I got my first job when I was 14 selling gourmet chocolates in a small neighborhood candy shop. Hustling truffles and Jordan Almonds for $4.50 an hour was surprisingly fulfilling.
Yet even as a teenager working a few hours a week after school I had questions that I now know relate to the integration of faith and work.
Back then, I attended an evangelical Christian school, and my family’s social circle was dominated by those we knew from church. So my coworkers at the candy shop were the only peers I spent time with on a regular basis who were not Christians.
This triggered questions for me about my duty as a believer:
- How should I react when a co-worker drops the F-bomb?
- What is the appropriate response when the girls start gossiping about another coworker who isn’t present?
- How am I to act when the rest of my coworkers disregard direction from the boss?
These were simple questions. And as you can see, many of my thoughts centered on behavior: What does it look like to be a Christian in the workplace?
In the workplace today, I face much more challenging and complicated questions. What was God’s original intent for my craft? Where did things go so wrong and depart from that design? What are the implications of Christian ethics on my industry? What is it I am called to do?
I see a dramatic need — in my own life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ — for someone to lead the conversation about faith and work in Denver. We need a vocabulary that helps us articulate the hardships and injustices we experience and our confusion about God’s design for work. We are hungry for solid theology that helps us understand God’s role as creator and to discern his call on our lives to create. We need tools to help us cope with the complexity of life in the 21st century. We need to be inspired by leaders in our fields who are successfully integrating faith and work in the daily grind. We need other believers to support us through the frustrations of work and spur us on towards excellence. And we need to experience personal renewal and transformed lives.
I’m thankful Denver Institute for Faith & Work is stepping up to lead in this critical area. The Institute will bridge the gap between what we study in the pew on Sundays and how we invest 40+ hours each week at work.
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This post was published September 25, 2013
Convinced that “those who tell stories rule society” (Socrates), Jill logged 10 years of experience in influencing public opinion and perception through strategic communications. While serving as a principal at SE2, a Denver-based communications agency, Jill discovered the joy of integrating the Christian faith with her day-to-day work in the marketplace. In her current work as a freelance consultant, she now tells stories about Denverites bringing the gospel to bear in diverse industries.
Jill is a graduate of Taylor University, an alumna of the Impact Denver leadership program, a deacon at Fellowship Denver Church, and a Kentucky Colonel — an honorary commission given by the state of Kentucky to “individuals noted for their public service and their work for the advancement of Kentucky.”