrote: "...one study I've seen found that learners who practiced a skill retained 700% more than those who simply read about it. Reading or teaching can give us the conceptual knowledge to use a skill, but only practice and feedback provide the confidence most of us need to apply it in real life."

Tony's words explain why I believe one-on-one coaching is vital for taking the Faith at Work movement from great concepts to great practice, and from "ideas that stimulate thought," to transformed lives, transformed workplaces, and transformed communities.

Imagine a world in which millions of followers of Christ actually lived out the implications of their faith through co-worker relationships, marketing practices, salary/benefit issues, work environment, policies and procedures, product development, sales, production, pricing, service, management, profit distribution and community service!

Sounds great, doesn't it? Yet, people who are unintentional about these things can expect little growth in these areas.

So let me ask you a personal question: Are you ready to get 700% more out of what you are reading with respect to the integration of faith and work? A personal faith-integration coach can make all the difference in the world.

Several years ago, I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to "spend more time with fewer people." I held on to this directive, but I did not know exactly how to put it into practice. 

Then I took a course in Core Coaching Skills from Creative Results Management (founded by Dr. Keith Webb), and things fell remarkably into place for me.

With today's post, I'm going public with my faith-integration coaching practice. Hurray!

I invite you to explore Faith-Integration Coaching, and then contact me for a test drive. The "test drive" will give you a feel for what faith-integration coaching is all about, and it will allow both of us to see if our coaching relationship is a good fit. There is no fee for this "test drive."

Geographic proximity is not an issue, because I coach via telephone or Skype. But I am limited in the number of clients I can take.

To view a sample agreement, click here. If you have further questions, feel free to e-mail me at "coach."

Want to get 700% more? Consider a faith-integration coach!

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Friday, March 4, 2011

My Personal Board Of Directors

I invite you to take out a clean piece of paper, and write the following at the top: My Personal Board Of Directors. (Yeah, I know it sounds like you’re back in school, but humor me. I think you’ll be glad you did this exercise.)

In the middle of the page, draw an oval to represent a large conference room table. Print your own name at one end of the table. Around this table, print the names of others who currently influence you the most, in a positive way. They may be living or deceased. They may be people you have not met, such as authors, media personalities, sports figures, or musicians. These are the voices you turn to, listen to, and learn the most from. These are the voices you take seriously when you want counsel, ideas, motivation, companionship, guidance, or a boost of confidence. Limit the number of Board Members to six or seven.

Now write a short description by each name that identifies the reason he or she is on your Personal Board of Directors. For example, “He always makes time for me,” or, “She never makes me feel like my ideas won't work.”

Finally, write a short personal note to one of your Personal Board Members (a living one), thanking this person and letting him/her know that he/she is on your Board, and why. Better yet, write a note to all of your living Board Members.

I was taught this wonderful exercise by my friend Dr. Kathy Koch (pronounced cook), Founder of Celebrate Kids, Inc. (http://www.celebratekids.com/). With her permission, I have shared it with many others.

Several of my Personal Board Members have sat at my table for more than 30 years. My wife has been on my Personal Board for over 40 years!

What a difference these people have made in my life! They are the friends I cannot afford to live without.

Who is on your Personal Board of Directors? Maybe you cannot limit it to six or seven. Get a bigger piece of paper. Thank at least two of them today, and be sure to let them know why they are on your Board. You will be glad you did, and they will be glad, too.

Oh...one more question: Did you include Jesus on your Personal Board?

He's been on mine for 53 years.

Thank you, Lord!

John Taylor (left) and Bill Laney (right) have been on my Personal Board of Directors for 30+ years.

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