Our spiritual lives matter, and they should not stop mattering when we go to work. The new ‘Spirituality at Work’ movement has grown exponentially, but much of that focus has been on how bringing spirituality into the workplace can enhance profitability.
The focus of Dr. Elden Wiebe's research revolves around the idea that spirituality can enhance the organization as a whole and its many stakeholders—employees, suppliers, distributors, customers, and the environment. Here, profit is not so much the focus as it is a by-product of doing things well.
The project began when it was noticed that some Christian business people talk about God and/or their faith in their company materials (e.g. website, annual reports, mission statements, etc.) That brought about two key questions:
- Do these Christian founders/owners/CEOs of businesses reflect the themes of the ancient biblical text, which is the source of their spirituality?
- If so, do they clearly show a Christian worldview in the stories they tell about operating the business?
Research shows that each of the Christian business leaders (both Catholic and Protestant) who were interviewed reflected the full range of biblical themes. Their faith was not confined to a very narrow personal and private relationship with God but included many other aspects, including sacrificially caring for others, whether employees, suppliers, clients, society as a whole, and the environment.
It was also noted that each one had a strong Christian worldview. They believed God was at work through them, even in situations where they were unaware. They believed that God was accomplishing his agenda of reconciliation and restoration in the world.
God is producing a proliferation of goodness that goes beyond the initial goal of the business.
The results are very encouraging because it underscores that business can have a redemptive role in our local (and global) society.
"Ancient Spirituality at Work," Cathy Driscoll and Elden Wiebe. Published in Faith and Work: Christian Perspectives, Research and Insights into the Movement.