Question: "What do you mean by integrating faith and work"?
Answer: Western cultures have begun to suggest faith is a private matter that doesn't belong in the workplace. This fallacy often causes workers to build walls between their personal faith in God and their professional value system. While for most people, this gap is not a matter of intentional duplicity or deceit; it does create problems in being who we were created to be; and is a barrier to being genuine.
Unfortunately, many businesses and organizations do indeed function as if God doesn't exist; thereby consciously or subconsciously squeezing their employees into this secular framework of dichotomous living.
When Jesus says we can't "serve God and mammon", He's telling us we must incorporate His principles into every area of our life.When we do so, our work becomes an extension of our relationship with Him, and we become bridges across which the Holy Spirit walks to accomplish God's purposes in the people and places where we spend most of our waking hours.
Question: "What is the background of Randy Kilgore? Does he have actual experience in the workplace? What theological training does he have"?
Answer: Randy spent more than twenty years in the workplace, most of it in senior human resource management positions in commercial construction and health care firms. At age 40, he returned to seminary to pursue a Master's in Divinity.His goal was threefold: To equip himself to serve as a workplace chaplain; to be able to write to pastors about the ways workers need their help; and to teach workers that Scripture is an essential and invaluable tool in living and working in ways that please God.
The son and grandson of truck drivers, his background blends a unique mix of blue collar and professional influences. He spent the first two years of his training at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis before moving to New England to finish his M.Div. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He then spent the next eight years as a workplace chaplain and senior writer with a workplace ministry located in Boston, Massachusetts.In January, 2008, he launched Desired Haven Ministries (the flagship organization for Made to Matter) with his wife of thirty years.
Question: "How does Made to Matter stay abreast of marketplace issues and trends"?
Answer: Randy Kilgore works hard to stay involved. He's in almost daily contact with a wide array of workers, gathering a steady flow of information on a number of industries from the people who work in those fields. He reads and monitors business literature and publications, as well as books and other media sources. Randy also leads a regular series of workplace Bible studies in the Boston area, an activity which often serves as an incubator for new the studies and writings available from Made to Matter.
Question: "Why does Made to Matter place so much emphasis on Bible study"?
Answer: The Bible is an essential part of our life in Christ.Through it, we learn how God intends for us to conduct ourselves in our workplaces, our homes and our society. Christians must understand not only what we believe, but to discover those truths directly by interacting with God's Word.
Question: "Don't I need a theological degree, or at least an understanding of ancient Greek and Hebrew, in order to truly study the Bible"?
Answer: Not at all. The Bible is written for-and its truths are accessible to-everyone who calls upon Christ as Savior. Once we have a personal relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts, unfolding the truth of Scripture to us as we read the Bible. While theological training, original language skills and Bible study aids are helpful, indeed even extremely beneficial, Scripture teaches that the truths of God are available to every believer, regardless of their theological background.
Question: "Does Made to Matter hold events in our area"?
Answer: Made to Matter chaplain and senior writer Randy Kilgore presents workshops, seminars, speeches and special programs in many parts of the country. Queries about his schedule, or about his availability for programs, seminars or teaching in your area should be directed to email@example.com.
Question: "Does God expect me to talk about my faith at work"?
Answer: This is a complex question, with both a simple and not-so-simple answer. The simple answer is "yes", you must absolutely be prepared to talk about your faith. Scripture encourages all of us to "be ready to give an answer."Jesus warns us that if we "confess Him before men, He will confess us before the Father." Beyond that, however, should be our desire to share the good news of the grace of God through Jesus Christ because of our gratitude for what He's done for us, and/or our concern for the eternal security of others.
It becomes a more complex answer when we add "at work" to the question. Christians should rarely, in fact, almost never, share their faith when doing so disrupts or distracts them or others from performing the tasks their employer is paying them to accomplish. Working followers of Christ should also recognize that competency and integrity are two very important ingredients in getting other workers to respect us, and therefore to respect the things we talk about as being important to us. We encourage workers to understand that establishing themselves as competent colleagues who can be trusted to be responsible and honest may be the most important part of their service to God.
Our book, Talking About God in the 21st Century Workplace, addresses these and many other issues regarding this important subject. It also has a set of ten Bible studies at the end of the book which can be used for self-study. Talking is available for ordering by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: "Do you really believe Christians can change this culture"?
Answer: Christians by their own efforts, no. However, God working through the faithfulness of men and women in the workplace, absolutely! In the history of revivals and awakenings around the world, a pattern repeats itself. Christians watch as society erodes its commitment to the faith, then to the values of the faith, and finally seems to surrender itself to living for the moment, satisfying self over Christ. As the culture distances itself from the church, so too do Christians begin to withdraw from the culture, widening the chasm from both sides.
Inevitably, in the church are a few people who still believe renewal is possible, who still pray for a work of the Holy Spirit that recaptures the hearts and imaginations of an entire culture. These faithful pray in the face of improbability to a God who controls all history, and they believe He has the power to change lives.
When renewal/revival comes, these faithful laborers may be surprised by its forcefulness, but they are never surprised by God's faithfulness. Their spiritual lives are marked by the same certainty first-century Christians had as they prayed for what they believed would be Christ's imminent return. We believe working Christians today are called to be just such agents of change.
Question: "I'm leaving my job (or I'm being laid off). How should I behave as a follower of Christ in this difficult time"?
Answer: First, let us encourage you to write to us for an article entitled "Forced Sabbaticals" which deals with the subject of being out of work involuntarily. Second, remember that we are ambassadors for Christ in the eyes of our coworkers even in the trying times of our lives. Workplace Christians can learn a lot from Moses, from the importance of delegating to how to be loyal even to a rebellious people. Right now, though, we want to focus on one aspect of Moses' style: His concern for the group when he's gone. After all those years of service, after all those acts of faithlessness by Israel, after all the resulting years of wandering, here Moses stands (Numbers 12: 17-27) at the edge of the Promised Land--and is reminded that he can't go in. Worse, it's an act of disobedience on his part that prevents him from going in.
So what does Moses do? Whine about God's action? Badger, plead or rant for what would seem to be his right to finish the journey with his people? Ignore them and focus on what's next for him? No. His heart is for his people. He asks the Lord to provide someone to tend the organization after he's gone; to not only tend it, but protect it.
When we leave a job or a company, is that how we're thinking? Or are we indifferent to the impact on the people and organization we're leaving? Are we focused on what we can do to facilitate the transition or on what the company or our coworkers did to us, or didn't do for us? Do we want to "punish" them for some injustice, hoping to gain some measure of revenge?
Even in the worst of circumstances, like outright dismissal, our demeanor can be a powerful testimony to the effects of Jesus Christ in our lives, proof to our coworkers of another life changed by Him. In striving to leave them with the understanding that we walked the second mile, even in the face of difficult circumstances, they will know of the Savior's impact on us, and on our work. And in praying for them, we leave them in better Hands than ours.