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Faith and Work Initiatives

19 Feb, 2019

  • This is the lead article in a series of profiles on faith and work initiatives from various faiths.



  • Brian J. Grim, Ph.D., President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

A growing number of companies and religious groups embrace the idea that living out one’s faith at work is good for human flourishing and business.

Here I will highlight how religious groups help their members put their faith to practice in the workplace, making work more meaningful, productive and human. Stay tuned for a second post on how companies accommodate religion in the workplace, and the ways RFBF helps them do it successfully.

Profiles from Various Faiths


Evangelical Christianity

On February 22, 2019, thousands of Christian business professionals across the country participated in the second annual Work As Worship Retreat, a one-day live-streamed event featuring experts on connecting faith and work. Last year, over 13,000 business professionals participated.

With the aim of communicating a complete and biblical picture of work and faith, the organizers defined eight tenets of the Work as Worship message. Read more …

By the way, the photo below is the sign in front of the church I attended while growing up (now many long years ago). In those days, the  topic of faith at work wasn’t on the radar.



For a summary of the Work is Worship initiative, including another short video in addition to the one below, follow this link.


Buddhism

In December I attended the the first “gathering of managers learning from the Buddhism spirit.”

More than 2,000 people gathered on December 16, 2018, at Rissho Kosei-kai’s Great Sacred Hall in Suginami Ward, Tokyo. This was the first nationwide gathering of business owners and managers to study Buddhism’s application to management and business today.

The purpose of the gathering was to utilize the Buddhist spirit in business management, create a network to provide business value and new value for society through the application of Rissho Kosei-kai’s teachings.

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity

August Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award-winning author who attributes much of his success to living and working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey for seventeen years. As a frequent monastic guest, he learned firsthand from the monks as they grew an incredibly successful portfolio of businesses.

Service and selflessness are at the heart of the 1,500-year-old monastic tradition’s remarkable business success. It is an ancient though immensely relevant economic model that preserves what is positive and productive about capitalism while transcending its ethical limitations and internal contradictions.  See what he learned firsthand from the monks.


Legatus

Tom Monaghan is best known for founding Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University and formerly owning the Detroit Tigers, but what is he most proud of? Founding Legatus, the world’s premier membership organization for Catholic business leaders.

Legatus members are business leaders – men and women with varying interests and diverse talents who all share one overriding goal: to become better Catholics and, in turn, positively impact their business and personal lives.

Legatus members are business leaders – men and women with varying interests and diverse talents who all share one overriding goal: to become better Catholics and, in turn, positively impact their business and personal lives. – Tom Monaghan

See the video below for the story of how Tom Monaghan went from a pizza giant to, as he’s been called, a giant of faith.


Islam

God at Work

There are many examples from Islam as well. One is summarized in a just-released business journal. A new article by Ali Aslan Gümüsay, Michael Smets and Tim Morris has been published at the Academy of Management Journal. It is entitled ‘God at Work’: Engaging central and incompatible institutional logics through elastic hybridity and examines how the first Islamic Bank in Germany maintains unity in diversity by forming what the authors call an elastic hybrid that remains resilient despite contradictory beliefs and values that persist over time.

The Productive Muslim Company

My colleague, Mohamed Faris, asks Muslims, “Are you living the best version of yourself Spiritually, Physically & Socially?” To help them, he offers a 6-week online live masterclass to learn practical, hands-on skills to win more days, overcome stress, and live the best version of themselves.


Judaism

Spiritual Business Principles for Sustainable Success

Michael Shevack is an ordained rabbi, a leader in inter-religious dialogue, the author of six books, and a consultant and business counselor to many executives and companies. His column on Spirituality in Business appeared in Success Magazine.

Executives and CEO’s are people with people problems. Business problems are always people and psychological problems in disguise. Virtually all our problems are simply contradictions in our minds. Contradictions in our minds are usually due to antiquated “operating systems” so-to-speak. Rabbi Michael Shevack offers to help people download the new version. Read more …

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has rolled out a global self-reliance program covering topics including personal finance, starting and growing a business, finding a better job, and education for better work. Practical courses with spiritual benefits.


What it all Means

These examples point to the reality that many people don’t separate their faith from their day-to-day lives.

Studies show that the most successful businesses encourage an environment in which employees can bring their “full self” to work. Employees need to feel comfortable, willing, and able to talk about what is most important to them. Employers benefit when they recognize and respect an employee’s religious identity, including their beliefs and practices.

In today’s increasingly competitive global business environment, companies will need to draw upon the unique talent and diverse experience of every employee. Employees that feel free to bring their entire self and identify to work demonstrate higher levels of innovation, creativity, and positive working environments, directly affecting business success. On the other hand, organizations that have environments of exclusion, intentional or not, risk excluding the next great business solution, the next great product idea, or talent retention.

As companies globalize, they’ll need employees who can relate to the daily experience of increasingly diverse customers. For billions of potential customers, including in the world’s fastest-growing economies, religious belief and practice are a part of daily life. Having employees who understand the ways religion manifests in private and public life will help companies avoid costly missteps and develop products and services better tailored to customer needs, and an essential part of being competitive.

Have a look at the resources we have developed to address these needs.