catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 5, Num 10 :: 2006.05.19 — 2006.06.02


Shaping the culture that shapes you

Subscribe to the Jubilee 2006 podcast (RSS | iTunes) to download audio of this session.


I need your help in a little demographic profiling.  I don’t work with college kids, I don’t have children, have not, sort of, “tuned in.”  So I’d like to get a little commentary from you guys about your generation and how I should be wary of what’s to come as you guys enter the workforce.  So I say that because…do any of you read Fast Company Magazine?  Anyone?  It’s one of my most fun magazines.  And it’s got an article in this last month about how when 80 million Baby Boomers will retire over the next 25 years and there are only 46 million Gen-Xers—therefore, Millennials—is that a name you would apply to yourselves?—will dominate the workforce for the next 70 years. 

So I’m looking out in a little bit of trepidation, saying, “If I don’t know a little bit about your generation, how will I ever be able to prepare for what’s about to come?  For 70 years' worth of influence, power and, in some cases, domination over various aspects of our culture.”  So, give me some characteristics… How do you guys like to characterize yourselves?  What do old boomers like me need to know? 

Okay…I’ll start you out; this is a really pleasant one since you’re slow.  And you guys are going to have to come up with the good ones!  This article starts out with the shocked reaction of the boss at some company…I don’t remember what it said, but…a salesman at a car dealership didn’t get his yearly bonus because of poor performance.  Both of his parents showed up at the company’s regional headquarters and sat outside the CEO’s office until they got a meeting to demand why their 24-year-old, their offspring, did not get a bonus.  So that makes me nervous.  Is that a good profile of your generation?  Give me some positives to counter that if it is.  Yes?

[Audience member] I wouldn’t say that my average friend or even myself is that dependent on their parents.  At the same time, I have been talking with my parents and with my friends about how I feel like our generation is not as independent, maybe.  I mean, my father does my taxes, he files my financial aid…he does a lot of stuff for me…takes care of my insurance, all that.  And when he was my age, he did all of that on his own.

And I’m not equipped to do that for you in the workplace, so hopefully he will keep doing it or you’ll learn.

Right, well that’s the thing that we’re realizing.  I mean, I’m only 19, but still.  Our generation, I feel like, isn’t as independent, maybe.   That’s my experience.

Anybody?  Any thoughts?  Any comments?  Any reactions?

[Audience member 2] I just think—convenience is probably a word—as far as technology is concerned.  We want to be able to fly from here to Africa as quick as possible, we want to be able to communicate with somebody as quick as possible—we have cell phones and things like that.  We want things to happen real quick, right away.  So, probably, convenience is a good characteristic.

Convenience.  Anybody?

[Audience member 3] Something that goes along with that is that I think that we’re really spoiled.  Like, our parents do stuff for us and we have all this technology.  We’re a really spoiled generation.

All right.  We’ll leave that out there; we’ll talk about it a little more later.  Anything else?  Some good things?

[Audience member 4] A positive is that we mature a lot faster or we have matured a lot faster than the previous generations.

How would you characterize maturing?  In what way?

I don’t know.  Just in terms of…in previous generations, I don’t think it would be as possible for a child to sit down and have a conversation where it’s like peer-to-peer … [unintelligible]

This article talks about that too…

But not in a disrespectful way.  You know, understanding where your parents are coming from, as well as getting them to understand your point of view.

One of the people they interview here said that she didn’t have any problem talking to people that were way higher than her in the organizational level because she didn’t have time to waste being intimidated.  And that might be tied with the “we-want-things-now,” not wasting any time.   You’re just going to get right to the point and have the dialogue.  Yes?

[Audience member 5]  I think, kind of going along with the…[unintelligible].  I think our generation is innovative.  We’re looking to find ways to do things better.  Taking what’s there, but also not being complacent with that—looking to improve on what’s already there for us.

So…innovation or creativity.  And you’ve got a sense that you actually can do it; you can pull it off.

