Whether in the marketplace or in the church, there are often times when it can be difficult to find a greater sense of meaning and purpose to our labor. But how might we see our work as more than just… work?
In a 2018 report, Barna Research Group partnered with Abilene Christian University to study Christians At Work. In their research they defined a group of people they call Integrators, employees who enthusiastically connect their faith and work, seeing their labor as purposeful and as a good fit.
But what are the markers of these Integrators? In a survey, Barna Research noted 5 trends and attitudes that characterize their approach to work:
1. They Regard Work As Spiritual
Integrators acknowledge God as having a role in the work they do… and 89% agree strongly that God has given them talents to use for His glory.
“For every job included in the survey – from entertainment executives to school janitors – they are more likely to see its potential as a calling or a chance to contribute to the common good.”
2. They Set The Bar High
Holding high standards of professional integrity, Integrators “require more of themselves – as workers and as people of faith.” In fact, they feel a deep sense responsibility for contributing to the culture of their workplace. They build friendships with non-Christian colleagues and want to be an “instrument of common grace for the common good.”
3. They’ve Never Truly “Made It”
Most people who integrate their faith and work well never feel as they are done growing. “Ninety-one percent — compared to 61 percent of all Christians – agree that they are always looking for ways to improve.” They are willing to embrace both life-long learning and different kinds of possibilities.
4. They Embrace Curiosity & Risk
Most Integrators are curious about the world. Curiosity has been linked to a number of positive effects on person’s ability to improve the workplace and society: resiliency in relationships, handling conflict well, less political polarization, and others.
Integrators are less fearful of taking leaps of faith than the average Christian, and aren’t afraid to put themselves out there in both the workplace and in life goals and projects. Perhaps this is because they are more likely to regard faith as the foundation of their identity.
5. They Don’t “Bury Their Talents”
Those who integrate their faith and work well want to use their giftedness for the good of others. This may reflect “their strong belief that these talents are given by God to use for His glory.”
This generosity extends to their finances as well, as they serve God with their money. They are also more likely (than the average Christian) to express their generosity through serving and volunteering.
For more information on the Barna report, Christians at Work, click here.