Lines between work, life, and faith appear to be blurring more than ever as new books from religion publishers mix biblical principles with professional development and other topics related to business. Several titles publishing this year are aimed at Christian readers, and at others who are interested in improving their personal and professional lives.
“Many faith readers spend the majority of their week immersed in their occupations,” says Andrew Stoddard, acquisitions editor for WaterBrook and Multnomah. “Having practical ways to integrate belief, calling, and purpose into that space is crucial and freeing.”
Embracing the intersection between faith and the workplace, WaterBrook is publishing The Life Giving Leader: Learning to Lead from Your Truest Self by Tyler Reagin in September. Reagin, president of Catalyst, a leadership development organization for church leaders, speaks to the attributes and practices of a “life-giving leader”—a leader who “restore[s] hope and life” to those around him, as he writes in the book. He also details how such a leader can benefit Christian organizations in particular, though Christian leaders in all organizations can learn from the list of characteristics of life-giving leaders, who personify self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-confidence, humility, and physical health.
“There are leadership best practices, and Tyler unpacks many of those,” Stoddard says. “But a leader can only function at highest capacity when working from who they were uniquely created to be. This is a broadly applicable, but desperately needed message in The Life-Giving Leader.” The book has an initial print run of 30,000 copies and will be published just before Catalyst’s 2018 conference in Atlanta on October 4, which in years past has attracted thousands of people.
Love Thy Business Partners
According to Shaun Tabbatt, marketing manager for Bethany House, workplaces are increasingly welcoming faith-based perspectives on management styles, while churches are looking to business for guidance on issues related to combatting reduced church attendance. “There is definitely a movement to bring together best practices of leadership and organizational structure into church and ministry,” he says. “When it comes to business structures outside the church, there is a felt need for honor and solid Christian principles. What business doesn’t need leaders walking in honor and integrity and putting people ahead of making money?”
Bethany House is releasing two business-related books this year: Rooting for Rivals: How Collaboration and Generosity Increase the Impact of Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer and Chris Horst (out now) and The Hospitable Leader: Create Environments Where People and Dreams Flourish by Terry A. Smith (Oct.). Greer, president and CEO of Hope International, a global micro-enterprise development organization, and Horst, v-p of development at Hope International, argue for the importance of encouraging one’s colleagues in the workplace. In the book, the authors urge readers to “see themselves as part of a much bigger team pursuing a much bigger mission.” Further, the pair draws on the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues as a framework to help organizations change their vision from a prideful sense ownership to one that includes success even for competitors.
The Hospitable Leader urges readers to blend qualities of leadership and hospitality, such as cultivating hospitable environments in order to foster effective communication, that can, as Smith writes, “create a climate of invitation and welcome that allows all kinds of people to work together in unity to heal the brokenness that is all around us.” Marketing for The Hospitable Leader includes an outreach program targeting congregants via a sermon series as well as church leaders via additional resources based on the book.
Coming from IVP in September, The Minority Experience: Navigating Emotional and Organizational Realities by Adrian Pei is aimed at readers “looking to understand the deeper realities of what it means to be a minority,” writes the author, an organizational consultant, in the introduction.
Al Hsu, senior editor for IVP, says the book fits with others from the press on race, ethnicity, and justice issues, as well as with what he calls a “mini trend” of people merging their work, home, and religious lives. “People are much more holistic today, recognizing that having faith resources helps them in their work, too,” he says. “Pei offers practical best practices for understanding each other, recognizing power differentials, and making space for minorities.”
The Minority Experience, which has a 5,000-copy initial printing, examines work environments from the perspective of people in ethnic, religious, or cultural minorities. “Pain, power, and the past—they’re not a burden that has to weaken us,” Pei writes in the book. “They are an incredible gift that will stretch our hearts with more capacity for love and understanding than we ever knew we could have. That is the gift of the minority experience.”
Leading by Example
In a crowded business books market, religion publishers are setting themselves apart by acquiring titles that draw on specific examples from the lives of faith leaders.
In October, Broadstreet Publishing will release Business by Design: Applying God’s Wisdom for True Success by Raymond Harris, founder of a nationwide architectural firm. The book uses the life of Jesus to demonstrate the virtues of compassion, diligence, and generosity—virtues that Harris says can help readers change their professional lives and become more effective at work.
Another book blending spirituality with professional management, Moral Leadership for a Divided Age: 14 People Who Dared to Change Our World by David P. Gushee and Colin Holtz (Brazos, Oct.), offers a look at leadership through role models such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, whose lives left a lasting impact on the world. For Bob Hosack, executive acquisitions editor for Brazos, the book is an antidote to today’s climate of disagreement and confusion. “This idea of a moral leader is not just [based on] principles, but whole-life leadership,” he says. “These people have specific gifts and ways of communicating that are relevant to readers today.”
