In late February, Christianity Today announced the results of the first Best Christian Places to Work survey, a landmark study commissioned by CT and administered by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. It is the largest survey ever conducted on the attitudes of employees at Christian workplaces, with more than 8,500 respondents across a range of industries.
A panel of independent judges selected four companies in ten categories for special recognition. For two weeks CT is saluting the first place organizations in each category.
Medium Colleges, Universities, & Seminaries
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas
Multnomah Bible College and Seminary, Portland, Oregon
Dallas Theological Seminary and Multnomah Bible College and Seminary not only share a common mission (to prepare men and women for a life of ministry) but also a common philosophy on how to manage employees—which may explain why the two institutions are tied for first place in this category.
Fittingly for schools offering Bible-based curriculum, employees at Multnomah and Dallas try to practice what they teach. "Because we are committed to God's Word, we take a spiritual approach to how we honor people," says Jim Thames, associate academic dean at Dallas. "We are not perfect, but when we make mistakes, there's an honest attempt to say, 'I was wrong, please forgive me.' "
Multnomah president Dan Lockwood agrees. "You can't really talk about wanting to train people in the Word unless you've got faculty and staff who are mentors in that process." As a result, employees at both institutions are devoted to their workplaces. "We live in a time when people change jobs very frequently," says Ray Keen, technical services director for Multnomah's marketing. "But I feel at home here, and I hope to be working for Multnomah until I retire."
Both institutions have unique perks to demonstrate their appreciation for employees. Dallas offers "personal business days." If an employee has worked at least half a day and needs the other half to take care of personal matters during a workday, she is allowed to do so, and is still considered to have worked a full day. Multnomah provides free lunch to all faculty and staff, more than 170 people, on days when students are in session. The lunches strengthen the community. "The lunchroom is a place where … faculty, staff, and students are mixed together for fellowship," says Emi Koe, academic coordinator of Multnomah. "This creates a sense of unity that is hard to match."
Institution-wide camaraderie is another distinguishing characteristic at both schools. "I have worked at several Christian schools over my life," says J. Scott Horrell, Dallas professor of systematic theology. "I've never seen a place of faculty-staff harmony and mutual goodwill like at Dallas Seminary." Koe makes the same observation about Multnomah. "The faculty's appreciation and nonélitist attitudes toward staff really foster a sense that we are a team and that each one is a valuable coworker in this ministry." The two schools are fostering similar attitudes, and the duplication is well worth it.
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Our 40 Best Christian Places to Work articles include:
The 40 Best Christian Places to Work | What makes them so good? (Hint: Not money)
The Complete List & A Closer Look at the Top Finalists | Christianity Today salutes four finalists in ten categories.
Inside CT: Great Places to Work | There is indeed much to praise and imitate in Christian companies.
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