by Terry Wilhite
Crown Financial Ministries has always helped people be good stewards of their money, using principles from Scripture. With the CareerDirect Guidance System, however, Crown Financial broadens its teaching of stewardship principles to include the wise use of our time, gifts, abilities, and styles of work. With this resource, you’ll have at your fingertips a package of tools–both electronic and in print–that is exceptional, and in my opinion, a “must-have” resource for pastors or counselors.
Just by looking at the cover of the software box one would think, “this is an excellent resource for college-bound students and graduates about to enter the workforce.” That would certainly be enough reason to buy it, but there’s a good possibility that you and your staff could benefit from it, too. The chapter titles in Path-finder: A Guide to Career Decis-ion Making (the 135-page accompanying book) explain why. For example, “Looking at Work from a Biblical Perspective” is the title of Chapter One. Chapter Two helps you to “Understand Your Pattern”—that is, know what you’re cut out to do, based upon your God-given gifts, talents, and abilities.
Granted, one may know his purpose but may have never written a personal purpose statement. Chapter Three explains how. From the start, this book and interactive resources establish themselves as the best of their kind, simply because everything is cast in the light of Scripture—which is not the case with typical career resources at the local bookstore.
Chapter Four is titled “Making Career Decisions” and (in jest) offers some ideas of how to make bad career decisions, including choosing a job because of the title or because it’s the first opportunity. Chapter Five is “Gaining Wisdom for a Career Transition.” It offers sage “watch and pray” wisdom that would be applicable at any stage of one’s career. Chapter Six outlines “The Keys to Employment in the 21st Century” and covers the 10 major trends in the workplace, including globalization, corporate downsizing, rapid advances in technology, popularity of home-based businesses, and the ever-present need to stay ahead of changing work demands. Chapters Seven and Eight cover job interviews and resume writing.
Like the book, the interactive CD-ROM (Windows) has been written by Lee Ellis, a career Air Force officer and one-time POW who retired in 1989. (Points of interest, “A Guide to College Majors” is included on the CD in Adobe’s Acrobat PDF format and Career-Direct is available in paper format. One’s answers can be sent to Crown Financial to be computed.)
The interactive part took me about 45 minutes to complete. I answered as many as 190 questions in one section alone, but it is not a tiring, boring, or particularly contemplative process. One can breeze through the pages to rank interest in job responsibilities, from landscaping to transporting medical patients from one place to another. That’s the “Skills and Abilities” section. In the “Vocation Interests” section, one is quizzed for job interests, or what Ellis calls “the desires of the heart”—what you think you’d like to do. Next, expect quizzes regarding personality traits and one’s view of finances.
At the end of the entry process, which is just a matter of clicking on buttons beside possible choices, an assessment can be printed, outlining one’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in each evaluation category.
Ellis sums up: “As the expression goes, we would rather ‘teach you how to fish’ (make your own decisions) than give you a fish (decide for you). In fact, if you can ‘learn to fish’ and then teach someone else, maybe a lot of the employment, productivity, and even spiritual problems that Christians struggle with today could be resolved.”
The “assessment” that the software yields is extremely personal and poignant. “Terry, your score on the Innovation Scale shows that you are a very creative person,” the report reads, but then balances the flattery with stark realism. “While creativity and imagination are strong assets in some situations, they can be overdone if practical steps are not taken to implement new ideas.” (Advice almost as good as my wife could have written.)
Crown provides six audio messages on three CDs that will help you to create an action plan based on the assessment. The software is good for one assessment and additional assessments can be purchased for $29.95 each.
In a day when there’s so much corporate downsizing, unemployment, and work-related stress, this resource would be a blessing to a pastor and his staff, personally, as they do their jobs of helping the people in the pews, many of whom could directly benefit greatly from CareerDirect. More information is available at www.crown.org or by calling 1-800-722-1976.
Terry Wilhite is a multimedia and communications specialist. His DVD, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Multimedia Teams will be out soon. He welcomes your article ideas. His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org