The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a fresh biblical expression of the theology of work as stewardship and mission illustrated by the example of a large company which has attempted to operate consistent with this theology. The theology states that all humans were created in God’s image as God’s representatives on earth. As God’s representatives, people were created to connect to their Creator, make decisions on God’s behalf, and to work to take care of God’s creation. As a result, individuals should pursue these three purposes in their lives, and organizational leaders should create organizations that facilitate this pursuit.
Dennis Bakke has written a book called Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job 1 which provides a memoir account of his attempt to create and maintain such an organization. The bulk of this dissertation is intended to be a manuscript for a Bible study companion to Joy at Work.
The dissertation provides several forms of research. Chapter 1 is an original outline of the theology of work as stewardship and mission resulting from research into the historical expressions of the theology. Chapter 2 is a review of the various streams of literature that discuss the purpose and theology of work. The topics of chapters 3 through 13 were selected after surveying people in the workplace about core felt needs they have about their work. Additionally chapters 3 through 13 were written in draft form and tested throughout the fall of 2004 for relevancy and clarity of expression in a ten-week small group with sixteen workplace leaders. The current form of this dissertation has
incorporated the comments and reactions of this small group.
1 Dennis Bakke, Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job (Seattle: PVG, 2005).
It is hoped that the reader will have a new understanding of the God-given purpose of their work and can increase their personal joy as they work consistent with God’s plan. It is also hoped that Christian readers will understand their unique call to lead their organizations in ways that help others connect to God, make decisions on God’s behalf, and steward God’s creation.