Moral Leadership for a Divided Age features real-world examples of each subject’s life-long leadership. For example, the authors highlight Mother Teresa, whose name, they write, “became synonymous with selfless charity.” Elie Wiesel also appears in the book as “a defender of the Jewish people, advocate for human rights, and a fierce enemy of indifference to evil.”
Ahead of working on Moral Leadership for a Divided Age, Jim Kinney, executive v-p of academic publishing for Baker Publishing Group (which includes Brazos), noticed a growing need for business books from a Christian perspective. “Interest in questions of morality and ethics in business, work, and leadership has increased over the past decade,” he says. “Christian scholars who have thought deeply about those issues have much to contribute to those conversations. And helping our readers understand how Christianity interfaces with their workaday lives is just one more way we can serve them.”
Jobs for Mind, Body, and Soul
Baker Publishing Group’s Revell imprint is publishing two books on faith as a means of shaping a strong business mind-set: Shift Your Thinking for Success: 77 Ways to Win at Work and in Life by Dean Del Sesto (out now), and Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive by Jessica N. Turner (Sept.). Writing specifically to professional women with children, Turner draws on personal experience to provide a faith-based guide to managing work and home responsibilities, balancing self-care with deep friendships and marriage, and establishing clear work-life boundaries.
In Shift Your Thinking for Success, communications and branding expert Del Sesto offers short reflections to help shift readers’ thought patterns when it comes to success in business as well as in relationships. “Relationships are the heartbeat of business,” he writes. “They grow the company, profit the bottom line, and assure the brand equity of both the business and the individual. A single relational breakdown can make or break a career or a business.”
Baker Books executive editor Brian Thomasson is focused “deliberately on acquiring business books with heart,” he says. “We see business books as a trend, and increasingly, wise and insightful Christian business leaders feel comfortable speaking into the business space.”
Thomasson notes that Baker Books already has several business-related books in the marketplace, such as Jordan Raynor’s Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk, and the press plans to release another 10–15 titles in the category over the next few years. “We’re finding that a lot of agencies are sending us [manuscripts] and our sales teams are finding that these books are selling,” Thomasson adds.
This month Baker Books released a title on cooperation in the workplace: High-Impact Teams: Where Healthy Meets High Performance by Lance Witt. A former executive/teaching pastor at California megachurch Saddleback and the founder of Replenish Ministries, Witt, in the book, offers a primer on partnerships and healthy team maintenance.
“When our team is aligned and everyone is pulling in the same direction, we can make significant progress toward the vision God has given us,” Witt writes in High-Impact Teams, which is geared toward churches and Christian organizations in particular. With an initial print run of 20,000 copies, marketing and publicity for the book will include advertising in Christian print, radio, television, and online outlets.
Meanwhile, Soul Force: Seven Pivots Toward Courage, Community, and Change by Reesheda Graham-Washington and Shawn Casselberry (Herald, out now) is based on Mahatma Ghandi’s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideas of love characterized by emotional strength. In the book, Graham-Washington and Casselberry, both leaders in the nonprofit sector, offer seven “pivots,” or small changes, that can bring “soul force” to individuals and communities, including moving from consuming to creating community and from self-centeredness to solidarity. The book will be advertised in Mennonite and Anabaptist communities, and to other Christians, with the authors speaking at Christian Community Development Association events, including the annual conference in November.
Herald Press acquisitions editor Valerie Weaver-Zercher says Soul Force is a natural fit for the publisher. “The way the authors combine issues of social justice with leadership in the nonprofit and business worlds is a unique blend of the domains,” she adds.
Weaver-Zercher says that she believes Christian publishers should be at the forefront of a movement to combine business development with faith practices. “I think more businesses are articulating the triple bottom line: success by profit, people, and planet,” she notes. “As businesses are looking at that, Christian publishers would be smart to publish in that realm. We are well served to think about the intersection of faith and business in creative and compassionate ways.”
In January 2019, Salem Books, Regnery’s religion books imprint, will publish Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith by David Goetsch, a corporate trainer. The book is a guide to helping Christians succeed in secular workplaces. Salem Books’ associate publisher Tim Peterson compared Goetsch’s book to Loving Monday: Succeeding in Business Without Selling Your Soul by John Beckett.
“Religion publishers have a long history of publishing books to help readers live out their faith and contribute successfully in the marketplace, and we believe David Goetsch is a current thought leader for evangelical Christians on this topic,” Peterson says. “Goetsch’s book fulfills our mission of providing resources that enrich the lives of Christians, and we are excited about the impact it will have.”