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Business Leaders Bridge Sacred and Secular
A workplace conference promotes a holistic understanding of Christ.


While some churches may still view the workplace as a part of the sacred/secular divide, Christian business leaders are addressing the divide.

"We need to join God where He's working."

"There is no line. It's all God's," says Doreen Harvey, a human resources consultant from Oakville, Ontario. Harvey puts her Christian values "on the table" even when dealing with secular companies. She was one of 300 attending the Canadian workplace conference called Purpose @ Work.

"The values we bring are clearly biblical, values like honest communication and servant leadership," says Harvey, who discovered her "faith defined [her] practice without [her] realizing it."

The conference organized by the Workplace Transformation Group—businesspeople with a passion for transforming cities through the marketplace—featured keynote sessions by leaders such as Ken Blanchard (author of Lead Like Jesus and The one Minute Manager) and Henry Blackaby (author of Experiencing God) and workshops exploring how faith can transform the workplace and the role of adversity in the marketplace.

Ruth Stephen, a tax administration manager for Ontario's Ministry of Finance, felt particularly challenged by Blackaby.

"He challenged us to change our perspective," says Stephen. "We need to join God where He's working."

"When Jesus chose to penetrate the entire Roman Empire He chose businessmen to do it," says Blackaby, citing examples from the Old Testament, the New Testament and history. "You are in the midst of God's eternal view for His purposes for the world."

The reason the divide between work and faith continues, suggests Jack Vanderkooy, CEO of DUCA Financial Services Credit Union, is "a lot of churches don't understand the business world. They still see it as a big evil empire."

Vanderkooy sees the workplace as a rich harvest ground—that's why he latched onto the vision of the Purpose @ Work when approached by conference chair Gerry Organ almost a year ago. Vanderkooy's DUCA eventually became one of the event's sponsors.

"The conference is one of the tools to make us more effective as Christian leaders in the workplace … to be agents for change," says Vanderkooy.

While he sees room for improvement in churches' relationship with the business world, Vanderkooy also sees the need for business leaders to be involved in their local congregations.

"Business leaders have to take their leadership skills and apply the in the church," he says.

Erasing the lines between faith and work arises when Christians lead like Jesus and share their faith through the philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi—witness always, use words when necessary—says Blanchard.

"Demonstration, not proclamation, is the next big movement in evangelism," says Blanchard.

Robert White is the Ontario editor for ChristianWeek.

Originally published in ChristianWeek Ontario, reprinted in Business Life, Summer 2007.

 

 
 
 
 

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