«Andrea Isa Baare The purpose of this project was to evaluate the impact of a contextualized Bible study series with the group “Christians at ...»
THE INTEGRATION OF FAITH AT WORK:
A CONTEXTUALIZED BIBLE STUDY WITH “CHRISTIANS AT TELEKOM”
Andrea Isa Baare
The purpose of this project was to evaluate the impact of a contextualized Bible
study series with the group “Christians at Telekom” (CT) on the participants’ integration
of ethics, evangelism (or expression), experience, and enrichment in the workplace.
Building on David Miller’s research of the Faith at Work Movement in the United States, I experimented with Miller’s concept of the Integration Box with Christians in the German workplace context. The Four Es, ethics, evangelism (or expression), experience, and enrichment effectively define not only my own conclusions drawn from fourteen years in the corporate world. The Four Es mirror CT’s primary concerns, observations, theological challenges, and spiritual needs that affect the integration of faith at work.
These four faith issues are the unifying principles that move spiritual leaders in the marketplace.
I conducted the study over a period of six months with a focus group of regular CT participants. The participants’ interaction with the Bible study series served as a means to assess the level of integration of ethics, evangelism (or expression), experience, and enrichment prior to and after the Bible study, and led to the identification of reoccurring themes that positively or negatively affected a successful integration of the group member’s faith at work.
Participant group members were close to recognizing the goal of this research project embracing the workplace as God’s call to vocation, but research results reflected consistently that occupation as a vocation was CT’s greatest inner conflict. Every time CT members were close to embracing their occupation as God’s call to vocation, group participants pulled away because of their sociocultural, historical, and theological stamping. They concluded that being priesthood in the workplace as a fulfillment of the Missio Dei and Christ’s Great Commission and serving based on their giftedness and calling was presumptuous. In addition personal ethical and corporate dilemmas existed that ran diametrically to Christian values and principles. The separation of faith from work, the churches’ lack of acknowledgement of intrinsic and extrinsic meaning of work, and DTAG’s development in recent years created difficulties for individual participants to experience intrinsic meaning and teleological purpose.
Group participants were not far from a full integration of all Four Es, even if the connection between all four faith issues ethics, evangelism (or expression), experience, and enrichment were not completely integrated atthe conclusion of the research. As part of the priesthood of all believers, CT group participants fulfilled the Missio Dei and Christ’s commission by being active in the world as their parish. They also pursued the fulfilment of the cultural mandate and the Great Commission on the micro (immediate work and job description), mezzo (organization), and macro (society at large) level.
Through CT’s centeredness in triune, Cocreative relationality with God the Four Es were
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURES
CHAPTER 1 PROBLEM
Introduction to the Ministry Context
The Separation of Faith and Work
Effects of Three Historical Movements on the Relationship between Faith and Work
The Lutheran Movement
The Industrial Revovlution
The Age of Information
Research Question 1
Research Question 2
Research Question 3
Ministry Intervention: Contextualized Bible Study
Delimitations and Generalizability
Overview of the Study
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE
Preview of Chapter 2
Discussion of Selected Doctrines
The Universal Priesthood of All Believers
The Missio Dei—God’s Intended Cocreative and Relational Goodness of Work and Worship
The Four Es
Evangelism (or Expression)
CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY
Summary of the Problem
Research Question 1
Research Question 3
Electronic Researcher Designed Pre-Questionnaire
Standardized Interview Protocol
Participant-Observer Protocol during Bible Studies
Independent and Dependent Variables
Pre- and Post-Questionnaires
Semi-Structured Standard Interview Protocol
Preview of Chapter 4
CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS
General Overview of Chapter 4
Demographics of CT and Non-CT Participants
Participants’ Business Segment and Professional Rank
Participants’ Age Range
Research Question 1
Steering Question 1
Steering Question 2
Steering Question 3
Summary of Subthemes from Research Question 1
Research Question 2
Level of Integration of the Four Es
Summary of Subthemes from Research Question 2
Research Question 3
Step 1. Status of the Participants’ Faith-Work Connection
Step 2. Participants’ Empowerment Helping Others to Integrate
Reward Workplace Ministry
Summary of Subthemes from Research Question 3
Summary of Findings from Chapter 4
CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION
Perception of Occupation as Vocation
Intrinsic Meaning and Teleological Purpose in Work
Direct and Indirect Expressions of Faith
Summarized Evaluation of CT’s Integration of the Four Es
Limitations of the Study
Group Participant Members
Researcher-Designed Pre- and Post-Questionnaire
Semi-Structured Interview Questions
Comparative Research in Other Corporate and Faith Contexts...............218 Externships
Hermeneutics for the Marketplace
APPENDIXESA. Study with “Christians at Telekom” (CT) for the Integration of Faith at Work
B. Personalized Letter of Invitation to Participants
C. Wanted: Christians in the Corporate World for a Study on Faith @ Work
E. Computerized Pre-Questionnaire
F. Pretest Entering Scores of CT and Non-CT Participants for Part 1, Rating Scale Questions
G. Bible Studies 1 to 8
H. Computerized Post-Questionnaire
