Creating a People-First Environment By Kenny Jahng
You can create a people-first environment!
What if you could cultivate a people-first environment, and yet not bear the burden alone?
“When it comes to organizational effectiveness, a business that works must have a people-first attitude.” W. Rusty Faulks, Samaritan’s Purse
When leaders are driven to maximize stewardship of resources and meeting benchmarks, there often seems to be limited time dedicated to caring for the needs of the people. The effort it takes to cultivate a people-first environment often requires leaders to sacrifice critical agenda items, and — let’s be honest — calls for us to operate outside of our giftedness.
Encourage Group Study
In Exodus 18, Jethro appeals to Moses to lead as a rancher instead of a shepherd, appointing managers who can free him up to oversee. And as a bonus, Jethro correctly predicted that “ all these people will go home satisfied.” Now that sounds like a people-first attitude!
For faith-based organizations and ministries, one of the most effective ways of caring for the needs of the people is right under our noses, but often overlooked because of the “workplace” environment is an analog to the marketplace businesses next door and down the street.
Professionals outside of the church have a unique opportunity to see the world through the lens of Jesus—and engaging together in the Scriptures can be the glue for the masses who live at the intersection of faith and the world.
Under U.S. Labor Law, most workplaces are supposed to allow Bible Studies or other religious discussions, but in today’s culture, it is uncommon to have such religious gatherings at work.
But as leaders inside Christian organizations we can freely encourage and foster an environment for such studies and groups but don’t see this happen as much as you would think!
Why Group Studies Cultivate Change
Research shows that individuals engaging with the Bible four times a week are less likely to struggle with:
- Bitterness and discouragement
- Self-destruction and violence
- Lack of forgiveness
When individuals have the opportunity to grow spiritually and develop within community, it impacts every aspect of their lives. Outcomes include:
- Momentum building
- Increasing commitment
- Personal and relational growth
These outcomes will not only benefit every participant, but also your team’s effectiveness and bottom-line, too.
Four Great Reading Plans
First, you should become familiar with all the options that are practical and rewarding. Here are a few of my favorite reading plans for organizations.
(1) LISTEN WHILE YOU COMMUTE
Audio readings are popular for commuters, and the Audio.Bible, which offers a free app-based approach to listening to the Bible while on the go.
(2) GREAT DISCUSSION
Thought-provoking articles can spark great discussions, and many are available on sites like theologyofwork.org, whose mission is to “explore and investigate the gospel’s unique power to renew hearts, communities, and the world, in and through our day-to-day work.”
(3) LECTIO DIVINA EXPERIENCE
A 21-day Lectio Divina through the Gospel of Luke offered by the American Bible Society. This experience will appeal to many participants, including those who are simply interested in church history.
(4) BIBLE IN A YEAR
For a deeper dive, we suggest the reading plan Let’s Read the Bible Together by Life.Church, which takes readers through the Bible in a year! Get it all on the free app or on the website my.bible.com.
Create a Resource Portal
Give your teams the resources necessary to engage with the Scriptures within community. The people-first efforts don’t have to rest on your shoulders alone.
Trust your people to shepherd one another as they dive into the Bible together with a Faith + Work Reading Campaign.
Whether it’s a relaxed book club approach or structured reading plan, participants in your organization have the unique opportunity to grow relationally, spiritually and professionally when they engage in the Bible together.
Create a website or subdomain web page where teams and individuals can access reading plans, scripture cards, discussion questions, etc. Consider setting up a simple FAQ that encourages study and points people to a centralized location for reading and discussion resources. One of the strongest ways to affirm Bible-inspired gatherings with workmates is to launch a formal microsite that is focused on this. Now that American Bible Society has launched the .BIBLE top-level domain registry, a great option for the website address is your-organization-name.bible.
Get Started Now
Download everything you need to start your own Faith + Work Reading Campaign today at www.atwork.bible.
Need more ideas for getting a reading plan started in your organization? Wish you had pre-designed social media images for promoting your campaign? American Bible Society has published the done-for-you kit at www.atwork.bible to help leaders like you do exactly that – build awareness and equip staffers with resources to get started immediately:
- Ready-to-download reading plans
- Social media images to use on company intranet channels
- Emails to launch and promote engagement
- Blog article to launch and promote group studies
Not only do you have greater freedom to encourage your teams to gather around the Bible together, once you do you can watch a people-first culture naturally develop across your organization. So what can you do today to foster Bible study while your team members are at work during the week?
Kenny Jahng serves as the Marketing Strategist for the .BIBLE top-level domain initiative, which is helping to shape the future of the internet by creating a safe space for Bible-inspired content. The .Bible top-level domain registry (www.get.bible) is a ministry of American Bible Society. Kenny earned his MBA from Columbia Business School and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. You can follow his vlog #DailyKJTV on LinkedIn or find him on social media @KennyJahng.
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