In May 2021, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted its inaugural networking event for Christian business professionals, Faith at Work, in an effort to equip and encourage Christian business leaders to value and utilize their work as ministry for the glory of God.
The event begain with a keynote address from James “Jim” Morgan, former CEO of Krispy Kreme. Following Morgan’s address, he and four other regional business leaders came together for a panel discussion with moderator and professor Benjamin Quinn. Quinn serves as Assistant Professor of Theology and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and has researched and written extensively on the intersection of faith, work, and economics.
Panelists included Harry Nelson, Chief Operating Officer at Eventide Asset Management, a values-based investment management firm that manages approximately $8 billion primarily through the Eventide Funds; Dee Labriola, Director of Recruiting for Turas Group, a missional faith-driven staffing agency based in Raleigh, NC; Gabe Chatham, SEBTS alumnus (MDiv in International Church Planting) and Vice President of Chathambilt Homes which recently was awarded the Southern Living Custom Home Builder of the Year; and Morgan, who along with his leadership at Krispy Kreme has more than 40 years of business experience.
Panelists discussed topics ranging from creating a healthy work culture to how to measure success as a believer in the business world.
“We cannot find our ultimate identity in work or fulfillment in work,” said Labriola. “But we can still do a lot of good and partner with our Creator God in cultivating, in creating, and in contributing to human flourishing.”
In closing, panelists also noted ways in which business can used to advance the Great Commission. Often missionaries are viewed as only those who give their lives to full-time overseas missions. However, they noted that those who are called to work stateside can leverage their careers to allow the gospel to flourish in their communities and beyond.
“One thing I’ve loved here at Southeastern is the catchphrase, ‘Every classroom is a Great Commission classroom,’” said Chatham. “I think for those of us who are believers, every workplace is a Great Commission workplace.”