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Princeton Seminar to Discuss the Impact of Spirituality on the Workplace

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What does your spiritual life have to do with your on-the-job leadership effectiveness? According to the Princeton Theological Seminary, the answer is, well, everything.

On May 31 and June 1, the Princeton Theological Seminary will hold a first-time seminar event addressing the dynamics of spirituality and leadership in the workplace, called, "Leadership and Spirituality: Transforming the Workplace." It is designed to be an interactive seminar that brings business leaders together with clergy to collaborate on the impact and influence that their spiritual life brings to their jobs as leaders.

The premise of this event is rather unusual. It says our daily work is God’s calling – an empowering opportunity for us to learn more on our journey of knowing, and showing greater love. I can hear it now, the cognitive dissonance ringing in the heads of executives around the world: “What? My job is part of God’s calling? To show love?”

This preposterous perspective may cause some to dismiss the whole thing outright. On the other hand, it may cause others to start thinking very differently about the very purpose of their work and the potential impact they can have for good. Remember, your job is the place where you will spend the vast majority of your time and attention during the prime of your life. Why shouldn’t God have something to do with it?

If one believes that God’s Spirit is all-knowing and ever-present, then isn’t He there at your job anyway? In that case, the real issue becomes tapping into God’s Spirit while we are there, and revealing it for the highest and greatest good for all concerned in achieving our organization’s purpose.

That sounds nice, however, what you are more likely to hear from managers today are complaints that the pressures from the workplace are pulling them in precisely the opposite direction – away from a positive, loving, and fulfilling expression of God’s greater good. Many say they feel their work life is a downward spiral draining them of faith, self-confidence, trust, and creativity. Princeton Theological Seminary decided it’s about time clergy and laity came together to figure out how to reverse this trend.

The timing of this event is critical, as evidenced by the many stories dominating today’s headlines of arrogance, greed, and moral apathy connected to CEO behavior, as well as the economic uncertainty that shrouds our collective outlook on business. “Our clergy must be able to understand and support the leaders in our secular business communities today more than ever,” says the reverend Raymond Bonwell, Director of Princeton Theological Seminary’s Erdman Center for Continuing Education.

The mastermind behind the program is Dr. Stephen Payne, a former CEO and long-time international executive leadership coach. According to Dr. Payne, “There is no doubt that the world is calling out for a higher level of accountability and transparency from CEOs, executives and managers, not to mention senior clergy. This seminar will help business leaders discover new ways to enhance their organization’s integrity, stewardship, and moral character.”

Dr. Payne’s ultimate goal is to help the leaders generate the greatest good within themselves, as well as for their organization. Now, that is an idea that is nothing less than revolutionary.

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About Bradley J. Moore