Yesterday I blogged on the vision of The Gospel Coalition because I had just received a newsletter from them that communicated it so well.
Turns out I also recently received a newsletter from The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics (IFWE) which similarly lays out their vision extremely well. IFWE is also an excellent organization that is worth knowing about and following.
Here’s how Hugh Whelchel, executive director of IFWE, starts the newsletter:
“What does IFWE do?” is almost always the first question I am asked about our work at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics.
Whether you read our articles every day or every week, you know that we provide perspective and practical insight on the integration of faith and work through our blog.
But did you know that IFWE also has campus programs, curriculum, and more books coming this year? To highlight some of the other resources we have developed for you, we have put together this Impact Report to share our story and the stories of those men and women who have been changed by our work.
He then links to their Impact Report, which is super helpful and worth taking a look at.
One thing worth highlighting from the report is the way they lay out their aim and distinctives in the early pages. It is very simple, and here it is:
IFWE’s mission is to inspire and educate Christians to live out a biblical theology that integrates faith, work, and economics.
IFWE’s vision is a free society characterized by greater creativity and increased human flourishing.
- Freedom inspires creativity and enterprise. Freedom empowers us to thrive in our work and serve others. Freedom affirms our dignity and the dignity of others.
- Fulfillment comes when we use our God-given talents to pursue excellence in our work. Fulfillment is the mark of a life spent glorifying God, enriching others, and finding satisfaction in using our gifts as God intended.
- Flourishing is fullness of life, wholeness, and abundance. Flourishing is the natural outflow of freedom and fulfillment. When we flourish, we contribute to the fruitfulness of our communities, the thriving of our cities, and the peace and justice of our nations.
What We Do
IFWE conducts high level theological and economic research and translates it into practical resources to help Christians integrate their faith in the workplace and empower them to become better stewards of all their God-given talents and resources.
IFWE’s message is both theologically profound and extremely practical. A robust biblical view of work and economics is intensely relevant to Christians today.
Specifically, the resources IFWE produces to equip Christians include their blog, research papers on their website, videos, e-books, events, and student programs.
A few words on IFWE’s vision. First, teaching on how to integrate our faith and work as Christians is incredibly needed right now. I am so thankful that they are doing this, and doing it so well. We spend far more time at work than at church and, usually, in any other single activity. So it is crucial that we understand how this huge segment of life relates to our faith.
Second, it is absolutely essential to think of our work in connection to economics as well. This is because our work is always carried out in a larger ecosystem — the economic environment of our nation. Good economic policies contribute to the flourishing of work; bad economic policies hinder work and its ability to improve society. IFWE makes this connection and gets it, recognizing that freedom is at the heart of all good economic policy.
Third, I’m so glad that they are not afraid to use words like “fulfillment” and “flourishing.” Perhaps because of our fear of the prosperity gospel, theologically-minded evangelicals can sometimes shrink from affirming the importance of fulfillment and flourishing. We can almost be hesitant to talk about making things go well.
IFWE is careful to understand “fulfillment” and “flourishing” in holistic terms. Hence, central to their understanding of true fulfillment and flourishing is a relationship with God. True fulfillment, in other words, has God as its center. Further, when God so calls, this can co-exist with suffering and difficulty when that is the path of obedience to him.
Yet, our ultimate aim for others is not to let suffering be, but to enable people to be fulfilled and to flourish in a truly holistic sense — socially and economically as well as spiritually. This comes through a biblical understanding of work and economics, with our aim in all things being the good of others and glory of God.
Fourth, IFWE bases all that it does on sound research and evidence. They aren’t just espousing their own ideas. They are thoroughly grounded in the Scriptures and what the evidence shows to be a proper (and biblical) understanding of economics. This is what gives ideas their power — showing that they arise from sound evidence, rather than wishful thinking.