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What is Faith-Based Servant Leadership

Uncategorized Feb 14, 2024

 

 

What is Faith-Based Servant Leadership? 
- Mario Ishikawa

About 10 years ago, I was taking a family trip to Florida with my wife and, back then, my 2-year-old son. One evening, I was looking for an affordable place for us to eat, preferably with a corner for kids to play. I saw on the map that there was a Chick-fil-A close to our location. I remember just thinking: "What kind of name is this?" But the reviews were great, so we decided to go. 

From the outside, the fast-food restaurant blended seamlessly with the mall and supermarket, appearing like any other ordinary establishment. As we entered the place, I don't know how to describe, but it felt to me that I was entering in what could feel like a modern church. I'm not sure what caused it, but I distinctly recall that as I opened the door to enter, the font on the wall struck me as resembling a church, and I felt a profound sense of peace wash over me. 

The service was outstanding, surpassing the usual standards. The staff exhibited natural courtesy, with an attendant bringing the order directly to the table. Moreover, the playground was fantastic. I distinctly recall being captivated by the experience, pondering over what was truly unfolding before me. For many, it may seem like just an ordinary place with better service. But for me, there was an undeniable air of something extraordinary. I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something unique waiting to be uncovered. I needed to understand what it was. 

After some time had passed, that place remained on my mind. Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to search for information about Chic-fil-a and its religious affiliations. Surprisingly, I didn't find much, but the topic continued to occupy my thoughts. I wondered what kind of business it truly was. Was there even a specific term to describe it?  

After some time, I remember I found some reading plans created by the author Jordan Raynor. Back then he had a book named "Called to Create".  

"Called to Create" by Jordan Raynor is a compelling exploration of the intersection of faith and entrepreneurship. The book presents that our innate drive to create is not merely a utilitarian need, but a divine calling - an expression of our identity as beings made in the image of the ultimate Creator. Raynor frequently cites the work of C.S. Lewis, echoing his sentiments on the sanctity and spiritual value of work. In C.S. Lewis view, he wanted to write stories that had Christian values in it, without actually writing about God or biblical characters. He believed that work was a form of worship and should be done with excellence, regardless of the industry or type of work being done. This idea is also central to "Called to Create", as Raynor argues that all forms of work - from business ownership to artistic expression - are equally valuable in the eyes of God. 

That was life changing for me. In this pursuit to understand how such business were integrated in the market, I went one day to a conference for Christian Entrepreneurs. I recall that within the group, there was a couple who owned a cardiology clinic. I remember thinking: after a long day of work, I can come home thinking about software I have created, that will make industrial production more efficient. Consequently, this could potentially result in even lower levels of pollution. But nothing can beat getting home with the mind knowing you had saved a couple of lives literally from death. 

But the same way, if we were all to think like this, of direct impact on peoples' bodies or minds, we would live in a world of only religious leaders and medical doctors.  

Raynor's book challenges readers to expand their understanding of entrepreneurship beyond just the business and financial aspects. It encourages individuals to see entrepreneurship as a means to fulfill one's calling and purpose in life. This perspective is not limited to traditional forms of entrepreneurship, but also includes creativity and innovation in various industries. 

I also have read some book written by Truet Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A. In his book "Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People", Truett shared the story of how he built his business on Christian principles and values. He believed in using his business as a platform to impact people's lives for the better. 

Prior to my discovery of Intellic Integration, I was unaware of any other companies that had such a well-defined set of values. Interestingly enough, it wasn't the values themselves that initially caught my attention. In fact, I wasn't even aware of their existence. But it was the compelling message to the IIoT world market and their deep knowledge on what seem unsolvable problems that I used to think that few people could resonate. 

So, I was even more impressed when I read the company values: 

"Guides us to be greater than we are; to seek ways to improve the world around us. We answer to a Higher Power and are grateful for the opportunity to serve the community we live in and beyond." 

  

 

For comparison, my only other reference was Chic-fil-a: 

“To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” 

That was some years ago, I was not working at Intellic Integration or planning to, but that alone helped me to be more self assured on the value I was providing to the world in a career that if one does not think carefully, it is easy to get lost and believe you are actually serving machines instead of someone. And it is weird to think how much has changed in the world perception, and also how much my own view has changed, in just a decade. 12 years ago, I attended the Christians Entrepreneurs Conference for the first time. It was there that I was introduced to the concept of working with a strong purpose, which proved to be life-changing. However, it also sparked a wave of doubt within me. Nonetheless, I came to realize that this was all part of a natural process. As time went on, the thoughts in my mind began to mature, and I encountered more and more references that solidified the value I could bring to society as a servant leader, whether it be in leading projects or people. 

In conclusion, the journey towards finding a purpose in our professional life is often a winding one, fraught with doubts and introspection. Yet, it's such explorations of our values and the impact we wish to make that truly shape us. Companies like Intellic Integration and Chick-fil-A, with their profound value systems, serve as beacons, illuminating the path towards a career that transcends beyond mere professional accomplishments, and contributes towards a higher purpose. This transformation in perception – from serving machines to serving people – is not just a shift in perspective, but a fundamental change in understanding the true essence of our work. Whether leading a project, a team, or merely contributing as a member, we mustn't lose sight of the fact that our work ultimately serves people, society, and a cause greater than ourselves. And that is Faith-Based Servant Leadership. 

BTW, to our IIoT friends and community, Chic-fil-a has one of the best tech blogs. 

 

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