Statistically speaking, the vast majority of Christian students at UNC will enter into fields other than full-time vocational ministry upon leaving Chapel Hill. In light of this, an important question merits consideration: is living out one’s faith after graduation confined to personal quiet times, Sunday morning worship and other forms of church involvement? Or is it possible for faith to animate every sphere of one’s life, including one’s working profession?
At the NC Study Center, we believe that the answer to the latter question is a resounding yes. This conviction is the inspiration behind this semester’s 4D Community Dinner Series: a weekly gathering of UNC students, faculty and local alums to share a family-style meal and to hear from a lineup of thoughtful guest speakers reflecting on how their faith has shaped their respective vocations.
On Monday, October 17th, our dinner speakers were Davis Kuykendall (Area Director of Search Ministries in Charlotte) and Chris Boone (Owner and President of Capital Land Partners). Davis and Chris spoke to an audience of roughly 25 about embodying one’s faith in the workplace through exhibiting servant leadership, ensuring that one’s business ethics align with one’s Christian convictions, and maintaining the right priorities and work-family balance. Both men shared personal testimonies about how their faith has impacted their work. Davis spoke about his decision to once forgo a lucrative investment banking position because of concerns about the character of his potential supervisor, and about his journey from being a businessman to becoming a minister to the business community. Chris shared about the deep impression that the character of one of his former Christian bosses left on him, and about his conviction that the Christian businessperson needs to be willing to prioritize his/her faith and family over and above simply pursuing the maximum salary possible, whatever the cost.
After 20 minutes of attentive listening, students engaged with Davis and Chris by asking several thought-provoking questions: What have you personally had to sacrifice in your career because of your faith? Other than looking for opportunities to witness to co-workers, how else does faith factor into one’s work? Practically speaking, how do you keep work in its proper place and avoid it becoming an all-consuming end in and of itself?
The dinner concluded with prayer, after which several students approached Davis and Chris to continue the conversation about the relationship between faith and business. A great time was had by all; thank you again to Davis and Chris for helping us learn more about how faith can impact one’s work!