Are You Investing Your Life or Spending It?
Are you experiencing the greater meaning and purpose in your work that God intends for you? If not, Biblical Leadership for Excellence can help.
“BLE sincerely appreciates and values all the workplace partners, individuals and volunteers who have partnered with us and allowed us to serve thousands of people for more than 30 years.“ Joe Carroll, Executive Director, Biblical Leadership for Excellence
Approximately a million people head to work each morning in San Antonio, and it’s the mission of Biblical Leadership for Excellence marketplace ministry (BLE) to bring Christ to their workplaces. BLE provides faith-based curriculum teaching anyone, from car mechanics to CEOs, how to integrate faith into their work. “For most people, work is the place where we spend most of our time, and it’s also the most disconnected from the Gospel,” explained BLE Executive Director Joe Carroll. “We want to help people find integration.”
In 1985, the ministry’s founders formed BLE to establish a structured way to unite faith with work, and make their jobs mean more than just a paycheck. “We as Christians should be setting the tone for others in all areas of our lives,” said Carroll. “But, when it comes to work and faith, people feel lost.” The group found most people’s experiences of workplace ministry have been legalistic, awkward, or inauthentic. As a result, work and faith almost becomes synonymous with ‘separation of church and state,’ or a compartmentalized life.
Work and family are the two largest areas of success or failure in one’s life. While there are countless resources for growing in faith as a family, BLE saw a need to extend that support to the workplace. “We want people to know they can have a dynamic, spiritual experience with God at their work,” said Carroll. BLE focuses on instilling a sense of security and identity in
Christians at work, so they feel empowered and encouraged to be fully alive for Christ in their work. “Working Christians can have just as much authority and conviction going into work as their pastor does at the pulpit.”
The BLE curriculum has 7 core courses studies covering a variety of topics including redefining success, contentment, retirement and legacy. With followers as far-reaching as New Zealand, anyone interested in the BLE curriculum can download materials from www.BLEonline.org, at no charge. Participants can join BLE-led groups, host groups at their work with training support from BLE, or request personal mentoring. The F.O.R.G.E., Full of Reverence Grace and Evangelism, group is also available for business owners, executives and CEOs.
The ministry also holds a monthly “Kingdom Connection” breakfast every second Wednesday of the month, which provides fellowship, and features real stories and testimonies of people who share compelling ways they’ve encountered God in their work. While BLE currently operates primarily on word of mouth, the group is continually making strategic community alliances with companies, churches and other organizations to expand their reach, and is working on developing new content for more studies.
Learning to authentically integrate faith into work can be uncomfortable and difficult. This is where BLE can help. The BLE team is helping people change the way they think about work; not viewing work as a curse, but as a divine institution, like family and government, and as a reflection of God. BLE helps people discover meaning in the everyday, mundane tasks, and that there is dignity and value in work. “We are merely a dot in the space of time, and God allows us to have meaning in that dot, and have an impact even after we’re gone,” Carroll illustrated.
A success story and testimony of the BLE comes from Doug Heintz, who has been part of the ministry for 30 years. As a business owner, he originally got involved by offering the studies to his employees, customers, and later opening his facilities to other companies or individuals who wanted to host their own studies. “Shortly after, I was out in the community talking to other businesses trying to raise awareness,” said Heintz.
As Doug’s role expanded over the years, he served on the BLE Board of Directors, and was later offered an opportunity to lead a BLE study at Hallmark University. This new collaborative venture between Hallmark and BLE led into a new unforeseen career opportunity for Doug. Hallmark University had begun offering an optional ministry component to its students and Doug was tasked with facilitating their BLE study groups. Nine months into teaching the BLE curriculum, Doug was asked to be the university’s on-site chaplain, which evolved into his role today as senior director of student life and development. Still acting as a chaplain, Heintz also manages worship events, prayer meetings and helps to provide transportation, housing, childcare, food and other resources to students in need. His team has also expanded to three more BLE facilitators. Doug’s original study group still meets weekly, and several Hallmark graduates have taken the BLE study with them to their new jobs.
“BLE has impacted me personally, as well as my family,” said Heintz. “It also confirmed to me that I’m the same person at work, as I am at church, as I am on Friday night – you’re abiding for Christ regardless of where you are, and I’m excited to share what that looks like.”
Carroll encourages anyone called to start a study of their own, even if they’re nervous, “No one expects you to be perfect. In fact, most of your impact will come from your authenticity, and humility in owning up to your imperfections, which is much more powerful.”
How to get involved and support BLE:
Get trained as a study leader. BLE is in need of workplace Christians who want to learn how to start new groups in their workplace! Become a servant of Christ and a champion for His cause at your workplace, or as a facilitator for other groups. No experience is required. BLE offers training, materials and guidance to get you started. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Donate at www.BLEonline.org. Help BLE keep its curriculum free and available to anyone who is called to discipleship.
Join a group study or attend a monthly Kingdom Connections breakfast, every second Wednesday of the month to hear from others sharing their experience in walking in faith at work. If you’re feeling frustrated or want to experience greater purpose in your work, contact the BLE to learn how you can honor God through your work and become, as one BLE participant described it, “a fully-funded missionary, paid to serve others.”
Be a Light
Get Involved. See the article for ways you can participate in and with BLE. Contact BLE to locate a group that you can join. Become a Financial Partner. BLE relies on the ongoing support of generous donors. Please consider joining BLE as a financial partner. Pray. Pray you will take the Kingdom of God to your workplace. Pray BLE will continue to grow and take their message to companies across the world.
Thank you Lord, for this Anonymous Partner who generously gave to BLE so that we could feature this article in our November issue. With this generous gift we are able to help raise awareness for BLE and all they do to help spread the Good News in the workplace.