Author Archives: emchristiannetwork

National day of Prayer 2021

When: Thursday, May 6th @ 7:30am

Where: Zoom

Register: https://eventx.exxonmobil.com/events/1fb918d7-9279-430d-9156-99513b23851f

The National Day of Prayer celebrates 70 years of prayer for America.

How wonderful it is to live in a nation where, by law every year on the first Thursday of May, the President proclaims a day of prayer for our nation.

Join with us and millions of believers across the nation on Thursday, May 6th, as we pray this year’s theme “Lord, Pour Out Your Love, Life and Liberty”. From 2 Corinthians 3:17.

Visit nationaldayofprayer.org for additional information.

A Better Way of Approaching Performance Assessment

CCEM’s mission is, “to connect and encourage Christians to confidently live out their faith in the workplace.” This article is intended to encourage Christians to approach performance assessment with a mind towards God. Furthermore, it is intended to equip the men and women of our community to look at business related topics with a spiritual mind, and an eternal perspective for both professional and spiritual growth.

I recently received a formal communication kicking off the annual performance assessment cycle. I knew it was coming, there are no surprises here, only consistency. However, after the year we have all had in 2020, something about the email troubled me. It’s not that the email said anything wrong, it was just the thought of starting the performance assessment process again felt disheartening.  Now I’m going to be very open and vulnerable right now; performance assessment season can be a hard time for me (and maybe for many of you). I feel like I need to justify my value and it can be exhausting.  During tough times, I feel even more anxious. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Fortunately, when I struggle through tough times, I know that I have a heavenly Father who is there for me. He longs for me to turn to Him and to ask for wisdom (James 1:5). Through reflection, 5 key themes were placed on my heart on how to better approach the performance assessment process, keeping an eternal perspective, while also honoring my commitments to the company. My prayer is that these themes might also help you keep your eyes focused on Jesus through this year’s performance assessment process.

1) I already know my value

Whenever I think about performance assessment, I have often approached it as trying to justify my value. In my mind, I was not just trying to justify my value to the company; I was trying to justify my value as an employee, as an engineer, as a provider for my family, as a contributing member to society, etc. What’s worse, I am looking for all those answers from a system that is not meant to be used in that way. If I am basing how I see myself and defining my own self-worth on this process, then this is a mindset that is destined for disappointment and emptiness. 

However, there is a better way to define my value: Look to the one who is perfect, the one who created me, and ask Him for His evaluation. I don’t have to look very hard to find His answer: I am priceless (Note: not perfect, but still of an infinite value). Romans 5:6-8 says: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Even though I am not perfect, and I do mess up (a lot), Jesus tells me that I am so valuable to Him; that He loves me so much, He willingly sacrificed Himself for me. So while I recognize the need to assess my performance from a business perspective, and while the assessment has meaning for earthly, company-based decision making, I shouldn’t let that assessment define me. I have already been assessed by the one person that truly matters, and He has told me my value: priceless.

2) I want to honor my company, because it honors God

Now that I have established a firm base for who I am and what my true value is, I can more appropriately look at the feedback that comes out of my performance assessment. Paul tells me, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:23-24). I want to do my work well because in doing my work well, I am honoring God. I am a reflection of Jesus in the workplace in how I conduct my business. 

Therefore I should be intentional and proactive in my job. If I seek to honor God through my work, then I should do so with diligence. I should try to understand how my company defines success so that I can contribute to obtaining that success. I should seek out intentional guidance and feedback from others more than just once a year to ensure I am doing the right thing and contributing towards that success. 

Then, I should take feedback through that context, knowing that it is not a comment on my true value. Feedback is not criticism of me or my value, rather it can be an opportunity to better serve my company so that I can better honor God. This is a subtle shift in thinking, but I think it has profound impact on how I receive that feedback, contribute to and view the process.

I also think it important to note that feedback is not scripture. Feedback is another person’s view through their own perspective. Therefore, a proper filtering of that feedback is likely warranted. Not all feedback is helpful, and that is okay. I should carefully consider each piece of feedback against its ability to help me better honor my company, and honor God.

One last thought on this, I have always felt a tension about scripture’s call to be humble, and the performance assessment’s call to self-promote. How can I be a reflection of a humble Jesus and also try to convince others about how awesome I am? I think it comes back to a matter of the heart; why am I doing this? I am seeking to honor my company to honor God. When asked to recount how I have contributed to the company’s success, I think it is okay to be an advocate for myself in an honest and accurate way.