Yeah, very much so.

[Audience member 6] I think with that innovation comes the breaking of tradition.  We’re not so tied into tradition and I think that’s a very positive thing.  As far as us not being so bound to tradition…it opens up a world of opportunities.

Right.  An ability to look forward, not just be caught up in the past.  Anything else?

[Audience member 7] I don’t think that this generation is as motivated by money.  I mean, money is always a motivating factor for anybody, but—at least the student’s on our campus—seem…to be happy to have satisfying career and future.  Not necessarily to earn the most money they can possibly get during their lives.

So there’s other motivators besides money that are at play as you’re thinking about what profession to go into, what career.

So why am I asking this question?  The topic today is “Shaping the culture that shapes you.”  You’ve already been shaped by your generation and as you become more and more powerful—by your numbers, by the demographics—in the world that you’re in, you will continue to be shaped by and have the power to shape the environment you’re in.  So it’s a relevant topic to overlay—well, not even overlay—to penetrate thoroughly the Christian worldview.  How, as people that are going to be significantly shaped by your generation and the culture you’re operating in, and significant shapers of … How do you look at this from a Christian perspective?

One example of the way you’re shaped… Look at the careers you choose and one of the ways your careers choose you… Give me some physical characteristics of what you would look like if you were going to go into high-tech and run a high-tech company.  Because I believe you sort of dress like the fields you’re going into.  What would you look like?  What would you dress like?  Who’s an image [of that]?  I was going to put up a picture of Steve Jobs.  You know, the hair’s shaved back and he wears that black, mock turtleneck—sort of the style. 

What would you look like if you were going to go on Wall Street?  What’s the picture you’d put up for a Wall Street guy?  [Audience responds]  Suit, tie, maybe suspenders.  What would you look like if you were going to be a teacher?  [Audience responds]  Jumpers, more classic stuff if you were teaching high school; but fairly dressed down compared to the guy in the suit.  How about if you are going to go into the computer gaming industry?  What are you going to look like? [Audience responds]  T-shirt … What’s the hair going to look like? 

To some extent, I want to challenge you on how much you are looking at where you’re going to go based on the culture of the particular profession and not to be too superficial about that—not to pick a job based on what clothes people wear in that job.  But on the other hand, acknowledge that there is a culture that you are selecting and you’re walking into.  When I started, when I got out of college, I was a fifth grade teacher and I really did not want to wear a jumper.  And I was not a Christian, so I was not thinking of it from that perspective.  But I did not like the image that I was moving into.  I wanted to be far cooler than the fifteen-year-old or the many teachers I was working with.

So I changed careers.  I wanted to go out and meet people and have them say, “Wow, that’s a cool job!” So really superficial motivations that I was choosing my career path.  I moved into, by chance, an economic consulting firm that worked in aerospace, did aerospace technology.  For example, we did the cost-benefit analysis that eventually resulted in the light of the strip of the aisle of the airplane that help you evacuate because we were trying to say, “How can you better afford safety in the event of a fire?”  And we did all kinds of studies related to that.  From there, I moved into satellite television.  Still the technology area…and that was cool.  It was in the early stages of using satellites.  I could go out and say what I was doing, everybody went, “Whoa!”  Highly motivated by cool…I want to say, in retrospect, very immature motivation for selecting a career.  Subsequently, I moved into distance learning and internet-based management education.  That was the last business company that I ran.

I start this with “be careful where you’re choosing” because I see how I how I have been affected by the cultures I’ve been in.  So let’s just talk a little bit about words people use.  If you’re in high-tech, what kind of words do you use?  What are some expressions you use? [Audience responds]  State-of-the-art.  What else?  You probably use them all the time and don’t even think about it. [Audience responds]  Downloading.  Don’t you download to each other sometimes?  High-speed?  I use, as a combined business person/high-tech person, all the time “net benefit.”  I’m now working in a church scenario with people who didn’t, understandably, come up from my background.  I go in and say, “What’s the ROI on that?”  They look at me like, “Why are you always trying to measure the return on something?  Can’t something just be good?”  We have really, really different vocabularies that we use, all influenced by the culture that [we’ve] worked in. 

