For the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, creating a healthy, flourishing culture has literally become a pursuit of Olympic Game proportion in which every staff member is challenged to share the love of Christ.
Surprised, astonished, and more than a little concerned.
That’s how Dr. Bill Blocker, President of the College of Biblical Studies, felt when he tried to get his head around one bittersweet finding of the Best Christian Workplaces Institute employee engagement survey.
“I trusted the results; I just didn’t want to believe them,” said Blocker, perusing the executive summary of the third-party inventory that has helped more than 700 Christian ministries move toward creating a healthy, flourishing workplace culture.
Admits Blocker, “The survey revealed that our college, which offers Bible training and theology, needed to do a better job of getting prospective students to know about Christ. We gave wonderful campus tours, but we weren’t truly involving prospective students in the fullness of our mission, our joy and our devotion to know and serve the Lord.”
“We needed transformation. As a college committed to training the next generation of Christian leaders, thriving, not simply surviving, had to be our goal,” said Blocker.
The BCWI survey results reignited our conviction that every person can experience and evidence the love of Christ to one another—including those who were still undecided about coming here.”
The turning-point difference came in several waves. First, Blocker and his staff reemphasized the college’s four principled pillars:
- Expand Reach: Putting God’s love in the community. How do you represent Christ in your community?
- Operational Excellence: Doing the best as unto the Lord, being our best with best practices.
- Transformational Instruction: Not just a body of knowledge, but people experiencing God in the classroom and then, in turn, transforming others.
- Spiritual Accountability: How are we growing? How do we know we’re growing in Christ?
With these values in mind, every employee was challenged to put their faith into action with each prospective student. Here at BCWI, we call this Inspirational Leadership, one of our 8 Factors of a Flourishing Workplace. When leaders take an authentic, personal interest in their staff and those they serve, lives are touched and hearts are turned toward Christ.
The college invited prospects into the life of the school—through attending classes, talking with professors and students, and on-campus meals.
It was Blocker himself who revealed how a healthy culture could make a life-changing difference for an incoming student.
Her name was Nia Nicole Abdallah, whom President Blocker met in the commons—one of hundreds of individual conversations he has initiated to get to know students. Nia’s story grabbed him from the start.
Nia is a 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist, Black Belt Hall of Fame Inductee, and Taekwondo Hall of Fame Inductee. Although she came to know Christ at a very early age, Taekwondo eventually became her only focus. Nia’s silver medal win was her greatest devastation. She wanted nothing less than Gold. Nia recalls, “My world turned upside down. I lost everything that I thought made me. Somewhere in my life, God was replaced by taekwondo. God had to shake me and put me back in a place where I was totally reliant on Him.”
Nia turned back to God and began seeking His will and learning His ways. She knew she needed a biblical education and the College of Biblical Studies was her first choice. Nia’s focus is firmly back on God and she’s excited to see where He will lead her. “What I want from CBS is a deeper knowledge of God in every way. I want to know God as best I can. Whatever God decides to do with me after gaining this knowledge is up to Him. I am just trying to be used and am blessed to be considered by God as worthy.”
Every student, every employee, represents a unique opportunity all of us has to give and receive the love and compassion of Christ. And every time this happens, our culture becomes a little better, a little healthier, a little more pleasing in God’s eyes,” says Blocker.
How does your team care for one another and those you serve? How have you seen your workplace culture impact lives for Christ?