Category Archives: Leadership

Surprised by the Power of the Spirit – A Conversation with Jack Deere

We invite you to join us on August 3rd at 12:00PM CST as we have a conversation with a special guest: Jack Deere, author of the bestseller Surprised by the Power of the Spirit. Jack recently released a new revision of his powerful book and has graciously agreed to speak with our community. Come learn about the Spirit of God!

“In Why I Am Still Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, now updated and revised, Deere explains why God is still giving all the gifts of the Spirit, tells documented stories of contemporary miracles, and reveals how people discover and use their spiritual gifts.”

We encourage you to take a look at this book, which you can find on Amazon, via the publisher Zondervan, or at a bookstore near you. You are welcome to attend this discussion regardless of whether or not you have read the book.

When: Tuesday August 3rd, 2021 from 12:00PM to 1:00PM CST

Where: Zoom (connection information can be found in the meeting invite after registering above)


Leading Through Crisis Bible Study

What: New Bible Study on Leading Through Crisis

When: Wednesdays (June 9th – July 21st), from 12-1pm

Where: Zoom

In response to the challenges of 2020, a group of Christian senior leaders at ExxonMobil gathered together monthly in their personal time for prayer and to study Biblical leaders who faced challenging situations. The time together was thought provoking, timely, and encouraging for the group, as they sought to lead our company through a very challenging time.

While 2020 is behind us, crisis situations will continue to present themselves in the future. We are all leaders in some form, and seeking Biblical guidance on how to lead through crisis situations is a great source of help. As such, we will be hosting a 7 week Bible Study on Leading Through Crisis. The content of the study has been developed by a member of our community specially for CCEM, and is the same content used with our Christian brothers and sisters in senior leadership. If you are interested in the study but you are unable to attend the group discussion, we have developed a study guide that you are more than welcome to walk through on your own (or with another small group). Our prayer is that this content will be edifying for you and those you share it with. We hope to see you at the study!

You can register for the study here.

Download Leading Through Crisis Self Study Guide:

Sessions

  1. Introduction: A Leader’s Call to Study Scripture
    • Leader: The King of Israel
      • Deuteronomy 17: 18–20
  2. Attribute 1: Discipline 
    • Leader: David
      • 1 Samuel 24:1–7
  3. Attribute 2: Seeking Wisdom before Making a Decision
    • Leader: Josiah
      • 2 Kings 22:8 – 2 Kings 23:4
  4. Attribute 3: Vision Setting and Execution
    • Leader: Nehemiah
      • Nehemiah 2: 11–20
      • Nehemiah 4: 7–16
      • Nehemiah 6: 1–9
  5. Attribute 4: Courage
    • Leaders: Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, Daniel
      • Daniel 3
      • Daniel 6: 1–23
  6. Attribute 5: Integrity and Sincerity 
    • Leaders: Ruth, Boaz
      • Ruth 1:15–18; Ruth 2: 2–12
      • Ruth 3: 8–15; Ruth 4: 5–13
  7. Attribute 6: Humility
    • Leader: Jesus
      • Matt 26: 36–46

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. 

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

A Conversation with Tom Gilson, author of “Too Good to be False”

A few weeks ago we hosted a virtual conversation with Author Tom Gilson about his new book Too Good To Be False, which seeks to look at Jesus from a different perspective than majority of Christian books today. Tom’s book highlights the greatness of Jesus from a different angle, encouraging deeper growth in knowledge and intimacy with Jesus. To Good To Be False has received numerous endorsements from influential writers and ministry partners.

If you missed the event (or would like a recap) fear not – we have recorded the session! We hope that you enjoy.

The video may be viewed here.

Our Identity: Defined by God

As I am sure is the case with many of you, I listened to the recent announcements about changes to our workforce with angst and concern. Many questions are still unanswered, and the uncertainty about the future leaves me feeling uneasy and anxious. 

Reflecting on all that is going on, I realize the consistent struggle I have with understanding my value and my identity. Too often I have tied my sense of worth and my value to how our world defines it. How I see myself is tangled in my work, my job title, my income bracket, my performance assessment. As I sit and wait for more details on the changes coming to our organization, I am once again struggling with these same feelings.

I need to remind myself that my true value and my true identity has already been told to me. The God of the Universe saw me as so valuable, that He willingly came to Earth, took on the form of a man, and sacrificed Himself so that I could be in a relationship with Him for all eternity. In Jesus, I have been assessed as priceless. In Jesus, I have been given a title of royalty, and in Jesus, that title has been eternally secured for me. I did not have to earn the position, and there is nothing/no one that can take it away from me. It is a gift through the pure grace and love from the Father.

As we continue to learn more about the changes from the recent announcements, each one of us is likely to know someone who is directly impacted. Many of us may end up learning that we are in fact being personally impacted by the changes. There are no soothing words to say that will make any of this easier. I just pray that we all turn to Jesus for our strength and our identity, recognizing the hope, security, and value we have in Him.

