Like most telecom agents, Jim Butler has decades of industry experience and sales success, including nine years as a top salesman with a regional long-distance company in Southern California along with serving as a founding member of the Agent Alliance. And like most entrepreneurs, he works long hours as founder and president of agency TeleCHOICE to forge new client relationships and act as an effective customer liaison to service providers a role he has cultivated over the past decade. Last October, Jim answered a higher calling. He moved from Newcastle, Calif., to Orlando, Fla., to start Discovery at Work, a Work Life ministry at Discovery Church.
The premise of Discovery at Work is to connect two major life areas: work and faith. Our goal is to blend the true mission of our Christian hearts Gods promise of Eternal Life with the true value we contribute in the workplace a 40-plus-hour week in our chosen field of employment, Jim explains. The Work Life ministry equips believers with the tools they need to share their faith with their coworkers and integrate biblical wisdom in their work.
The initiative is a byproduct of Jims six-year relationship with the senior pastor of Discovery Church, whom he met when the pastor consulted with Jim and the other members of the leadership team of three new Northern California churches.
Over a number of years, our interests combined to put together an initiative that would equip and affirm those who have a work life, Jim says.
Jim speaks at a Work Life gathering.
While Jim moved to Orlando to become Discovery Churchs Work Life pastor, he maintains his day job in the telecom industry in keeping with the spirit of the new program.
It inspires us to reach out to our fellow employees in a way that demonstrates community and care, Jim says. It helps us be more spiritual at work so that we build meaningful relationships and foster productive faith dialogue.
Discovery at Work also is launching Entrepreneurial Roundtable, a community of Christian business owners that provides a forum for networking with like-minded professionals and gaining knowledge and coaching that will help members build and maintain their work and spiritual lives.
As with his tenured telecom career, Jim has a long history in Christian ministry. He previously served as a coordinator of childrens ministries, a pastor of youth ministries, a college-age minister, an assistant pastor and an elder of a local church. His new role, he says, is the most fulfilling.
As a bi-vocational pastor, my calling is to bridge the spiritual gap between what Sunday typically means to Christians of all denominations, and what we typically think of as our work life, Jim explains. In other words, we assist others in engaging their Christian values and beliefs in the workplace.
Jim says initial response to the ministry has been positive as participants learn to find greater meaning and fulfillment from their work. They are changing their perceptions of work by trying to view it through a biblical viewpoint, which has an effect on their attitudes, he says.
First job: Dishwasher at the Red Lobster in St. Louis at age 16. Jim says that for six months, every day, I stank like rotten fish, which kept all the girls away. Through that experience, I learned what job I didnt want for the rest of my life; thats for sure!
Family values: Jim has been married for 30 years and has two sons. Furthermore, he and his wife are very active in philanthropy and they support five college kids in Ecuador through an organization called Compassion International.
Biggest fear: Dancing in public. Jim took a ballroom dancing class to surprise his wife and then took her to a club to show off what hed learned. We lasted about two minutes, Jim says, before she notified me that she appreciated the gesture but I didnt have rhythm.
Words to live by: Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways ask Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
|Agent Alliance www.agentalliance.net
Compassion International www.compassion.com
Discovery at Work www.discoveryatwork.org
Discovery Church www.discoverychurch.org