Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the content
Productivity and Grace: Management and Labor at a Denver Manufacturer

Productivity and Grace: Management and Labor at a Denver Manufacturer

Steve Hill and Jim Howey's leadership style is unusual in an industry known for top-down hierarchies.

Steve and Jim lament how Christian business leaders are often short-sold. When these leaders are reduced to the number of tracts they dispense or Ichthuses they display, they argue, it undermines their primary contributions to our world: valuable products, meaningful work, and life-giving camaraderie.

"Operating a business unto the Lord is about producing a quality product or service, treating people well, and stewarding the proceeds," Howey says. "That's it . . . . Being a Christian in business isn't about tricking your employees into hearing the gospel. It's not about being a donor to nonprofits. It's not about making as much money now so we can retire and serve on ministry boards."

Their greatest challenge is balancing their equal commitments to productivity and to grace.

"We want to cultivate a healthy work environment," says Howey. "But we want people to get their work done. The pendulum of grace can swing too far. This isn't a love fest. It's a business."

The demands of a fast-paced manufacturing business play into this tension. When making simple decisions like how to use timecards and when to permit flexible work hours, Hill and Howey wrestle with how to be both highly productive and highly loving, to balance employee care and manufacturing excellence.

"It's seemingly impossible to have a highly productive work environment and not treat employees as simply factors of production," Hill says. "But we believe that all things are possible with God."

Blender Products isn't just a warehouse filled with steel and rivets. It's a manufacturing family. In an industry lacking exemplars, they forge a countercultural environment teeming in dignity, ingenuity, and grace.

Chris Horst is the director of development at HOPE International. He and his family live in Denver, Colorado. Chris blogs at Smorgasblurb, and you can connect with him on Twitter @chrishorst.


Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

When I learned that kids in my city couldn't swim, I started to rethink how much I'd invested in overseas missions.
Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

For Harrison Higgins, building beautiful furniture is not simply a steady job but a sacrament unto God.
Faith in a Fallen Empire

Faith in a Fallen Empire

Detroit's list of maladies is long. But some Christians' commitment to its renewal is longer.
'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

How I answered the question would prove crucial to addressing racial divides in our D.C. neighborhood.

Comments Are Closed

No comments


Make a contribution to help support the This Is Our City project and the nonprofit ministry Christianity Today.Learn more ...


RT @MissionYear: A great collection of articles from @ct_city @CTmagazine http://t.co/OLmjHvUIfr

In honor of Kim Newlen, a friend of @ct_city who died Saturday, we share our story of her battle with cancer: http://t.co/S3FGKhVDuo

RT @CTmagazine: After three years, hundreds of stories, thousands of readers, our tribute to This Is Our City: http://t.co/Gz35NhAdqc @ct_c2026

The top 10 stories of @editor @KatelynBeaty picks her favorites and reflects on lessons learned in 3 years: http://t.co/BQxYdaoyD9

"As a community we have to do a better job of rescuing these young people." The newest (and last) City video: http://t.co/vZL0cRKO7H #RVA