By Jamie Shafer
A recent Gallup poll concluded that only 30 percent of American workers indicate they are engaged in their work, leaving the resulting 70 percent to work at levels below their true potential.
Rick Boxx has a vision for how this can change, and it includes Christians embracing their calling in the marketplace. Boxx admits his path was winding as he watched God’s plan unfold in his own life. He was raised in a Christian home but took a departure from his faith principles during his teenage years, which continued into his 20s.
Boxx began his career at age 25 as a small business owner. During an economic downturn the business weakened, and he found himself struggling to pay back his college loans at a rate of 21 percent. Not long after, the business was liquidated—but the lessons stayed with him.
He went to work for the banking industry in Kansas City for the next 14 years, and it was there he gained life-changing lessons from a bank president. “In our first meeting [my boss] said, ‘If you’re going to work for me, Rick, you need to understand my priorities in life. God is first, family second, and this job is third.’” Boxx said at the time, this lineup of priorities seemed counterintuitive to him.
Boxx discovered this wasn’t just an opening speech but a way of life for his boss. “As I went to him for decisions, he would say things like, ‘We need to do this because Scripture says this . . . ’”
Astounded by what he experienced at the bank, Boxx said he began to wonder what else the Bible had to say to leaders. Around this time, he completed training with Crown Ministries to begin teaching at churches and reaching out to those who needed help with their personal finances. He kept wondering why he didn’t find others who were teaching these biblical principles to marketplace leaders.
A New Mission
God opened the doors for Boxx to launch Integrity Resource Center in 2001, which is focused on “building faith and integrity at work.”
IRC has a daily radio program airing on 250 radio stations, and it publishes a daily devotional called Integrity Moments to help believers live out their faith in the workplace (www.integrityresource.org).
Boxx also helped develop the FIRE (Faith, Integrity, Relationships, Excellence) Assessment and FIRE Covenant—these are designed to provide employees, business owners, and CEOs with practical tools to determine how they are doing in living their faith at work.
When asked about the development of the FIRE Covenant, he shared, “When I started doing this ministry, God planted me in the book of Nehemiah. My heart was really captured by this concept that after they had a spiritual revival, they all signed a written covenant to do things differently. God gave me a vision of what America could look like if we had a million business leaders who signed that covenant and lived it.”
On the Horizon
As he has watched marketplace ministries develop over the years, Boxx said that what is most exciting right now is seeing the strong coalition of organizations that are beginning to work together nationwide. Recently, he was able to attend a conference where leaders from marketplace ministries across the country were asking, “What is God doing, and how can we do this jointly instead of individually?”
About two years ago, Boxx helped form a coalition of 20 different organizations within Kansas City. At the time of our interview, they were working on events and developing a mutual website for ministers, which they hope will launch in early 2014.
Boxx is excited to see that an increasing number of churches are equipping their members to live their faith in their everyday workplaces. “Churches need to view the sending out process the same as they would do for other missionaries.”
In response to the Gallup poll, Boxx encourages individual believers to begin by praying to make clarity out of their calling. “Right where you are called, pray and ask how God might use you in that space. Ask God to make it clear. Ask him to reveal what the next stage is for you.”
Jamie Shafer is the communications director at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. She and her husband, Eric, have two children.
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