3) It is okay to not want to be CEO

Maybe it’s just me, but I have often felt that some feedback comes (with good intention) to help me become a better leader, to help me move up in the organization. A lot of feedback tends to focus on soft skills and how to better present myself. My wife (who also used to work for the company) would often chuckle when receiving knowledgeable other feedback because every year she seemed to get the same general message: “You should give more presentations to management to improve your exposure and leadership skills.” This is not to say that she would completely disregard that feedback. She wanted to improve her ability to honor the company in order to honor God. However, she also had no desire to go into senior leadership. So she was okay with her assessment and feedback. 

I always found her approach very mature. She knew who she was (and who she wasn’t). She knew she could honor God, and perform great work for her company without feeling the need to climb the leadership ladder, or making significant personal sacrifices. Recognizing what my professional and personal goals are, along with what my skills and interests are, can help me better filter my assessment feedback into where and how I apply it to best honor my company, my personal life, and God. It is okay to not want to be on the “fast track” and it is okay to not want to sacrifice my personal life for a better assessment. I can still do great work for my company, honor God, and not seek to continually advance in rank and title. 

4) Treat others as children of God

Part of the performance assessment cycle involves providing input on others performance. In my particular situation, I will not only have the opportunity to provide input through knowledgeable other feedback, but as a supervisor I will have a responsibility for personally delivering feedback to my direct reports. Through my experience both giving and receiving feedback, one theme remains true: Treat others as children of God. 

Genesis says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).  All people, regardless of their background, should be treated as individuals whom God personally made in His image; individuals who are God’s children. They are not my people here to serve me. Rather, they are God’s people, of whom I have been entrusted to lead/provide feedback. So how does God expect me to treat them?

I like to think that parenthood is a small glimpse into how God see’s us. My wife and I were blessed enough to have a baby about a year ago. I cannot begin to explain how much I love that little boy. I never want him to feel pain, hurt, or to be mistreated. I only want him to feel joy, happiness and love. However, I also recognize that he will need to learn tough lessons. He will need to hear hard messages at times. I know that at the end of the day, these things are good for him to grow. So how should I handle these difficult situations? Well I certainly will not do so lightly. I will be fair, honest, but with a genuine love and care for his growth and well-being. After all, he is my son and I love him.

If I see others as children of God, shouldn’t I expect God to want the same things for them? Those who have been entrusted to me to provide feedback; I need to take that seriously. It is not “just business.” These are people, people who are loved by God, and people who I should love. That’s not to say I should not be candid or direct, but it is to say that I need to do so with a genuine care and compassion for those, looking to help guide them both professionally and personally. 

5) It will not be perfect

At the end of the day, things will not be perfect. I will probably struggle with the right words to say, I may have the wrong words said to me. I may end up having to deliver a hard message (or receive one myself). In any case, I recognize that nothing short of God is perfect and I shouldn’t place my hope in things like performance assessment. Performance assessment is a tool and it has a purpose. If I keep that purpose in mind, without letting it creep into other aspects of my life, I will be better for it. We all will. I can give myself grace in the feedback I receive and I can give grace to those who are giving me feedback, recognizing that they are not perfect and are working through the same process I am. In an imperfect world, with imperfect people, grace is key. 

Paul says, “And [Jesus] has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). We all need grace and God’s grace is sufficient. When we are weak, make mistakes, feel broken, we can find our grace and strength in Jesus.

Final Thoughts

The performance assessment process has been around our company for many many years. It is our approach to continual feedback and evaluation of employees. Feedback and evaluation are not bad things, and the process has its place in how our company functions. A lot of good can and does come out of providing a structured feedback approach to employees (both for the company, and the employee personally). The danger comes when we begin to use the process inappropriately or blur the lines between what its purpose is, and how we see ourselves. 

However, if we take a step back and re-orient ourselves to who we are as children of God, placing our hope and value in Him, and not in our assessment; if we look at the feedback process not as personal criticisms, but as opportunities to better serve God; and if we treat others honestly, but with love and respect, we can make a potentially unpleasant process an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. We cannot eliminate the process, or avoid the process, but we can look at it differently and respond to it differently. We can create a better culture around performance assessment, and we can live out our culture of caring. 

Work as Worship Retreat

The Work as Worship Retreat is an annual event that focuses on connecting faith and work. This year will have a satellite group meeting in our area at Church Project. Brothers and sisters from local business’s Christian groups such as GE, HP, and more are also being invited to participate.

To learn more check out https://www.workasworshipretreat.org/ for the Leaders who will be sharing experiences and encouragement.

If you would like to register, please do so at https://events.rightnowmedia.org/attendee/site/4376 to ensure enough food and refreshments for everyone.