I’d like you turn to the piece of paper and I’d like someone to read the first paragraph in italics there.  So somebody who could read that out loud in a booming voice…right in the back, thank you.

[Audience member 8] "I’ve always believed that there are various levels of power that people aspire to.  The first is purely about money.  Once that’s achieved, it evolves into wanting power and the ability to influence others.  Then it’s control:  being able to make the type of decisions that influence the lives and livelihoods of not just employees, but of entire families.  The last one, which is probably the most elusive for those longing for power, is the development of what I call the savior mentality.  That’s when a person believes that he, his power and his ideas can save the world.  There are few executives who have wielded such a level of power, most often to satisfy some additional selfish motivation rather than truly to save anything.  Such individuals lack any empathy except that which relates to their own egos."

Obviously I’m not quoting a Christian writer there, I’m quoting Fast Company Magazine.  The reason I selected that quote is it’s a very typical business perspective.  Tons of people that you would meet and talk to in your business world would have this perspective.  You may also find it on your campuses; I don’t know that.  What are the worldviews being expressed by this person?  What is this person—at the heart of its thinking—think is true about life?

[Audience responds]

Money and power are what we’re after.  Right?  Money and power are our ultimate goals in life.  Anything else?  What are some other worldviews of this person?  What does he think about truths?

[Audience member 9]  It seems like he thinks that if you’re not successful you haven’t done anything worthwhile.

There’s a measure of success that corresponds to your value.

If you haven’t achieved these things, then you really haven’t been successful.

Right, which I would venture to say is a fairly prevalent perspective in a business environment.  What else?

[Audience member 10]  If you don’t have money, you don’t really control anything, not even your own life.

If you don’t have money, you don’t control anything.  What are you?  What else?  What about the cynicism you hear here?  What’s behind that?  Especially about the savior mentality—that’s a fairly cynical comment.  What are you hearing in that?  What is behind that?  What would you say if you’ve started a company, it was successful, and now you’re going to take that money and try to create a homeless shelter.  And someone says to you, “You just have a savior mentality.  You’re just trying to build up your own ego.”  What would you say, from a Christian perspective, to that person?  [Silence] "Right on, you got me?"  It’s a real cynical perspective!  That person does not believe that at the heart of someone they can be more interested in the common good of someone else than they are in their own power, glory, status, influence.  At the heart of their belief, they don’t believe that’s possible.  That’s the world you’re going into when you’re going into a business environment and, to a large degree, any other professional environment:  that, inherently, we are selfish people.  So how do we, then, as Christians go in with a different worldview.  And what is our perspective on those things?

Now, one of you said that money isn’t all that important to your generation.  So perhaps there’s something that’s going on—even outside the Christian worldview—that’s a challenge to this perspective.  Is that possible?

[Audience member 11]  Relationships, I have found, seem to be really important for Millennials.  A lot of their life is based around relationships, which is really contrary to money.  So they care about people.  At least those who they know…they have a real heart for them and knowing how they’re doing. 

One of the reasons I think it’s important to be thoughtful about this is there’s stuff about your generation, the trends of your day, that are truly consistent with a Christian worldview and there’s stuff that’s truly at odds with it.  And you’ve got to not be more a citizen of your generation than you are of a Christian perspective or, to use the word in its broadest term, the Church.  You have to have your perspective say, “Cool!  Our generation is actually got a good trend going!” and fan that one.  But you also have to be able to say, “There are some correctives that I as a Christian and we as a community would like to make.”  My generation is very individualistic.  As a matter of fact, I really didn’t think I would have made anything if I would have had to do it with other people.  It was a deep perspective that said it wouldn’t count if I had help.  Strong worldview…hardly a Christian worldview.   If that’s true about your generation, you’ve got to grab that one and claim it and think it through and see what you can do to facilitate that.

