Recently I had the privilege of dining, chatting, and walking for three days with Dr. James Houston, a friend of C. S. Lewis and founder of Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. We were in Dallas with Ward Tanneberg, C3 Leader and mentor for our leaders at the CASA Conference on “Why.”
James Houston is 91 years old and going strong. When he helped start Regent College he envisioned an educational program that would help professionals in the marketplace develop a robust understanding of their faith as it relates to their person-hood and to their particular marketplace. Dr. Houston encourages professionals in every field to take their faith seriously and to live out their calling.
Dr. Houston is not a novice. He has seen it all and perhaps heard it all. Not only was he a friend of C.S. Lewis, he was also involved in the much acclaimed conversion of one of the leading communicators in Britain, Malcom Muggeridge. As I engaged Dr. Houston, I found myself intrigued by the knowledge that he has committed much of his life to the kind of journey we find ourselves on at C3 Leaders. We want to help leaders think well and act righteously.
Professionals in every field must master their field from a knowledge and practice base. Houston recognized that many professionals were extremely well versed in their chosen fields but mere novices when it came to deeply understanding and applying their faith. He realized that many professionals left the “profession of faith” to the clergy rather than delving deeply in for their own benefit. As Houston talked about his work (authoring 45 books, founder of Regent College, professor of Spiritual Formation, and Geographer) I recognized we are following a pioneer who has been tilling our ground for decades.
We know that business leaders are often pursued for their notoriety and for their funding but rarely pursued for their soul and their God-given calling. With Christian business leaders staying on the sidelines of mission and ministry, the enemy can keep the church at bay. The devil knows that if he can keep gifted business leaders in silos, separating their faith and their professional life, he can keep the Kingdom of God neutralized. When Christian leaders of all kinds wake up to their calling and to the one who calls them and start paying close attention to that call, the devil begins to quake.