A recent Barna study reveals that Christians fall in to one of three vocational personalities: Compartmentalizer (34%), Onlooker (38%), or Integrator (28%). Allow me to provide the specific meanings from the study.
Compartmentalizer - these are pragmatic employees without strong connections to their faith or work (Christians at Work, pg 50). I picture the complacent person, without understanding that they are called to participate in a story bigger than themselves. The New Testament refers to this unfolding story as the kingdom of God, but for a compartmentalizer the way they spend their Sundays has nothing to do with the way they spend the rest of the week. They probably like it that way.
Onlooker - these are passive employees positioned to better connect with their faith and work (Christians at Work, pg 50). I wonder if the entrance of millennials into the workforce is the reason that this personality ranks the highest from the study? One characteristic you'll commonly read about millennials is their desire to participate in something good. That is, they generally have zero desire to clock in to a job just to pay the bills... they want something bigger. But what? The struggle is real, and I've experienced it in past jobs. How does me performing ____ (fill in the blank) have anything to do with a larger purpose? This group is ready for the integration of both sides (purpose + work), but they struggle connecting the dots.
Integrator - these are enthusiastic employees deeply connected to their faith and work (Christians at Work, pg 50). I know these people, and if I'm honest I have only dipped my toes in this mindset in the last several years. When you meet someone that gets it, you'll know. They are not just passionate about "work"... they truly believe their everyday job is impacting a larger purpose. To summarize a thought from one of my favorite books, Surprised by Hope, they realize they aren't just greasing wheels, digging dirt, or restoring junk. They are re-making old things into new, planting life in the ground that will provide, and are giving glimpses of a larger narrative of restoration in all they do. It sounds awfully familiar to a line of thought from 1 Corinthians 15... of perishable things being remade into imperishable, of old things being made new, of dead things coming back to life. Integrators aren't just servicing and selling, they're injecting life and hope with each opportunity.
I'm not sure where you land on this spectrum of personalities. Whether you are a person of faith that even thinks this way to begin with, or not. But I want to encourage you, and invite you to an opportunity to consider what kind of good work you were made to provide your community. On top of that, what could this larger story be that your good work serves? There's danger in a self-centered career. But when it comes from something higher (or someone), it truly becomes a calling. Join me at a Good Work Event to hear local integrators share their stories of clarifying their calling and identifying the larger purpose behind their everyday jobs. Check out the event page and preview the lineup of speakers below... it is going to be AWESOME. Oh yeah, you will be very well fed during the event!
Mark your calendar: March 14 from 9am-4pm at the Redemption Ranch.
Clarify your calling, discover a larger purpose behind your everyday job, and help me build others up to do the same!