Category Archives: Leaders & Institutions

Palm Sunday, as I have experienced it, seems anemic

By Blogger Daryl Geffken

Daryl Geffken

As I figure it, Palm Sunday was the greatest day Jesus’ disciples experienced.

This day laid claim of their expectations that they were following the sudden king of Jerusalem, Judah, Israel, and the heavens and the earth. Finally, no more wondering what he meant when he was teaching those parables, no more wondering when the day of his kingdom would be announced, no more walking around the whole of the country.

Wikipedia photo

This was a time for sitting on either side of the enthroned King. This was a time for celebration. Even the people were fully on board. No small cutsie parade of kids walking vaguely down the aisle of a sanctuary, this was a full-blown, 1945 end-of-world-war-two-ticker-tape festivity, with people laying down their clothing and huge palm leaves so that the son of God wouldn’t have to humble himself by touching the dirt with his feet (I’m curious: what if instead of the parade of palms we so typically enjoy was replaced with all us adults throwing our jackets and such on the ground and having it trampled by a donkey?  Or shouting “hail to the king” so loudly it broke city ordinance and officials had to come break up the party?).

For the people, their liberator had arrived: for today and forever. And Jesus agreed. This was a day that made it all worth it. In my history, there is nothing that compares to what this day meant to its participants. It’s better than a national championship, any form of graduation, the wrap party after the final show, and even my wedding reception. I would have loved to join this celebration. I wish I could have been there.

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Dalai Lama wins Templeton Prize for work on science, religion

Chris Herlinger

Photo of the Dalai Lama by Tracy Simmons

The Dalai Lama is best known for his commitment to Tibetan autonomy from China and his message of spirituality, nonviolence and peace that has made him a best-selling author and a speaker who can pack entire arenas.

But somewhat under the radar screen, the Tibetan Buddhist leader and Nobel Prize laureate has also had an abiding interest in the intersection of science and religion.

That interest won Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the 2012 Templeton Prize on Thursday (March 29), a $1.7 million award that is often described as the most prestigious award in religion.

The Dalai Lama is the highest-profile winner of an award that in recent years had been given to physicists and theologians not well known to the general public, but earlier had been given to the likes of evangelist Billy Graham and the late Mother Teresa.

“With an increasing reliance on technological advances to solve the world’s problems, humanity also seeks the reassurance that only a spiritual quest can answer,” said John M. Templeton, Jr., the president and chairman of the Pennsylvania-based John Templeton Foundation and the son of Sir John Templeton, who founded the prize in 1972.

“The Dalai Lama offers a universal voice of compassion underpinned by a love and respect for spiritually relevant scientific research that centers on every single human being.”

For his part, the Dalai Lama, in a video statement released during a live webcast announcing the prize, struck a modest note. He said he was nothing more than “a simple Buddhist monk,” despite the 2012 Templeton or his 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Templeton honor, he said, was “another sign of recognition about my little service to humanity, mainly, nonviolence and unity around different religious traditions.”

The Templeton Foundation noted that the Dalai Lama has long had an interest in a variety of scientific subjects, including astrophysics, behavioral science, neurobiology and quantum mechanics.

As one example, the Dalai Lama helped initiate a “Science for Monks” program, based at Buddhist monasteries in India. The program hosts Indian and Western scientists who wish to explore possible connections and overlaps between science and Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

In turn, the program also provides education in scientific inquiry to monks interested in biology, chemistry, cosmology, mathematics, physics and quantum mechanics.

In its announcement, the foundation noted “the rigorous commitment of Buddhists to meditative investment and reflection similarly follows the strict rules of investigation, proof and evidence required of science.”

But the Dalai Lama also has been involved in many academic conferences on science and religion. Some of these have resulted in best-selling books like “The Art of Happiness,” “The Universe in a Single Atom,” and “The Dalai Lama at MIT.”

Aside from the “Science for Monks” program, the foundation noted that the Dalai Lama co-founded the Colorado-based Mind & Life Institute in 1987, dedicated to “collaborative research” between science and Buddhism.

Among other things, the institute hosts conferences focusing on contemplative science, consciousness and death, and destructive and healing emotions.

Another institution formed with the Dalai Lama’s collaboration is Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

In his recommendation to the awards committee, Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote: “More than any other living human being, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has served humanity to catalyze the advancement of ‘spiritual progress’ and to help us all to cultivate a better understanding of the spiritual dimensions of human experience.”

