In the introduction (p. xv) of my recently published book, Trading with God, I write about hearing Ken Costa, an internationally renowned UK banker, preach at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) church in central London. His book, God at Work, was my introduction to the faith and work movement. Ken is both a business and Christian leader who proves that one can successfully integrate their spiritual life into the workplace.
In Ken Costa’s second book Know Your Why: Finding and Fulfilling Your Calling in Life (W Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, 2016), he discusses Christian calling. The foreword is written by Rick Warren who states: “the world’s system will encourage us to strive on our own and become the masters of our own fates. Yet what I have seen over and over again is that you can be the most talented person, have the best connections with influential people, have plenty of money at your disposal, and still not be effective or fulfilled. … When we allow God to be the source of our decisions in life, we have found the basis of our callings.”(p. xvii)
Ken works in the fast-pace, risky, and jet-setting profession of investment banking. Crushing project deadlines and brutal competition are a normal part of this vocation. Yet, Ken has been successful at his area of competency while staying married, raising four children, and serving as a Christian leader. He views his vocation from God’s perspective: “We are called into the workplace to transform the workplace. To bring a little slice of God’s divine, transforming goodness. To be salt and light in the way we work.”(p. 33)
A calling is blending our chosen vocation with a sense of “purpose, a direction. … When we are flowing with the Spirit, we are cooperating fully in our God-given callings. We are operating in that grace-zone where everything we do seems to come naturally.”(p. 43) Christians are led by the Holy Spirit to where God is already at work. This is missional work: it is about being sent externally and transforming culture. “It is the Spirit who makes our callings known, who gives us confidence, and who empowers us to break down the barriers that impede our way. Apart from the Spirit, our lives remain empty.”(p. 194)
Ken Costa’s work is missional. I spent over 50 years as an active church member but had never heard a businessperson preach or write about faith and work. His books and life motivated me to seek an answer to the question: Is the Christian faith relevant in the workplace, and if so, how? Seeing Ken actively integrate his Christian faith and work surrounded by workers of all faiths, beliefs (or not), shows that faith and work integration can be achieved. We are called to faith first by the Holy Spirit, then we are called to follow the Spirit in our work. The call to vocation enables our God-given competencies to uplift our community, which takes our world a step closer to the new creation. It is leaders like Ken Costa who are transforming our workplace.