I think you guys talk about this in the conference…but that basic Gospel framework.  I’m using the five-act drama, some people talk about the three-act drama.  That biblical perspective where you sit up above all the trends of today—you know, that United States of American perspective on life—and say, “The Bible gives us perspective that’s true in all generations, in all cultures, in all countries.”  Then we have this five-act drama:  creation, then God calls all the people of Israel to be a light to all other nations, the life of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus, the era that we’re in now—the “already, but not yet”—and then what we have to look forward to when Christ has fully redeemed this.  So that’s the perspective that we have to look at all the opportunities and cultural influences around us. 

Three Christian perspectives…I’m actually not going to have us read all of those.  The first one:  we want to be able to change things for the better.  This is actually something I think your generation and mine share—maybe some generations in between don’t share.  Let’s think about that one:  you want to change things for the better.  Several of you said “innovate.”  Biblical?  Not biblical?  [Audience responds]  Totally biblical!  Made in the image of God, made as people who are to redeem, be partners in the redemption and reconciliation after the Fall.  Being change agents is totally biblical.  Hold onto that as a significant opportunity and value.

The second quote really comes from Jeremiah 29:  “We seek the shalom of the city and pray to the Lord on its behalf.”  So what is it mean, we’re seeking the shalom of the city in your contemporary culture?  What does that mean?  How is your generation living that out, both with Christians and non-Christians?  Would you say you’re a generation that’s really concerned with the problems of the world?   [Audience responds]  Somewhat?  What would you say is the most pressing problem that even your most secular fellow people in college would join you on?  What are some that people get rallied up about?  [Audience responds]  War.  Poverty.  AIDS.  In New York, it seems like AIDS in Africa is really a passion de jure—it’s really got a lot of momentum going right now.  A very biblical thing, obviously, based on that particular scripture. 

The third one, on the top of the next page:  Christ is the reconciler of all things.  What kind of reconciliation interests are there in your generation?  What kind of reconciliation issues du jour are going on?  Any?  [Audience responds]  Racial.  I’m hoping that you guys are dealing with that in a college level, that there’s a whole lot greater awareness and concern about those issues. 

So, just some examples about ways we can look for biblical mandates in what’s going on around us.  How do we take that into the world of business?  On page 3, I’ve got a triangle there that is really a Christ-based model for leadership.  As influencers…I’m equating influence with leadership—even if you’re not in a formal leadership position, you have the opportunity to be an influencer or leader in your sphere.  Has anybody ever heard of the study, it’s a marketing study actually, that said one out of 10 people are the biggest influencers on whether a product becomes successful or not?  In any group of 10 people, one of them is a crowd-swayer.   Has anybody ever read that?  Some of that, the numbers, is very interesting.  Any bus station you go into, any airport, you can look around and say, “Man, it’s not really hard to be an influencer.”  One in every 10 of us is going to really have an impact on the environment in some way, some decision.  It may only be the toothpaste you select, but if it can be the toothpaste you select it can be something else.  So you all have an opportunity to be a leader or to be an influencer. 

This model’s kind of interesting because it talks about different ways.  One of the things I hear a lot is, “Oh, well I’m not a leader” or “I am a leader.”    And we’ve got some real provincial definitions of that.  Like, if you were elected to be class president when you were in fifth grade, you sort of think, “Oh, well I’ve got leadership potential.”  We don’t have a lot of deep thinking, especially when you’re still in school, as to what that means.  Bossy people are leaders and mild-mannered people are not leaders.  So if you look at Christ's model, that's just totally hogwash—that's an old word—and instead let's look at a model of prophetic, priestly and kingly attributes.

So what are some definitions of that?  Christ obviously was all three of those things.  What's a prophetic person.  Somebody read the first three lines of that paragraph.  Somebody?  Just read it out…

[Audience Member 12]  "Jesus was the ultimate prophet.  when Jesus was on the mount of Transfiguration, he met Moses and Elijah, the great prophets.  But we are only told to listen to Jesus."