The Templeton Prize — the world’s largest annual monetary award given to a single individual — will be presented to the Dalai Lama at a May 14 ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The Dalai Lama becomes the second Templeton Prize laureate who has also won the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa won the first Templeton, in 1973. Six years later, she received the Nobel Peace Prize.

VIEWPOINTS: Who do you think is the most influential religious leader and why?

By Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com

The Barna Group released a study in November showing that most Americans (41 percent) couldn’t think of anyone to name as the most influential Christian leader.

Those who could think of someone said Billy Graham (19 percent), followed by Pope Benedict XVI (9 percent) and then Barack Obama (8 percent).

Religion reporter Jeffrey Sheler said globally, the most well-known religious leaders are the pope and the Dalai Lama. Next, he said, is Rick Warren.

We asked SpokaneFAVS panelists what they thought.

Who do you think is the most influential religious leader and why?

Lace Williams-Tinajero

Martin Luther (1483–1546) stands out as the most influential religious leader, and with the help of the Gutenberg Press, he was able to reach a wide audience with his teachings. Things changed dramatically for the church and believers because of this 16th century reformer.

Nailing his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany (1517) was Luther’s groundbreaking stand against the abuses of papal authority of his day (e.g., selling indulgences). More stands would come. In 1521, at the Diet of Worms, Luther refused to recant his writings, a stand that put his life in jeopardy. Using his linguistic skills, Luther was able to get translated copies of the Bible into the hands of ordinary people.

The Bondage of the Will” remains one of Luther’s most influential theological works. In it, he attacks the notion of free will. He argues that the human will, apart from God, is bent on evil, not good. Out of his personal struggle with guilt and striving to please God, Luther advocated for the unparalleled gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of being justified by grace through faith rather than by one’s efforts. Sola gratia (grace alone), sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), and sola fide (faith alone) will forever be the hallmarks of Luther’s life-changing theology.

Lace Williams-Tinajero

Rev. Bill Ellis

This is a very tough one because I don’t quite know how to understand the term “influential.”

So often religious insight gets distorted by subsequent generations into something that simply vindicates the perspective the followers would take on life and the world anyway without the work of the religious teachings they follow. So the question to me is not who has the biggest religion, or who had the most temporal success in his or her own lifetime, but rather, who got people, either by accident or design, to understand themselves and the world entirely differently than they otherwise would have, and where is this influence still alive?

By that criterion, I have to say either Gautama or Jesus; Gautama more by his teaching, Jesus more by the manner of his death in the context of the life he lived.  Gautama developed a path, a way, rooted in what he called noble truths.  That path is still travelled by a lot of people and when followed faithfully,  leads people into a life that is completely counter-cultural, a life of nonviolence, a life of reverence for the earth even as it fosters a certain kind of detachment from it.

Jesus left no writings of his own. The gospels notwithstanding, it is impossible to be sure of anything he said or did. Yet, his death had an electrifying effect on his followers.  Normally when your leader is murdered you either scatter in fear or swear revenge on the perpetrators. Jesus’ followers, under his influence, did neither. Instead they went out and proclaimed God’s all inclusive love and acceptance of the very people who killed him. Now that is weird, that is earth shaking. The first Christians were completely transformed by the death of Jesus into people who deeply understood the nature of unconditional love, and because of their association with Jesus declared this was the deepest meaning of the life and death of their leader, and the revelation of the true nature of God.  Now this message was later distorted horribly, but we have in the writings of Paul and others a critique of that distortion that keeps bringing us back to their own insistence on the true meaning of Jesus’ life and death.

In every generation some people get it, and keep that remarkable meaning alive.   So, I am inclined to say Jesus by his death in the context of his life, Gautama by his teachings, as the most influential religious leaders of all time, for they are the ones who turned the world upside down, even though ever since their followers have been busy trying to turn the world right-side up again.

Rev. Bill Ellis

Daya Goldschlag

I think one of the most compassionate of teachers in the world today is the Dalai Lama.  He is a great example of how not to return anger and violence with more of the same. He includes all beings in his prayers and keeps a sense of humor while aware and sympathetic to all the suffering in the world. If only government leaders around the world  would take some guidance from his words and presence.

