Christian business professionals have long had an uneasy relationship with the church. Not only does the church tend to privilege church and missionary service over business, but it often condemns business practices and implies the guilt of any participants. Yet there are signs that this dynamic is changing—not least because churches rely on the donations of business professionals.
Many pastors now visit their congregants at work to better understand their professional lives. Justin Buzzard, pastor of the Garden City Church in San Jose, Calif., wrote last year about ministering to professionals in his congregation. “It shows them that I care about their callings, how they spend 50-plus hours of their week.”
Organizations such as Corporate Chaplains of America and Marketplace Ministries have sprung up in the last 20 years to offer chaplaincy services and Bible studies to offices. And among a younger generation of Christians in business, working as financial analysts and engineers is itself Christian service.
Their mindset is captured by Dave Evans, co-founder of the videogame giant Electronic Arts and a design professor at Stanford. Mr. Evans talks more like a theologian than a former Apple engineer. He points out that Genesis says that humans were created in the image of God, so all of our work—not just church work—is holy. We are called to be co-creators, with God, of a flourishing life on Earth. “It is really a profound act of engaging the kingdom of God,” says Mr. Evans.
When he began work in the 1970s, integrating faith and business amounted to little more than being ethical and trying to make converts. Much has changed, he says, as a younger generation seeks to sanctify the corporate world. “The glory of God,” Mr. Evans says, “is humans fully alive. Work itself has value. It’s a huge countercultural behavior to train yourself to value work for its own sake and to see it as a service to God.”
Mr. Evans will be speaking this weekend at a conference of 250 MBA students from the country’s top schools. Organized for the past six years by Yale’s MBA Christian fellowship, the conference marks a transformation in how Christians and other religious professionals seek to integrate their faith and their work.
The so-called faith-at-work movement has more than a century-long presence in American business, says David Miller, a former finance executive and now the director of Princeton University’s Faith at Work Initiative.
The full article is available at The Wall Street Journal.