Okay, so, clearly Jesus was a prophet.  Give me an example of a role in business that's prophetic, somebody in business who's prophetic.  [Audience responds] The person who's casting the vision in the company.  Anybody you can think of that's prophetic?  [Audience responds] So, marketing strategy people, maybe.  Right.  There's a lot of "prophetic-ness" even in deciding what product you're going to make, saying, "Hey, I think this product's really going to take off.  This is the product of the future."  So the person who can speak into what's going to happen has a prophetic voice of sorts.  I think you would see it in areas of technology in particular.  What's going to happen with the merger of television and PCs?  And who's going to be the prophetic voice as to where that technology goes?  In your twenties, somebody's going to win in that battle of the television or the PC.  So where are the prophets in that area?

How about in law?  What are some ways you could be prophetic if you were in the area of law?  [Silence]  Interesting, you know the word "profession" means "to profess the truth," sot he law profession is a person who professes the truth about law.  So theoretically, anyone going into law should be thinking about how is their practice of law prophetic.  How are you as a practitioner of law in some way expressing or articulating the truth?  Or the profession of medicine.  It's the truth about what heals, as a person going into medicine.  So it's an interesting way to think about the word "profession."  Even someone who goes into art: the profession of art is professing something about the creative process.  Maybe it's about beauty, maybe it's about what's wrong with the world.  But there's a prophetic aspect to the work that they're doing.  They're communicating a message. 

I would argue that anybody who goes into corporate communications in some way is being the voice of their company.  So when I was in—I went through the sales and marketing ranks from a discipline standpoint in the technical world—and I had a boss at one point who wanted to do the kind of ads in the paper that were the real competitor-slammer ads.  You know, "We do this and so-and-so does much worse."  So I am there with the responsibility for the voice for our company trying to wrestle with, "Is that the prophetic voice we want to have coming out of this company?"  So you have some responsibilities in not even the top role in what's the message and what's the tone of that message and does it line up with your view of how the world should work?  I didn't choose to do that one.  It just seemed like there was a better way to profess the goodness of our products than to stomp somebody else down and climb on their backs to get to the top.

[Audience member 13] Excuse me.  Being in business much like you, I think a very important message for this crowd to hear is that speaking the truth in love is becoming increasingly, increasingly difficult and it takes more courage to stand up and speak that prophetic word than it may have 15, 20, 30 years ago.  I don't know 15, 20, 30 years ago, but I'm saying today in our world having a prophetic voice in any profession is extremely important from a biblical perspective.

And I think it's difficult from a corporate perspective and an individual perspective.  We're much less ready to tell each other what we really think of each other's performance or what we really think of each other's behavior.  So I'm hoping that along with this interest and love of community, there somehow grows up a corresponding appreciation for truth-telling and that that truth-telling on a one-on-one level will then be able to reclaim the high ground when it's at a more corporate leadership level.

[Audience member 14] That presumes, though that they know what truth is.

It does presume that you know what truth is and that's probably an area that is going to be the biggest challenge for you as people representing a different kind of worldview.

How about the "priestly"?…  I now work at a church in New York that is large.  We have about 5,000 attendees and the average age is 29 and it's 70% single, so I get a lot of people right out of college.  And if they've been Christian, they tend to think they have to go into a "priestly" profession, a "helping people" profession.  If you're not going to be a pastor, then the next best thing to being a pastor is to help people in a very overt and direct way.  Any of you share that sentiment?  I'm not negating that as a calling, but I am saying it's one of three legitimate roles that Christ played on earth.  So what are some priestly professions within business itself?  [Audience responds]  Human resources!  So anybody who really likes people but also wants to make money doesn't go into education, they go into human resources.  I'm not knocking that at all, but looking for a people-related job and being priestly as we go into business is important to business and it's important that we can find those roles in it.  Advocate of humanity's cause before God—that's a pretty interesting job.  How about marketing?  Is there a priestly role in marketing?  Anybody here majoring in marketing?  Not a single hand.  It's such an interesting area.  In marketing, you're really trying to understand people's needs.  You're the listener that has to figure out what people really need.  Now, you also have to figure out what they really are going to pay for—need and will pay for.  But marketing can often be a priestly role or you can exercise priestly gifts in the area of marketing.

