We gathered in the empty restaurant on a Monday morning in Hong Kong. The restaurant would open later for business, but now was hosting a special group of key Asian leaders. There around the table were twelve Chinese small business owners. This is one of several groups that meet each week in a carefully orchestrated strategic ministry. The leader is a mature believer. He is supported by the ministry's director who is a skilled facilitator and by another very successful business leader who co leads the group. Both are in attendance but play a minor role on this day. The setting was not that much different than we see in groups all over the U. S. in multiple workplace ministries. These leaders look different, speak another language, and come from a different culture. However, their hearts are the same as we see all over the world.
Today the church of Jesus Christ is facing perhaps its greatest challenge since Christ's resurrection. And unfortunately, the only institution that can seem slower to change than the government is the church. On a given Sunday only 17% of the population attends church in the United States, closely following the pattern of Europe. Yet, the Spirit of God is creative and constantly doing new things among us in Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere. So the question is: "What in the world is God doing today, and what does he want us as leaders to do?"
I began traveling and speaking about faith and work issues in 1996 after having a career in advertising. God led me to study the topic of faith and work and its role in the average person's life. I began writing and speaking on the subject. Since that time I have been in twenty-five countries and spoken to hundreds of thousands of people about their calling in the workplace and the value it has by God. I have encouraged believers to know that their calling in their working life is a Holy calling, not a second-class calling. Now, twenty-five nations later and ten books later, I have learned one overwhelming fact: Christians do not have a theology of work.
Steve Hyland has worked for Coca-Cola for over 22 years. He accepted Jesus Christ as His Savior in college. Steve received a job offer to work at Coca-Cola in 1982, just two years after graduating from college while working for Procter & Gamble in sales. Looking back on the circumstances he can see the sovereign hand of God involved in all the details.
The Christian Fellowship at Prairie Stone is an example of the body of Christ in the workplace. (Prairie Stone is an office/entertainment development in the northwest Chicago suburbs which includes the Sears Holdings World Headquarters.) With continuous dependence on God's leadings and minimal structure, the Fellowship keeps its focus on two crucial priorities: to glorify God and to encourage coworkers through prayer, worship, bible study and acts of compassion.
The Christian Fellowship at Sears, Roebuck and Company • The Faith at Work Movement
God continues to work in amazing and unexpected ways at Sears. During the past two years, God has surfaced and brought more and more senior leaders to the company who are strong, committed Christians and who see the workplace as a major part of their calling. The body of Christ at Sears continues to pray, watch and respond. The Christian Fellowship at Sears is not the product of a formula or a step-by-step process. It is simply - yet abundantly and miraculously - the result of God's work and the obedience of His people. Read on to learn how this transformation occurred.
Following is Chapter 7 of The 9 to 5 Window: How Faith Can Transform the Workplace by Os Hillman, Regal Books, pub. September 2005. This chapter chronicles the current activities of the faith at work movement.
Following is an interview conducted with J. Gunnar Olson in January 1997.
The ICCC has had members in the US since its founding, and ICCC (USA) was organized in 1991. ICCC has an international membership in over 82 countries. The purpose of ICCC is to put the Kingdom of God as the first priority in our business life, and to teach and train men and women to respond to the Biblical challenge of a walk with Christ in the marketplace. It operates to promote Christian ethics and morals in the marketplace, stimulate development of member businesses and services, build a national and international network of contacts, and undertake important national and international projects.