*** This is optional and considered voluntary time. This event is not sponsored by ExxonMobil***

When: Friday, May 14th, 9am-4pm

Location: Church Project @ 602 Pruitt Rd, The Woodlands, TX 77380

Cost: $50

Registration: https://events.rightnowmedia.org/attendee/site/4376 

Agenda:

TimeTopicLeader(s)Target Outcome
8:30amWelcomeBilly SchielWarm welcome and enablement to our retreat location inside CP
9:00amWorkplace identityBeau McBethThe power of our perception regarding God’s blessing of work and why our work matters for His plan to make all things new.
9:30amDon’t give the enemy a seatLouie GiglioAn outline of ways to overcome the enemy’s lies so we can find peace and security in any challenging circumstance or workplace situation.
10:15amReflectionA time of personal reflection with respect for information shared
10:30amConversational intelligenceStephani ChungInsights and tools to have high impact conversations that lead to serving people well.
11:15amChange your worldJohn MaxwellExposure to a 7-day experiment that brings life into focus with prioritization of the most significant.
12:15pmLunchNutritious meal and ministry partner spotlight
1:00pmChange your worldJohn MaxwellA practical guide to give us actions to try during our day to live a life of intentionality.
1:45pmAn interviewBrandon Mann and David StewardTimely and timeless stories of how Leadership by The Good Book creates meaning and eternal value in our work.
2:15pmReflectionA roundtable dialogue of reflection to express changing perspectives
2:30pmNecessary endingsHenry CloudPractical examples of how to understand and lead next generation leaders to maximize their contributions in your organization.
3:15pmSoundtracksJon AcuffStories of how the best teams overcome overthinking to navigate change, increase productivity, and win consistently
3:45pmInvitation and responseBeau McBethAn opportunity for everyone to partner with God to bring order, beauty and benefits for everyone, as we restore the integrity of faith and work.
4:00pmCloseBeau McBethEncouragement with resources for ongoing discipleship and workplace program enablement

Alpha 2021

March 3rd, 2021 – May 26th, 2021: Wednesdays 12:00pm – 1:00pm on Zoom

Come relax, connect, and consider life’s biggest questions – join us for a virtual Alpha session! We will watch a video and have some small group discussion. Don’t worry if you’ve missed previous Alpha sessions – each one stands on its own.

To stay up to date with Alpha news, join our Yammer group.

To add meeting invite to your calendar visit goto/alphainvite

You are welcome to invite a friend – just be sure to make it an intentional invitation (no mass or unsolicited emails please). A good practice is to verbally confirm someone’s interest before sharing.

Zoom Meeting Invite

Join Meeting

Meeting URL: https://exxonmobil.zoom.us/j/98435993737?pwd=d0FKN2cycEdKMXNIdHpyM3RuelYzZz09 

Meeting ID: 984 3599 3737 (Password: 154867) 

Phone One Tap: +13462487799,,98435993737# US (Houston)+16699009128,,98435993737# US (San Jose)

Join by Telephone

Dial by your location:
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Find your local number: https://exxonmobil.zoom.us/u/ad5W7d03U8

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Meeting ID: 984 3599 3737
Password: 154867

Want more Zoom tips? Visit goto/zoom.

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Helping Hands: Here For Support

To Our Family,

Just when I thought the year of unprecedented events was over, our city (and state) freezes, leaving many without power and heat (myself included). While sitting five inches from my fireplace, with three sweatshirts on, and two blankets, I asked myself how much more could possibly be added to the weight already being carried out of last year? When will it start getting better?

I do not have any great answers, but we want CCEM to be a community that supports each other through times like this. God tells us to lay our burdens on Him (Ps 55:22, 1 Pet 5:7) and while this is an important call to reflect on, what does that mean in midst of a (literal) storm? Casting our burdens on God can come in many forms (i.e. prayer, worship, etc.), but we as Jesus’s body play an important role in helping others through hard times. We as a body can help bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2). 

I know you have all been carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders. Things at work and in life have been very difficult the last year or so (maybe longer). Know that you are never alone, and that you are loved. If there is anything CCEM can do to help bear your burden, even if you just need someone to talk or vent to, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here.

We love you CCEM, stay safe, and warm.

Love,

The CCEM Team.

Submit a Prayer Request Here

See Additional Well-Being Resources Here

Light in Darkness – GDOP 2020

Light in Darkness

“It was a year like no other. Amid the massive losses inflicted by a global pandemic, bitter political divisions and racial unrest that exploded into violence, glimmers of light shone through the darkness…” This is how History.com opens its year retrospective article. Compare this statement to the theme verse for GDOP 2020, John 1:4-5: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” These statements may sound similar, but we know the world isn’t able to fully acknowledge the true source of the “glimmers of light that shone through the darkness” until (He) is shone on them. John himself states this later in chapter one: “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” 

This is where GDOP came in last year, as it does every year, as a reminder of the source of the light in this world. “Christ > (is greater than) crisis” was the God-inspired theme for the event, chosen before any of us understood how significant it would be by November 6th. It was the first time in over 10 years of events that we hosted a virtual event via Zoom, where worship was led by representatives around the globe. We had record participation from 600+ people, across 50+ sites and 30+ countries and the special inclusion of our alumni prayer.