How about "kingly"?  We think of business in this last area.  How is a person in business exercising a kingly role?

[Audience member 15] If you're like a CEO of a company or an owner of a company, making a lot of decisions, having power…

Yeah, we're kings like that king in the book of Esther that she talked about this morning.  And there are some CEOs who are kings in that kind of a fashion.  So we tend to actually think of people in business as kingly.  As a matter of fact, a lot of people go into business for power.  There's an opportunity to have a lot of legislative power over a lot of other people.  And interesting trend that you will I think benefit from is a far greater shift in the organization of companies from hierarchical to flat.  So as people are taught leadership in business school now, they're taught that the kingly aspect of it is far less—in a traditional way—important than a relationship-building aspect.  But nonetheless, "kingly" is a legitimate role, as modeled by Christ, even as we go into business.  So it's an uphill battle when you're looking to go into business and you're a Christian, convincing some of your contemporaries that it's a legitimate calling.  I'm hoping that looking at it in terms of these ways you can model Christ's behavior in these three ways—having a legitimate role in every aspect of business—is really valid.  It's something that you don't have to be defensive about.  It can really make a difference.

So for example in a kingly role, I was able to decide when I laid people off and when I didn't lay people off and how to do it.  I mean, it affects a lot of lives.  There's obviously a priestly component to doing that as well. How much you pay people affects a lot of lives.  There's a lot of influence, if you're able to exercise that with a gospel-centered perspective, it's really a huge opportunity, a huge culture-impacting opportunity.

On the following page, page 4…under each of those three categories—prophetic, priestly, and kingly—I've got a bunch of characteristics.  For example, part of "prophetic" is worshipping God.  Part of being your prophetic influence is pointing people to who God is.  So one way to do that is create excellent work.  Why does that point to God?  Why does the quality of your work point to God.  [Audience response]  Because it seeks to glorify him.  It's in his image. It reflects that were were made in his image as a creator of excellent work.  It points people to God.  There's a gentleman who's doing the architecture seminar at the same time that we're doing this—actually, was the architect for the ballpark here in Pittsburgh.  You look at that and you go, "There's some beauty in how that was designed."  Just the work itself.  And as Christians we tend to go, "All right, if you're a nurse, that's really good work, but if you're just creating excellent work…well, oh, well."  How many of you have ever had a testimony in your church: "Well, we're having this guy stand up here because he built a great ballpark"?  Well, that's legitimate, glorifying work.  And it's hard to get a culture shift to respect and value that, but it's equally valid in the eyes of God. 

Similarly—go down to priestly—people tend to think if you want to be more on the priestly side, don't go into business.  But I'd argue that there are many, many ways you can go into business with a priestly mission, a priestly heart, a priestly calling….  So, for example, in the service area, customer service is a huge area in almost every company, especially in a service economy.  Or a business that is particularly in the area of social justice.  Or a business that the actual end product is a serving or a priestly product.  I heard at lunch about a venture that was just started by a church and one of the women in that church to do counseling for women with eating disorders.  And it's a business.  There's a business aspect of that.  But the product is counseling.  So it's important to look at the robustness of business as you look through these things.