 Daya Goldschlag

Pastor Eric Blauer

I’m not sure if I can answer this question for Christendom or the world. But for me, besides Jesus Christ, it would be Hannah Whitall Smith and Jean Guyon.

Both writers resuscitated my spiritual walk post-Pentecostalism. I was running on the fumes of religious externalism and was finding faith rooted in self effort is a poor source for spiritual fruit.

These ladies opened to me the world of a gospel of union with Christ within me vs a works based spirituality that found its sustainability in my own emotions, re-dedications, events, services or good works.

I’m forever grateful to these women of the past, for being shown the interior way of following Jesus.

Pastor Eric Blauer

Ernesto Tinajero

The most influential religious leader is a very tough question and at the same time easy for a Christian.

Jesus would be the most obvious answer for Christians. The older form of historical dating, A.D and B.C, belay how important he was in that his birth marks change from ancient to modern. Even the recent update to historical dating using Common Era (C.E) and Before the Common Era (B.C.E) still have Jesus as the point.

Muslims, Jews, atheists, Buddhists or anyone other believer or non-believer,have to venture an opinion about the man. This is both from the pervasive influence of his followers and the fact even other faiths have official stance on the nature of Jesus (Islam still views Jesus as a prophet, some branches of Hindu view Jesus as another incarnation of Krishna and so on).

Our common carpenter from Nazareth seems to be everywhere 2,000 years later. Again, most people have various opinions as to who he was: he was God incarnate; he was a failed revolutionary; he was made up by the early church to control people; he was a code name for a drug; he was a prophet; he was a crazy man; he is an atonement for our sins; he was an Egyptian magician; he is one of the three-part Holy Trinity. I’ve read a full third of all humans alive report to follow Jesus, making his followers the largest faith in the world.

My own experience with Jesus, real and in my daily life, makes me aware of the central mystery as to who Jesus is. My faith in him has gone through an ever evolving transformation. My hearing what others say about Jesus has both deepened my faith and left me confused as some views simply make no sense. Those who claim he never existed and was simply a prop for the early church make no sense to me no matter how much I try to understand them.

The more I try to contain Jesus on a cross of history, a cross of theology, or a cross of sociology the more elusive Jesus becomes. He rises off any cross I attempt to put him on. But, the more I engage him in my person time or hang out with him, the more real he becomes. More real than even my own self.

Ernesto Tinajero

Rev. Alan Eschenbacher

I didn’t think this would be such a hard question.  My mind started wandering from sheer numbers of followers — Jesus and Mohammed both have lots of followers, as do many eastern religion leaders.

Within the Christian faith, Constantine had great influence on the future of Christianity but wasn’t, I don’t think, a religious leader. Luther gets credit for kicking off the reformation. Calvin, Zwingli and Wesley were great leaders in subsequent years.

There have been good Popes and bad over the years, both could be considered “influential.”

I will have to go with Martin Luther. Not just because I am a Lutheran, though I suppose that’s a factor since I did study him a bunch. I choose him because of the reformation, the fighting against the evils of the papacy at the time, the courage to stand in face of death, to translate a bible into common language so everyone could read for themselves about the grace and forgiveness he found in its pages and to insist that this was the greatest message the bible has to offer and the greatest message Christianity has to offer the world. Luther did have his moments, both of brilliance and folly. His, later in life, rants and venom for the Jews were unfortunate and assure me all of us sin and fall short of God’s glory. There is much in Luther’s writings that I have yet to discover, that which I have already found leads me to hold him up there with the greatest most influential leaders of religion given the good and bad things that happened in the wake of the reformation.

Rev. Alan Eschenbacher

Bruce Meyer

As far as Western Christianity goes, I think it’s hard to come up with a leader more influential than Augustine (354-430 CE). In the early part of his life, Augustine was a teacher of Greek philosophy. He had a conversion to Christianity and became one of the most important fathers of the Christian church, both Catholic and Protestant. His influence over almost every aspect of Western civilization, whether religious or secular, is difficult to overstate.

For me, however, Augustine’s impact was in his writings on religion and science, or what he called faith and reason. As both a Greek philosopher and a church father, Augustine argued for one truth but two means to knowledge: the book of nature and the book of Scripture. He described a bird with two wings, reason and faith.  Today we have a rise of fundamentalism, religious on one side and scientific on the other. Christian fundamentalists seek truth only from the Bible and reject science, while scientific fundamentalists believe all questions will one day be solved by science, denouncing religion as irrational. Augustine said otherwise. Both are indispensable to humanity.