It is critical that we be a family for each other; no one should feel alone at this time. We as a family need to have grace, love, and be there for each other. Let each of us reach out to our brothers and sisters for fellowship and support. Let our community be a bright light through tough trials. Know you are never alone. We are consistently praying for you and are here to help however we can. You can reach out to us at CCEM for prayer at any time. Finally, let us all reflect on what God has said about us: We are loved. We are priceless. We are secure in Him.

For Well-Being Resources, please see here.

How does God define my identity?

I am God’s child (John 1:12)

I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15 )

I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)

I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20)

I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)

I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)

I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt 5:13-14)

I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)

I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8: 1-2)

I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil 3:20)

I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)

I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17-21)

I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)

I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)

I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39)

I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21-22 )

I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28 )

I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )

I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)

I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)

I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. (Phil. 1: 5)

I am God’s temple (1 Cor. 3: 16)

I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)

I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3)

I have been justified (Romans 5:1)

I am God’s co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1)

I am God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)

I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col 1:14)

I have been adopted as God’s child (Eph 1:5)

Too Good to be False

REGISTER NOW: https://eventx.exxonmobil.com/events/4879b30c-76d9-4c63-82d7-a0d6e2c02b82

Join us for a one-on-one conversation with Author Tom Gilson about his new book Too Good To Be False. Too Good To Be False seeks to look at Jesus from a different perspective than majority of Christian books today. Tom’s book highlights the greatness of Jesus from a different angle, encouraging deeper growth in knowledge and intimacy with Jesus. To Good To Be False has received numerous endorsements from influential writers and ministry partners.

CCEM is excited to have Tom meeting with our community exclusively to discuss his book, and answer some questions about his research about Jesus. We hope you will join us on October 6th at Noon on Zoom!

To register, go to EventX: https://eventx.exxonmobil.com/events/4879b30c-76d9-4c63-82d7-a0d6e2c02b82

To learn more about Too Good To Be False visit https://www.thinkingchristian.net or https://christiandefenders.org

Encouraging Others

There is undoubtabley anxiety, concern, and hardships for many of our brothers and sisters throughout the country. Between COVID-19, Racial and Social Justice issues, and economic hardships, now more than ever it is important for us as a body of believers to be a light and an encouragement for those who may be hurting.

Checkout some of the following resources for tips on how to be an encouragement to others during this strange time.

20 Ideas for Encouraging Others

19 Ways to Encourage Others

12 Practical Ways to Encourage Others

Giving Grace With Your Words – 10 Steps

Build-up Acronym 7 Tips

We Want Your Feedback

CCEM seeks to serve our community to love and encourage our brothers and sisters at ExxonMobil. This year has introduced many new challenges with how and when we are able to meet together. We have tried to adapt to the current environment and would like to get your feedback on how we’re doing as well as ways we could do better going forward.

Please take a few minutes to provide your thoughts at the survey link below. We appreciate you!

CCEM Effectiveness Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MBB8769

Be the Church: Virtually Meeting Amid COVID-19

“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

As we continue to battle COVID-19, we know that now more than ever how important it is to Be The Church to each other. We need to continue to maintain smart social distancing as a way to love our neighbors, family and friends, as well as a way to continue battling this disease. Fortunately, today’s technology allows us to continue meeting together, while not being physically together. 

The CCEM Team wants to provide some virtual resources for you as opportunities to continue meeting together in a safe, socially distant way while at home.

  1. CCEM Bible Studies/Prayer Groups – Many of our Bible Study and Prayer Groups continue to meet virtually through various platforms. If interested, please contact one of our study leads to get the latest virtual meeting information. (Visit Bible Studies/Prayer Groups Page)
    • Alpha has also moved to a weekly prayer call during our time off campus. To get connected with the Alpha prayer call, please contact Garrett Shaw or goto/Alpha.
  1. Local Churches – Many local churches are currently broadcasting their sermons live on Sundays, as well as hosting small groups and ministry events virtually during the week. Check our Churches list for links to various local churches that members of our community are connected with. Visit church websites for opportunities to connect virtually.
  1. Grace Center of Spiritual Development – GCSD is a local organization that offers Bible Studies, Leadership Training, Devotionals, and Podcasts for free. GCSD is promoting a new 2 week live virtual study on Habakkuk starting next Wednesday, April 8th at lunch (information here); as well as a 3 week virtual Biblical Leadership Seminar Series Starting Tuesday March 31, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (information here). View previous GCSD content and more at Grace Center of Spiritual Development Website
  1. Toolbox Lunch – Toolbox Lunches are having a virtual meeting on April 1 with their Executive Director. Learn more about the event here and more about Toolbox Lunches from their website http://www.toolboxlunches.com/
  1. Christians in Commerce – CIC is an organization focused on bringing Christ into the workplace. The have a library of stories of how individuals have reflected Christ at work. Visit their Christ Alive! Testimonies Webpage.
  1. Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi: Pope Francis delivers an extraordinary blessing “To the City and to the World” on Friday to pray for an end to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. In his meditation, the Pope reflects on Jesus’ words to His disciples: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” See more here.

Do you have more virtual resources? Visit the CCEM Facebook Page or Yammer Page and share! Stay Safe!

  • The CCEM Team
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