And then the third: kingly.  As I say, that's the easiest, but there are some interesting ways to express that here.  My challenge to you would be to look at that list, pick two of them and pray that God would reveal to you needs in the world and opportunities for you to serve in that area.  Now, some of you may be trying to figure out what career to go into.  This may be a way to help guide you.  What's God really putting on your heart?  All of us need some of this.  All of us need something in all three of these areas.  But some of us are going to try to be inclined in one of the three areas more than others, but how do you start thinking about where you're going to pick in terms of those needs or what particular burden or excitement God's put on your heart for one of those areas?  And then the second thing would be, when you're looking for a summer job or full-time jobs after school, look for bosses that model it.  Your twenties are still a learning time, only hopefully it's an apprentice situation as opposed to a classroom situation.  So probably the most important thing you do is pick someone to apprentice from well, not just take the job, but take it as, "I'd like to work for this person because I think I can learn one of these characteristics that I think God is leading me in well.  I want to be mentored.  I want it to be modeled to me so I can really see this in a creative way."  Yes?

[Audience member 16, paraphrase] How can you be a Christian in business without people thinking you won't be serious about business itself?  That you'll be too nice?

Thank you for asking that, because I went to work for a church three years ago, as I said.  And I'm finding a lot of cognitive dissonance between me and my colleagues as to the right way to behave as a Christian. Because there's a premium on "niceness" in some callings that is not there in other callings.  And sometimes I'm not as "nice" as I'm supposed to be and I speak my mind too freely, in some peoples' opinions.  I would say where you need to start in that is now, that speaking the truth in love needs to be practiced, speaking and working through challenges of differences of perspective needs to be practiced.  So you get to being thirty years old in the middle of business and you've not ever had to really push your thinking on that or you've not been challenged on those areas—you're like a babe in the woods.  But you can practice that.  You've got people already in your environment who are in different fields from you or come from different environments who have a very different perspective on "nice."  And you can start hving dialogues saying, "I think I'm being nice."  And they can say why they don't think you are and what that looks like. 

I did a seminar when I was out in California.  I got a bunch of CEOs—and it was for a twenty-something crowd—and the topic of it was, "Would you hire a Christian?"  And it was Christian CEOs that were speaking.  And the first whole half by design was all the reasons that had been a disastrous decision.  Why having Christians in their employ [was making them think], "I should never do this again."  A lot of the reasons were those kinds of stereotypes: "nice" means never contradicting anyone and "nice" means, as a boss, whenever anyone has a cough, you should let them stay home.  And so people would say, "We have an absentee rate 40% higher among Christians than non-Christians." So as a boss, that's fairly egregious.  The only way you're going to get past that—in my view—ridiculous stereotype is if we have a lot of dialogue about what it's like.  So talk to your non-Christian friends in a college setting and say, "I think I'm being fairly [this]" and get feedback on it. 

That's part of that community thing.  Community isn't just "let's all sit around and have fun together."  Community is what, you know, Lauren talked about this morning, challenging somebody.  But even more than that, I think that one of the things we have to learn to do is say, not just, "I'm going to be this way and see if anyone notices."  I think, "I'm going to try to really work on not gossiping and by the end of the month everybody's going to start coming up to me saying, 'You know one thing I love about you is you don't gossip.'" It doesn't really work that way.   You have to say, "I'm going to be intentional about changing from being a gossiper to a non-gossiper and I'm going to pick four people and tell them that I'm going to do that and at the end of the month ask them, 'How did I do?'"  You're putting yourself out on the line then, saying, "I'm trying to exhibit this kind of behavior.  Am I doing it?"  That's how you grow, that's how you change.  You can pump up a really pretty good self-image if you never ask anybody for feedback.  It's pretty pleasant to do that.

I'm done with my prepared comments, I think.  There's more there that you can look at.  My closing comment is so many people don't want to go into business when they're in college and so many people end up in business ten years later, because in fact business in college is viewed as an accounting course, whereas business in the real world is viewed as this wide array of jobs that pay your bills and put food on the table.  So lots of people in this large conference will end up in business.  How do you go into it intentionally, saying, "I can be an influence for Christ in that" and what does that look like?  I think I've only scratched the surface with this three-part model, but I think it's something you can start with right now.

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