Bruce Meyer

Pearce Fujiura

Wow, what a complicated question! There are a million ways to interpret this question. Who is/was the most influential religious leader globally? In my life? In my religion? Most of the world is Christian (approximately 2.2 billion Christians worldwide) making Jesus my shoe-in vote for the most influential religious leader in the world.

However that answer is a little too generic and impersonal for this blog. I believe that the most influential Buddhist leader globally is likely to be the Dalai Lama. In the western world, I believe that Thich Nhat Hanh is rapidly becoming the guiding light of western Buddhist. Many of the Buddhist ideals that the western world is exposed to are from the Zen tradition and Thich Nhat Hanh is the most prolific and articulate Zen Buddhist in the world. Thich Nhat Hanh has influenced millions of people in his lifetime, his books and his teachings focus on the fundamentals of Zen Buddhism that people of many different faiths can relate to. He is an activist for peace, interfaith communication, and non-violent conflict resolution.

His book, “Living Buddha, Living Christ”, is in my opinion, one of the best publications about harmony between Christianity and Buddhism. I find myself trying to follow his lead quite often, attempting to improve the lives of those around me through Buddhism without changing their religious beliefs. I believe that enlightenment is not just for the Buddhists of the world, it is for everyone.

He has taught me that I can share the roadmap to enlightenment with Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike and doing so can bring more joy and peace to the world. Thich Nhat Hanh now resides in a monastery in France where he practices Zen Buddhism and leads thousands of practitioners and pilgrims from around the world seeking spiritual guidance. While I do not believe or follow all of his practices I admire his message and his gift for delivering that message to people of all cultures and faiths.

– Pearce Fujiura

Do you have a question for the SpokaneFAVS panelists? Email it to tracy.simmons@religionnews.com

Colville churches repent for their sins

By Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com

COLVILLE — On Sunday two Colville congregations came together to profess that they, as part of the common Christian church, have at times been destructive.

“…We confess that we have sinned in communal ways in accepting and perpetuating the prejudices and injustices that persist in our culture and our world,” more than 125 voices together recited at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Two Colville congregations worshiped together on the first Sunday of Lent/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

St. Paul Lutheran and 1st Congregational UCC churches are journeying through Lent together, apologizing for the sins of the Christian church. Rev. Eric Ohrtman, rector of St. Paul, explained that the congregations will repent for how they’ve harmed everyone from the Native Americans hundreds of years ago, to today’s gay and lesbian community, to the times the church has been silent when it should have been a prophetic voice.

Rev. Jim CastroLang, of 1st Congregational, said the confessions are a step toward restoring the church “to its wholeness,” particularly as Christians recognize their iniquities and begin to live more consciously.

Rev. Michael Denton, conference minister for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ and Bishop Martin Wells, of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, helped the congregations begin their journey by delivering a sermon together on Sunday (which was the first Sunday of Lent).

Rev. Mike Denton speaks in Colville/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

“Institutions are one of the ways human beings help organize themselves. As such, they can also be one of the ways we express some of our worst characteristics and behaviors as well as one of the ways we benefit from the harmful acts of others. Institutions can be used as walls and weapons as well as a tool to help rationalize some actions, that when it comes down to it, can only be described as sins,” Denton said. “It takes honest, faithful conversations just like this to change the world.”

Both Wells and Denton urged the congregations to own and confess the sins they may not have been directly involved in — like slavery — noting all Christians are a part of the body of Christ.

Two Colville congregations come together during Lent/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

“I’m anxious for you because I think the work you have in front of you during this Lenten period of confession is difficult.  You are going to be leading the larger church into a territory that we usually avoid,” Wells said. “I’m wonderfully stimulated and grateful to you and I’m eager to know how it goes for you, I’m eager to learn from you and from these good pastors who will lead you.”

St. Paul and 1st Congregational are the only two churches in the area that have teamed up, as separate denominations, to spend Lent together.

Ohrtman explained the congregations will explore a different sin each Sunday during Lent.

View a photo gallery of the communal service here.

What sins do you think the church needs to confess?

Catching up with Jimmy Carter

By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service

Former president Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. RNS file photo by Mike Kittrell.

