Draft an articulative response to another students discussion board post. Here is the post you are responding to:
Keller and Alsdorf (2012) discuss work and the interconnection with God and further state that “work is as much a basic human need as food, beauty, rest, friendship, prayer, and sexuality; it is not simply medicine but food for our soul” (p. 23). God has called us to work as it provides us dignity and is in our design and furthermore without work, we can feel unsatisfied, meaningless, and lost (Keller & Alsdorf, 2012). God has also called us to cultivate the earth, meaning to tend to, grow, and use available resources to the advancement and good of all people (Keller & Alsdorf, 2012). Moses wrote that God said “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28, ESV). Keller and Alsdorf (2012), states that “there is no violent intent to subduing the earth” and “instead ruling the world as God’s image bearers should be seen as stewardship (p. 45). The earth is owned by God, but he has placed it under our care to cultivate it but that “is definitely not a mandate to treat the world and its resources as if they are ours to use, exploit, and discard as we wish” (Keller & Alsdorf, 2012, p. 45). We are called by God to use our resources, both human and raw materials, in the most efficient manner possible in order to improve the world and communities which allows people to prosper and succeed (Keller & Alsdorf, 2012).
Understanding our calling by God to cultivate the world and to be good stewards of his resources, it is easy to acknowledge how quality management and productivity could be significant in our efforts of advancing God’s purposes for business on earth. Quality management systems are designed to improve product usefulness to the customer while minimizing the resources required and the impact to the environment through continuous improvement activities (Plenert, 2012). Increasing productivity through building engaged team performance is a practice that also best utilizes resources (Starbird & Cavanagh, 2011). As Christian leaders we are called to use our gifts that God has graciously provided and to use our knowledge gained to be better stewards of God’s resources. David writes that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Paslms 24:1, NIV). We need treat God’s property with respect, care, and excellence. As we work to improve quality and productivity, we need to make sure we are performing the work in the correct mindset as to please God and not for earthly satisfaction (Boa, 2006). Keller and Alsdorf (2012) state that “corporate profits and influence, stewarded wisely, are healthy means to a good end” and that “they are vital to creating new products to serve customers, giving an adequate return to investors for the use of their money, and paying employees well for their work” (p. 165). These can all be good things when we are keeping God, his calling, and stewardship for his resources for the basis of our work (Boa, 2006). Paul reminds us with “so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it for all the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV). Keller and Alsdorf (2012) reinforce this stating that “Christian are to be fully engaged at work as whole persons giving their minds, hearts, and bodies fully to doing the best job possible on the task at hand” (p. 220). Paul also wrote “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV). The readings reinforce that we are to serve the Lord and as Christian leaders, we are to passionately work to be good stewards of God’s resources and utilizing the concepts of quality management, lean, and team performance to fulfill his calling and minimize waste of earthly resources.
Being good stewards of God’s resources includes continuous improvement and minimizing waste, but it is also about employing the resources available to a company for the best product application with exceptional quality. Keller and Alsdorf (2012) conclude that:
A Gospel-centered business would have a discernible vision for serving the customer in some unique way, a lack of adversarial relationships and exploitation, an extremely strong emphasis on excellence and product quality, and an ethical environment that goes all the way down to the bottom of the organizational chart and to the realities of daily behavior, even when high ethics means a loss of margin (p. 167).
Ritenbaugh (2003) discusses that as Christians, we should live our days always anticipating the Lord’s imminent return, but we are not to be just busybodies. We are to perform every job as God would do; with the best that we have, not cutting corners, and with the highest quality. Look what God made on this earth, we should do everything we can to reach for and emulate his high standards of creativity and quality (Ritenbaugh, 2003). Exceptional quality implies the best product using the right amount of resources. Continuous improvement allows us to reach to be better stewards of God’s resources daily, to dig deep to understand where waste is, redefine processes, reevaluate, and redo to be better in the end. This is our mission in business, so we adhere to God’s calling.
As we strive and place huge efforts for continuous improvement and quality in our work and business, what about our personal journey with Christ? Can you draw the parallelism with continuous improvement and your walk with the Lord? Quality is a cultural change, a journey to a different mindset, it is not something that is a task and just gets done. Christians are on a continuous improvement journey as we strive to become closer and closer to God and live our lives more like Jesus. We can have many failures and some great breakthroughs as we progress to improve our quality level. This quality level could be expressed as a question in the degree of sanctification (Pierson, 2011). Pierson (2011) states:
The central quality question is: How well does this set of inherent characteristics (sin, lack of sin, morals, conscience) comply with this set of requirements (the Bible, the Law)? In short, the quality of something depends on a set of inherent characteristics and a set of requirements and how well the former complies with the latter (para. 9).
God was really the first to develop a quality management system and we as Christians are following it now (Pierson, 2011). We are removing wasteful elements from our lives, streamlining our distance to Christ, studying for better implementation tools, and working to achieve the highest quality level we can. Our work as stewards of God’s resources through business is just one element of our personal journey of continuous improvement to the ultimate goal of the glorification of Christ and a relationship with God.
Boa, K (2006). Quality and Excellence. Retrieved from https://bible.org/seriespage/29-quality-and-excellence.
Keller, T. & Alsdorf, K. (2012). Every good endeavor: Connecting your work to God’s work. New York, NY: Penguin Books.
Pierson, A (2011, June 29). The Bible: Quality control & continuous improvement. Retrieved from https://souljournaler.blogspot.com/2011/06/bible-quality-continuous-improvement.html.
Plenert, G. (2012). Strategic continuous process improvement: Which quality tools to use, and when to use them. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Ritenbaugh, J. (2003, September 27). Sermon: Trumpets is a day of hope. Retrieved from https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Audio.Details/ID/1064/Trumpets-Is-Day-Hope.htm.
Starbird, D., Cavanagh, R. (2011). Building engaged team performance: Align your processes and people to achieve game-changing business results. New York: