Note: This article spotlights work at Denver Seminary, where three faculty members are individual faculty partners of the Oikonomia Network. Appropriately for the new pandemic reality, this update comes to you via video. A transcript, with links to the resources discussed in the video, is provided below.
Hi there, and greetings from Denver Seminary. My name is Don Payne. I serve here as associate professor of theology, and we’re glad for the opportunity to give a little spotlight to some things going on in our arena here regarding the theology of work.
All of us who are involved in the theology of work are always on the lookout for substantive and richly integrated theological resources to bridge that gap, bring integration between theology and work. And I’m excited to tell you about one of our graduates and his contribution to the theology of work movement. His name is Drew Yancey.
Drew holds an MBA from Texas A&M University, an MDiv from here at Denver Seminary, and a PhD from the University of Birmingham, England. Drew has been the CEO of a production, merchandising and distribution company. He’s been director of strategy for a top-50 food service distributor, and he’s led that company through a merger and acquisition. And he’s got over a decade of experience in strategy, consulting with multiple industries.
Drew, we’re happy to say, also serves as an adjunct professor here at Denver Seminary and has already been pretty heavily involved with the Oikonomia Network. Drew is part of a third or fourth generation family business – a food service distributor.
Originally, when Drew came to Denver Seminary, he had planned it to go on for PhD studies in theology, but after seminary, he went back into the family business. But he kept that theological mind churning, and eventually wove those theological interests together with his corporate experience at the University of Birmingham, with a combined program in their schools of Religion and Business.
And so this past spring, his dissertation was published with Pickwick under the title Transforming Enterprise? American Evangelicalism, Capitalism, and the Challenge of Practical Theology. Drew’s goal in this book is to help the church rethink the ministry of transformation in light of how the individualistic and consumeristic spirituality of capitalism have influenced American evangelicalism.
Here’s how he puts the focus of the book in his own words, and I quote:
Evangelical theology needs a more nuanced account of how Christian faith integrates with consumer market systems. Specifically, how embodied Christian practices can reinforce the formation of thick relational collectives that are necessary for human flourishing, but that increasing instrumentality has eroded? How can contemporary American evangelical theology reconstruct the theme of transformation for a post-secular context that counters the individualist, materialist excesses of consumerist spirituality?
The answer, Drew says, “is not a non-individualist, non-materialist, non-consumerist spirituality.” “Rather,” he says, “I contend in this book that it is a reflective spirituality. That is, a spirituality that regularly interrogates its own practice.” Now, Drew covers a lot of ground in this book, and keep in mind he does so both as a theologian and as a highly successful CEO and consultant.
Well, I hope that’s enough to whet your appetite. We think Drew’s work needs a wide readership and a deeply thoughtful engagement. You, our colleagues at the Oikonomia Network are just the people to do that, and you’ll find that Drew’s work hits on several of ON’s student learning outcomes. Again, the title is Transforming Enterprise? and it’s published this year by Pickwick.
You can actually hear, if you’re interested, more of Drew’s story on our seminary podcast, which is called Engage360. His is Episode 33. You’ll really enjoy meeting Drew, hearing from him about his work in the corporate world and about his theological integration of that through his studies at Birmingham.
We appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and we genuinely pray that God will sustain and guide all of us at each of our schools in this crucial work that’s been entrusted to us, especially during these times of unrest and upheaval in our country. Our work is as vital now as ever. Thanks, and God bless.