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Institute Helps Students Integrate Faith and Work

By Amanda Morad | January 16, 2013

Students analyze their passions to help identify possible career paths.

The years between high school and adulthood are often rife with uncertainty and trepidation as young adults attempt to navigate college and decide on a career. That's where the Institute of Faith, Work & Economics (IFWE) steps in. The IFWE is a unique organization that recently partnered with Regent University's College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) to help give students direction and focus toward their future career goals. The conference was held on campus Monday, Jan. 14.

"We loved the opportunity to talk with students about some of life's most pressing questions surrounding faith and work," said Hugh Whelchel, executive director at IFWE.

"It is obvious that Regent students care deeply about discovering their calling and being faithful to God," he added. "We will be praying that God continues to guide them. It sounded like many had some real 'a-ha' moments in realizing the Bible teaches that all work matters to God."

The conference was divided into three sessions: "Does My Work Matter to God?" presented by Whelchel; "Christian Calling: What Does It Mean?" presented by Dr. Art Lindsley, vice president of theological initiatives for IFWE; and "What's My Vocation? Discerning God's Direction for Your Career," presented by Rick Wellock, director of organizational development at Serving Leaders.

At the last of these sessions, Wellock led students in exercises to help them identify points of passion in their lives and hone in on what might be ideal future careers for them. He asked them to describe points in their lives at which they accomplished something and felt satisfied with the outcome. Students then interviewed each other about these experiences.

"Wherever you see verbs and action and movement, that's where you want to go if you really want to know what you're made of," he said. "These aren't throwaway lines because you don't have throwaway lives. These themes are part of how you're fearfully and wonderfully made."

Having identified major interests for students, Wellock gave them advice on how to use that information moving forward. "Pay attention and be intentional about identifying your goals," he said. "Catch yourself in the act of being yourself and explore how you can do more of it. ... If we organize our lives around these realizations, they will become part of our everyday lives."

Students were provided with copies of Welchel's book, How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work, to help them continue their pursuit of vocational stewardship.

"One of the areas of significant struggle for today's Christian college students and young professionals is how to integrate their Christian faith, their sense of calling and their work," said CAS dean, Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riano. "This has led to the Quarter Life Crisis phenomenon, the crisis many 25-year-olds encounter concerning whether or not their life and work has any significance. Our goal is to encourage our students toward a life in which their faith, calling and work are meaningfully integrated and bring about joy for themselves and a positive and transformative impact in their families, professions and communities."

Follow up questions and comments from the conference can be sent to

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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