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Letter from Ed: Faith in Action – Changing Your Workplace for the Better
Pallet Enterprise founder, Ed Brindley, talks about how now is the time to change your workplace by inviting a higher power to the office. He explains how a growing group of Christian business leaders are pioneering a spiritual breakthrough in the industry. And it all starts with changing the people at the top first.
By Edward C. Brindley
Date Posted: 4/3/2017
More sales is not the secret to a better business life, living on purpose is.
And if you only remember one thing we have written in this magazine over the last 37 years, please don’t forget that truth. As I get older, the things that matter most are the friendships that I have made and the people who have been blessed by anything I have done in my work day.
For most of my life my faith in Jesus Christ has been central to my best decisions. Prayer has guided my business every step of the way, and when times were tough I always had the Lord to rely on. And a number of times I have taken small risks to share what God has done for me. And it appears that momentum is growing in the pallet industry for pallet company owners and managers to be outspoken in sharing the Gospel and caring for employees, customers and suppliers.
At the recent Annual Leaders Conference held in Arizona, more than 40 pallet company executives and managers met to discuss how to be more missional and active in sharing their faith and demonstrating it through loving acts at work. Hearing reports from the gathering that included pallet industry leaders who shared about their successes and struggles, encourages me that there may never have been a better time to be in the industry than now.
Momentum is growing for pallet industry leaders to do more than just sell pallets. Yes, that is crucial to remain in business, but so is creating a positive atmosphere to draw and retain workers, and a customer-service mindset that will set you apart. As one speaker at the recent pallet industry faith forum explained, it is one thing for Google or a high tech company with lots of money to go the extra mile to care for workers. But it is quite another thing for a “lowly” pallet company to set the standard in an area for employee engagement. And since we all have spiritual needs, it would be amazing to see the pallet industry be a key sector to lead in spiritual renewal in the workplace in this country.
Think about it, your employees spend more waking hours with you than their own families in most cases. Many workers will never darken the door of a church. But they have needs and family crisis moments. And Christians in the workplace can be a bridge and serve needs while lovingly pointing people to the Gospel as they are open to hear it. This is not about pushing religion. It is about caring for others with the realization that some of our greatest needs have answers outside of ourselves.
The recent gathering of Christian pallet industry leaders reminded me of my efforts in the past to host a Sunday sunrise style church service at the NWPCA meetings. Staring in the mid-1990s, we put on these mini services for years and heard some amazing testimonies from pallet industry leaders.
This most recent gathering focused on real-world examples of faith in action and some practical considerations on everything from using social media to legal concerns. The gathering was facilitated by James Ruder of L&R Pallet. He shared his testimony and explained how God radically changed and saved his business.
Steve Miller of Millwood talked about how to deploy a chaplaincy program across multiple sites and seek to impact workers on a personal basis even in a big company. Bryan Kestin and Paul Gaines of Madison County Wood Products explained how social media had been a useful tool to improve worker communication, prayer and spiritual encouragement. They outlined several key steps including to offer accommodations for employees who do not want to participate in religious-based communication. Also, Chaille Brindley of the Pallet Enterprise spoke on pitfalls and key insights to stay legal while sharing your faith at work. And a representative from C12 Phoenix reviewed how small groups of business leaders can inspire and encourage transformation.
Through the years, the Pallet Enterprise has had the privilege of carrying a number of articles featuring pallet companies where the Christian faith of key employees or owners impacts the culture of the business. The Enterprise began in January a new column called Kingdom Inc. that we will run offering devotional thoughts and practical action steps for running a faith-based business. A related website has been started by the leaders who recently met in Arizona called Kingdom Inc. This website contains articles, devotional thoughts, resources and links for companies wanting to investigate how to improve office culture, serve employees and integrate the Christian principles in how they run their businesses. For more information, visit www.kingdom-inc.com.
My younger son Chaille has written the next devotional thought entitled “What You Need to Succeed.” Chaille shared from a conversation he had with Tom Gardner, a Wisconsin pallet manufacturer. This column focuses on one of Chaille’s favorite topics – discipleship. I hope you will find it as challenging and enlightening as I did.
The bottom line is that we need to drop our masks and reach out towards others to really live a Christian life. I remember meeting Tom Gardner a few years ago and immediately realizing that my corps of Christian friends in the industry had grown by one more person.
The key question is how will I let my faith affect how I live and do business? What can I do that will make a difference in the life of one employee, customer or supplier today? Sometimes there is so much that needs to be done that we get overwhelmed and don’t do anything. I believe that one small act can make a huge difference when the Lord inspires it.