Jimmy Carter was president for four years, but his new book is based on a role that he’s held for nearly 70 years: Sunday school teacher.

    “Through the Year with Jimmy Carter: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President,” offers advice for Christians and provides insights into his life as president, submarine officer, missionary and husband.
    Carter, 87, answered questions about prayer, death and relating to non-Christians. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
    Q: Is this a devotional written by a Baptist who happens to have been president, or by a president who happens to be a Baptist?
    A: It’s by a Baptist who happens to be a president. It’s a summary of 45-minute lessons, each one reduced to one page.
    Q: The lessons published in this book include some you taught during your presidency. Did you have a different approach — or subjects you didn’t touch — when you were leading the country?
    A: No, I didn’t have a different subject. What I try to do each Sunday is begin my lesson for about 10 or 15 minutes discussing current events, the recent experiences that I have had or where I’m going next week. And then seeing how that applies to biblical principles, basic moral values that apply to every human life.
    Q: You talk openly about parts of your personal life, such as disagreements with your wife, or selfishness. Do you think that helped your classes relate to you more as a fellow Christian than a former president?
    A: I think it does. I know that everybody in the audience has similar personal relationships at one time in their life. And so I try to apply what has happened to me and how I withstood those challenges in my own life in a way that might be applicable to other people’s lives.
    Q: You also admitted that it’s sometimes hard for you to pray. Why is that?
    A: Sometimes I feel a little bit estranged from religious factors or from God.
    One time that I remember specifically: I ran for governor the first time and I was a moderate on the race issue. I wanted to see an end of segregation in the South and my main opponent was an arch segregationist in Georgia, Lester Maddox. And eventually he won the election and I lost so I kind of gave up on God and on my faith.
    But I had a very famous evangelical sister, Ruth Carter Stapleton. She ministered to me and pointed out to me that when we faced a serious loss or sorrow or disappointment in our life, or failure, that that should strengthen us, give us patience and actually improve our ties with God because we can’t solve our problems on our own.
    Q: You say Christians need to share their relationship with Christ with the world. What if you approach uninterested non-Christians?
    A: If they say “I’m not interested,” I’m reluctant to push it. It depends on the circumstances. But quite often I find that non-Christians are interested in the basic elements of Christianity. I’ve had national leaders, presidents of countries when I was in office — the communist leader of Poland, the dictator of South Korea at the time — who actually asked me about my Christian faith and I ministered to them.
    Q: You quote Jesus speaking about hope in eternal life. Do you ever fear death?
    A: No, I don’t fear death. I’m not looking forward to dying. I’d like to live as long as I can in a healthy and productive way, but I don’t have any fear of death.
    Q: Is there one particular issue of injustice you think deserves special attention?
    A: The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. That’s the biggest need that’s not been met yet in the world, and the biggest challenge that we have.
    Q: How much longer do you expect to teach Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church?
    A: We have a very small church. We only have about 30 members that come every Sunday. But we have anywhere from 100 to 800 visitors who come to our little church just to hear me teach. That’s a special ministry that we have. So I’ll teach as long as I’m physically and mentally able and as long as the church wants me to continue.
    Q: You’ve taught the Bible for decades. Are there still some lessons to be learned?
    A:  Sure, there are. My wife and I read the Bible every night just before we go to bed. One night she reads it aloud and the next night I read it aloud. We actually do it in Spanish so we can learn more about Spanish language. You get different inspiration or ideas from the Bible as you read it a second time or a third time or, sometimes, a 10th time.

Welcoming the stranger

Blogger Mark Kadel

Today we will examine the Christian church’s compassionate and informed role as we “Welcome the Stranger” to our land.

How is the issue of immigration affecting the church?
Demographers tell us that immigrant churches are the fastest growing segment of evangelical churches in the U.S. In fact, some researchers predict the immigrant and ethnic church will be the largest evangelical body of believers in the U.S. by 2025.  Increasingly, when we talk disparagingly about “those people,” we are talking about ourselves because the Church is one body of which each of us is an interdependent part. When one part suffers, as many undocumented brothers and sisters do, every part suffers (1 Cor 12:12-26).

