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.

Small Colleges, Universities, & Seminaries

Phoenix Seminary
Scottsdale, Arizona

Some seminaries train men and women to reach the world. Phoenix Seminary, on the other hand, trains its students to reach the state of Arizona. "We're in one of the top eight metropolitan areas in the country, and there is enough opportunity that if we can penetrate the culture here, that would be great," says Mark Upton, executive vice president.

In addition to its regional focus, Phoenix Seminary is keen on mentoring. Each student has a one-on-one relationship with a faculty member, local pastor, or Christian community leader, to balance head knowledge with character development. As a result of this commitment to mentoring, the seminary explicitly looks not only for good scholars, but also for teachers with a penchant for pastoring. And the effect on the work environment is noticeable. "We hire people with a shepherding heart and skills, so there's a natural bent to care for one another," says Upton.

Last Christmas, president Darryl DelHousaye publicly shared his thoughts about each of the 22 employees, then gave them the affirmations framed as gifts. "Those words were encouraging to me, as I'm sure they were to everyone," says bookkeeper Kathy Thompson. "There is no feeling of competition here, just love and concern for employees."

Wayne Grudem, research professor of Bible and theology, came to Phoenix after 24 years of teaching at other schools. "Our president often asks people, 'How can I help you?' 'How can I bless you?' 'How can I help you succeed?' His attitude has set a tone of teamwork and cooperation that has affected the whole institution," he says. "Faculty, staff, and administrators genuinely like each other and enjoy getting together to play cards or see a movie. Our first faculty retreat included a surprise square dance, with lots of laughs and sore muscles the next day."

Related Elsewhere

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.