Jesus instructed us in his Sermon on the Mount that: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let you light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 4:14-16. So many of you have reflected this light by faithfully serving the Lord in your homes, your communities, you teams, and in this event. A big THANK YOU note to ALL, from all corners of the Earth who, in unison honored Christ, a name above all names & any crisis. Let us continue to be the light that the Father has called us to be as we press on through this pandemic.

To recap, see links to GDOP 2020 material & volunteer to serve in the 2021 event by responding to the survey:


We are already looking forward to GDOP 2021. Are you interested in serving with GDOP? If so, please click on the survey below to provide your name and email, & we will reach out with more information.

New Catholic Faith Study Beginning in February!

To join the Catholic Faith Study Distribution List, contact Henry Avila.

Dear Friends,

I am resuming our Catholic Faith Study classes via Zoom, beginning February 10, 2021. I pray that you are doing well after a rough year in 2020. I believe it is past time to come together and share our faith again.

This first session will concern who we are as Christians. 

·         What is my purpose? 

·         Who am I? 

·         Is there a reason for all that we have endured this past year?

And much more . . . 

I will send out meeting notes before the class. Pray for me as I prepare for this lesson and I will be praying for you that the Lord impress upon your heart to continue to learn more about our faith.

People of all faiths are welcome to attend. Please feel free to forward the Zoom link.

Henry

Welcome 2021!

Brothers and Sisters,

We made it! One of the craziest years in a generation has finally ended and a new year has begun. On one hand, just seeing “2021” on a calendar gives a sense of newness and hope. On the other hand, the challenges of 2020 have not ended simply because of a date change. There is still a heaviness weighing on people, a heaviness that threatens our unity, love, and joy. 

Even within our own company, the impacts of 2020 will continue to be felt in 2021. A lot is changing; many familiar faces that we know and love are no longer going to be seen on campus. There also is a palpable tension for those of us who remain to help the company improve, to turn things around. I feel it, and if I am honest, I worry about how that pressure (and general exhaustion) may impact myself and my co-workers. 

All of that to say, I really believe that our community has a vital role to play in 2021. We need to show Love to everyone at work and in our communities. We need to practice Grace in our interactions, especially during times of pressure and anxiety. Finally, we need to encourage others with Truth. The truth that everyone is valued and priceless. If we do this we will be a light, reflecting the character of Jesus. I strongly believe that through us, the light of Jesus has the power to transform hearts. We can have a positive impact for our company and our community.

Relieving the pressures of 2020 will take all of us. Change starts within each of us through the power of the Holy Spirit, and it starts with re-connecting with God through prayer, time in His Word, and community. That last part, community, has been particularly on the hearts of the CCEM Team. We are getting busier, and taking time for community is getting harder. But the need to connect with Brothers and Sisters is important for each of us; it provides us a source of wisdom during challenges, and encourages our walk, and our light. If you are not currently connected with a Christian community at work, I encourage you to check out one of the various Bible Studies/Prayer groups that meet on campus or virtually. 

Finally, for those of you who will be leaving the company in the coming days, we all want to say thank you! Thank you for your service to ExxonMobil, and thank you for your leadership and modeling of how to live faith in the workplace. We will miss you, but we know that you will continue to have an impact for Jesus with those you interact with in the future. If you would like to stay connected to CCEM, please feel encouraged to sign up for the CCEM mailing list with your personal email address and we will keep you in the loop of what’s going on campus. 

We love you CCEM. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out for prayer or with any general thoughts/needs. We look forward to connecting with you, and working together to be a bright light for Jesus in our community.

Love,

The CCEM Team.

1Q2021 CCEM Prayer Focus

Please join the CCEM community in the 1st Quarter of 2021 as we pray for the health and safety, and well-being of our community and country.

  • For the health and safety of our friends and family through the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For those in our community who have been impacted by the recent company reductions.
  • That our community would be intentional with our connections and interactions in 2021. That love, grace, and truth would transform our hearts, and impact our actions; and that those actions would have a positive impact on our company and our communities.
  • To lift up our nation’s leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3), we pray for the President, Vice President, Congress and Supreme Court, that they may love the law of the Lord (Psalm 1:1-2) and that God provides them wisdom (Ephesians 3:10).

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