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What makes a workplace Christian? A cross hanging on its wall? An honest, church-going CEO? Company-sanctioned prayer meetings and Bible studies? The kind of products that end up on the shelves of a Christian bookstore?

Not necessarily. Not if you take to heart the scriptural instruction to workers, like that in Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." If everything we do, we do for Christ, then every job we perform becomes sacred, and every workplace—whether it's a cleaning business, a Christian publisher, or a seminary—can be a place of Christian vocation.

Still, on this page, Christianity Today is reporting the results of the 2006 Best Christian Places to Work Survey. The reason behind the survey's name is that it examines organizations that—in addition to employing Christians—follow an explicitly Christian mission statement. Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI), headed by Al Lopus, conducts the survey in order to see how companies with explicitly Christian mission statements walk their talk.

This year's survey included 93 self-nominated workplaces. The judges picked 40 as finalists. BCWI scrutinized a record number of employee surveys this year: More than 10,600 workers completed a confidential 50-question survey. In addition, human resources departments submitted detailed summaries of practices such as vacation and sick days, turnover rates, flex time, and maternity leave.

To avoid the unfairness that goes with comparing, say, a large organization like Bethel University with a small ministry like Apartment Life, ...

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The 40 Best Christian Places to Work
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April 2006

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