01 Apr #010 – Integriosity – The Need – Mind the “Gaps”
In England, riders on the “Tube” (aka the Underground or the subway) are famously warned to “mind the gap”. People serious about integrity and faith/work integration should heed the same warning. At Integrous, we believe there are three gaps to cross:
- The “Sunday/Monday” gap is crossed when you understand that what you do Monday-Friday is not disconnected from the faith you practice on Sunday (or Saturday)–you should bring your whole self (including your faith) to work or to your business.
- The “Sacred/Secular” gap is crossed when you understand that your work or business itself has intrinsic value in God’s Kingdom–your work and the way you manage your business is a sacred vocational calling and a form of worship (you have probably heard that the Hebrew word avodah means work, worship and service). As Tozer says, what matters is the “WHY” behind your work or business.
- The “Knowing/Doing” gap is crossed by taking those understandings and implementing change by actually doing something!
To a large extent, Integrous and the idea of Integriosity® were inspired by the observation that there is an abundance of excellent content and conferences on the subject of faith/work integration but there seems to be a surprising shortage of understanding among people of faith and, even more so, of institutional “heart-changing” implementation by business leaders of faith.
For example, based on some empirical and anecdotal evidence (we are unaware of any academically rigorous study), it would appear that only a very small slice of people whose faith is based on the Bible have really crossed the Sacred/Secular gap.
- In 2019, a representative of a faith and work organization mentioned that they and another organization had conducted surveys of workers in an effort to ascertain whether Evangelical Christians understood that all of their work was a sacred activity. They got at this by asking people when they thought they were living out their faith at work. Based on those surveys, these groups concluded that only 5-9% of the workers had a a Biblical understanding of work as a sacred activity and a calling. Some did not feel their work had anything to do with their faith (still stuck behind the Sunday/Monday gap), and others cited only the times they were doing things like attending Bible studies or prayer groups or praying for co-workers (still stuck behind the Scared/Secular gap).
- Anecdotally, we have witnessed a similar lack of understanding when giving talks about Integriosity. We often start a talk by asking the audience how many are in “full-time Christian ministry”. Typically, only a few hands go up–pastors and people who work in ministry not-for-profits. Thankfully, by the end of the talk all hands go up when asked the same question (of course, this blog post may destroy future opportunities for confirmatory anecdotal evidence)!
Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. (A.W. Tozer)
Our mission is not to add more “content” to the already voluminous pile of faith/work material–it is to help leaders and organizations imagine and implement a bigger “Why” and actually do “business a better way”. If you are interested in how people of faith got where we are, among the multitude of excellent books on faith/work integration are many that explain the theological history of the relationship between faith and work and how we came to have a Sunday/Monday gap and a Sacred/Secular gap. Two good ones to start with are David Miller’s God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement and John Knapp’s How the Church Fails Businesspeople (and what can be done about it).