I. Posttest Entering Scores of CT Participants for Part 1, Rating Scale Questions
4.1. Professional Ranking of CT and Non-CT Participants
4.2. Age Range of CT and Non-CT-Participants
4.3. Denominational Background of CT and Non-CT Participants
4.4. Q 6 Participants’ Faith-Work Connection
4.5. Q 7 Participants’ Level of Comfort Expressing Faith at Work
4.6. Q 1 Reflection of Workplace Challenges in Sunday Services
4.7. Q 2 Workplace Featuring in Prayers, Songs, Sermons, Adult Education Programs in Weekly Corporate Worship in Participants’ Churches.......124
4.8. Q 3 Participants’ Consciousness of a Call, Leading/Guiding of God in Connection with Work
4.9. Q 4 Commissioned by Church to the Workplace in Response to Participants’ Call
4.10. Q 5 Participants’ Need for Church Support for Ministry in Daily Life......130
4.11. Q 8 Sense of Alignment with God’s Will
4.12. Q 9 Participants’ Experience of Purpose in Work
4.13. Q 10 Opportunities within Occupation to Help Improve Other People’s Lives, Work for Justice
4.14. Q 11 Exercising of Gifts and Motivated Abilities in Service to Christ Inside DTAG
4.15. Q 12 Interest, Talent, or Hobby That Needs to Be Nurtured and Developed in
1.1. The Integration Box with the Four Es
2.1. Miller’s Integration Box
2.2. Definition of vocation and wholeness
2.3. The Four Es: ethics
2.4. The Four Es: evangelism (or expression)
2.5. The Four Es: experience
2.6. The Four Es: enrichment
4.1. PQ 1 reflection of workplace challenges in Sunday services
4.2. PQ 2 workplace featuring in prayers, sermons, adult education programs in weekly corporate worship in participants’ churches
4.3. PQ 7 participants’ level of comfort expressing faith at work
4.4. Q 10/PQ 10 opportunities to help improve people’s lives/work for justice
4.5. Q 5/PQ 5 interest in church’s support for ministry in daily life
4.6. Four Es: themes and subthemes after the conclusion of the research project
5.1. Ethics: themes and subthemes
5.2. Evangelism (or expression): themes and subthemes
5.3. Experience: themes and subthemes
5.4. Enrichment: themes and subthemes
5.5. My vision of CT’s perfect integration of the Four Es
I wish to dedicate this dissertation to the memory of my late husband, The Reverend Charles D. Nair of Durban, South Africa. He had greatly wished that I would pursue a doctoral degree. I also devote this dissertation to my beloved father, Dr. Gerd Baare, my role model for servant leadership in the corporate world.
I wish to express sincere gratitude and appreciation to my mother Hannelore Baare. Your love and support have been my strength during these past couple of years. I am proud to have you as my mother. My achievement is your accomplishment. Your faith in each of your children led all of us to strive for the highest and best. Your commitment to serve others is exceptional.
I thank my friend and sister, the Reverend Dr. Christina Accornero. I deeply appreciate you for your faith in me and for insisting that the Beeson International Leadership program would be just perfect for me. You challenge others to excel, and I went on an incredible journey.
I am grateful to Dr. Stacy Minger, my mentor. Your patience, academic excellence, great sense of humor, and “iron broom” wisely guided my complex German philosophical-theological excursions. Our teamwork has been an inspiration, not to mention your commitment to bring out the very best spiritually and academically in your students.
My comrade, brother, and pastor, the Reverend Danny Chetty of Port Shepstone, South Africa, cheered me on to stay strong amid his own personal, political, and spiritual challenges.
Busch, have been most precious friends. Your prayers, moral support, and willingness to work with me on this immense task are beyond words. You truly have servant hearts.
Pastor Dr. Karl-Heinz Bassy of the Evangelische Johanneskirche Moenchengladbach and I had the privilege to encourage each other while completing our doctorates by appealing to our common sense, exchanging articulate albeit sense-free emails, and pushing the responsibility to be role models back and forth.
Last but not least, I could not have completed this dissertation without “Christians at Telekom.” You have shown the courage to be ambassadors in creative ways for Christ during a difficult period in our company. May the example to lead with Christian values inspire others to follow.
My choice of joining the post-Christian German corporate world as a response to God’s call requires an introduction to this unusual ministry context. Personal circumstances mandated that I join the business world rather than teaching at a seminary or serving in a church. I returned to Germany from South Africa in 1995 after my husband’s premature death. I am not ordained by the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (German Protestant State Church, subsequently called EKD) because I completed my major degree work in the United States. My need to find employment led to my involvement in the business world. I have worked in Germany’s business sector in four multinational companies from 1995 to the present.
In order to respond as a theologian and business professional to the unique ministry opportunity of integrating faith at work, I needed to explore the workplace mentality and adjust my understanding of how faith relates to work. I noticed whenever I attended church that I experienced guilt due to my assumption that I was pursuing a “lower profession” in the world rather than a “higher calling” in the church. The gospel of Christ models a different attitude, an integrated, socioculturally sensitive, and politically informed approach. Christ embedded his ministry in the daily activities and immediate concerns of a nation under Roman occupation. I began to explore God’s word from a new angle, and I recognized that faith and work in the Old and New Testament interacted naturally as an integrated part of everyday life. God did not create humanity
Cocreative activity and worship to stress God’s affectionate pursuit of human creation.