What should our church do?
I suggest several steps:

  • Prayer — for wisdom as your church engages with this issue, for immigrants in your community, and for your political leaders
  • Listening — to immigrant brothers and sisters’ experiences, as well as to what the Bible has to teach us about how to interact with the foreign-born.
  • Education — help others in your congregation to understand the issue. Some churches have dedicated a sermon or Sunday school class to the topic, or created opportunities for interaction between immigrants and non-immigrants within the church
  • Advocacy — your legislators need to hear the moral voice of churches and their leaders. Some churches have created or signed a statement in support of immigration reform. Others have visited, written to, or called their legislators to share their opinion.  Most white evangelicals regret the way that, for the most part, we sat out on the Civil Rights Movement, leaving our African-American brothers and sisters on their own as they struggled for what we now readily affirm was biblically-mandated justice.  This time around, we have the chance to stand with our Latino, Asian, Mid-Eastern and African brothers and sisters as they struggle to start their lives over again in a country that prides itself in being a land of opportunity.
  • Evangelism — While many immigrants bring a vibrant faith with them, others will encounter the transformative message of the gospel for the first time in the U.S.  Immigration provides a missional opportunity to make disciples of all nations—right on our doorstep.
  • Invite a Speaker — World Relief would be happy to send a speaker to your church, Sunday school, cell or growth group, women’s or men’s meeting, or a mission club to talk about immigration issues and the biblical response.
  • Become involved — World Relief Spokane has a volunteer program that provides cultural orientation, training and tools to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable.  If this message pricks your heart a little, makes you think you should maybe be a little more neighborly, or just excites you with possibilities, check out our website at http://worldreliefspokane.org   nd click on the “Get Involved” tab for a list of ways you can become an advocate for the vulnerable.

Thank you again for looking into the issue of immigration with me these past four weeks.  I realize there is much, much more on this subject that we could explore and many more scriptures that talk about welcoming the stranger and a lot more angles of looking at immigration that I have not touched on in these four posts.  I welcome comments, opinions and different viewpoints so please comment on this post or email me at mkadel@wr.org.

Survey names Whitworth as a top Christian workplace

Contributed Article

Whitworth University photo

Making a difference, using their gifts, authentic leaders, fun colleagues and changing the world are all reasons employees like working with these dream workplaces. Meet the organizations that have most recently qualified as Best Christian Workplaces by obtaining a high score in the anonymous BCW employee engagement survey.

The BCW survey has been conducted in the United States and Canada for the past 10 years and made its debut in Australia last year — surveying over 100,000 employees to date. Each participating organization has a stated Christian mission and/or values.

The 2012 Best Christian Workplaces in the United States include:

American Bible Society — New York, NY

Apartment Life — Hurst, TX

Ben Lippen — Columbia, SC

Briarcrest Christian School — Nashville, TN

CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach) — Pittsburgh, PA

Church Web Works — Renton, WA

English Language Institute/China — Ft. Collins, CO

Free Will Baptist Bible College — Nashville, TN

Heritage Christian Academy — Overland Park, KS

Joni & Friends — Agoura Hills, CA

KSBJ — Humble, TX

Lake Ann Camp — Lake Ann, MI

MOPS International — Colorado Springs, CO

Olivet Nazarene University — Bourbonnais, IL

Phoenix Seminary — Phoenix, AZ

Samaritan Ministries — Peoria, IL

Santa Fe Christian Schools — Solana Beach, CA

SpringHill Camps — Evart, MI

Upward Sports — Spartanburg, SC

Wheaton Academy — West Chicago, IL

Whitworth University — Spokane, WA

World Harvest Mission — Jenkintown,PA

Al Lopus, President of BCWI notes, “We salute this year’s Best Christian Workplaces for doing far more than just surviving despite the challenging economy. These organizations set the bar in terms of employee engagement and serve as an inspiration for all. While overall survey trends indicate employee engagement is struggling to recover from the shock of the financial recession, these leaders recognize the importance of nurturing healthy organizational cultures to better achieve their vision. They understand that healthy organizations are fruitful.”

To earn the distinction as a Best Christian Workplace, organizations participate in the Best Christian Workplace Institute’s employee engagement survey and meet predetermined standards of excellence. The survey covers issues such as: job satisfaction, commitment, Christian witness, supervisory effectiveness, work satisfaction, personal growth and development, management effectiveness, customer/supporter satisfaction, teamwork, communications and pay and benefits. Employees confidentially respond to more than 50 questions addressing these topics.