Dallas Theological Seminary
Darrell Bock, executive director of cultural engagement at the Hendricks Center
Mikel Del Rosario, cultural engagement assistant at the Hendricks Center
In 2012, Dallas Theological Seminary launched a cultural engagement initiative to help Christians develop a more holistic view of discipleship, highlighting the relevance of theology to all of life including a biblical view of faith and vocation. The Hendricks Center carries out this mission through a variety of co-curricular offerings: weekly podcasts, student dinners, special events and chapels focused on cultural engagement.
The Table Podcast is hosted by Hendricks Center Director of Cultural Engagement Darrell Bock. The show features accessible conversations on issues of God and culture, often focusing on faith and work. The podcast has featured Steven Garber, the founder of the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation and Culture, Hendricks Center Acting Director of Leadership Bill Hendricks, and Oikonomia Network Director Greg Forster. Over the past couple of years, Forster has appeared on 12 episodes discussing key ideas from his paper Theology that Works. This year, the podcast began airing on radio through the Salem Network.
The following episodes represent the kinds of faith and work topics featured on the show.
- A Biblical View of Stewardship
- Giftedness, Faith and Work
- How to Discover Your Giftedness
- How to Think About Work and Money
- Stewardship and the Common Good
- The Relationship of Faith, Vocation and Culture
- Virtuous Citizenship and Economic Wisdom
The Hendricks Center sponsors cultural engagement events focused on faith and work, such as the Table Conference in Irving, Texas. This conference featured Hendricks Center Cultural Engagement Director Darrell Bock, Talbot School of Theology Ethics Professor Scott Rae, Christ Community Church Pastor Tom Nelson and Cloud-Townsend Resources President Henry Cloud. It also included workshops by Bill Peel, director of LeTourneau University’s Center for Faith and Work, and others.
The following presentations represent the kinds of faith and work topics discussed at the event:
- A Biblical Theology of Work
- Building Spiritual Capital in the Workplace
- Business as Mission
- Ethics in the Workplace
- Work Matters: The Pastor/Parishioner Perspective
A similar event called “Your Work: More Than A Paycheck” is happening on April 23 in Houston, TX. It will involve plenary presentations by Katherine Leary Alsdorf, co-founder of the Center for Faith and Work, Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling Founder John Townsend and Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller, as well as input from Houston DTS faculty members Bruce Fong and Willie Bolden.
The Hendricks Center hosts student dinners on a variety of topics, including the intersection of faith, work and ministry. For example, Jeff White, the owner of three local Chick-fil-A franchises – including the most successful location in America – shared how his faith is the most important influence on the way he does business: “I’ve got to walk it a lot more than I talk it. Because I want people to really realize that it’s real.”
Another featured entrepreneur was Brittany Merrill Underwood, the founder of the Akola Project. A thriving jewelry business, the Akola Project has impacted 2,750 women and children in extreme poverty. Clothing manufacturer Levi Stauss & Co. called her “one of 50 women around the globe who have changed the political, cultural, and spiritual shape of the future.” Hearing from believers like these can inspire students to have a wider view of ministry and prepare future pastors to develop a biblical theology of faith and vocation in their congregants.
Cultural Engagement Chapels
The center also presents four cultural engagement chapels each semester that often highlight faith and work. For example, Garber discussed vocation and sharing common grace for the common good with Darrell Bock. Dallas Theological Seminary graduate Hans Hess joined them to discuss how a deep concern for a growing national health problem motivated his entrepreneurial entry into the fast food market, establishing Elevation Burger chain restaurants in Virginia. Recently, we also invited two artists to share how they view their vocation and discipleship to Jesus. Many seminarians look forward to these chapels, especially because it provides a space for open dialogue and exploration of areas not directly addressed in the curriculum, given the format includes a time for Question and Answer.
Dallas Theological Seminary’s cultural engagement initiative has been well-received by our stakeholders on and off campus. We especially hear positive comments about our discussion of cultural engagement, including those focused a faith and work. Our podcasts, dinners, events and chapels have sparked thoughtful discussions among many seminarians, pastors and others in the Dallas–Fort Worth area eager to apply biblical principles to their vocations.