Published on April 10, 2024 by Morgan Black  
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Samford University Brock School of Business’s guiding principles are formed around one goal: preparing Christian businessmen and women to lead in today’s global business environment. Paired with robust academic rigor, this mission provides a firm foundation upon which students can lean on when they enter the workforce.

Through Brock School of Business’s Managerial Values class, assistant professor Nathan Kirkpatrick pairs the study of ethical personal and business decision-making with a distinct biblical worldview. In the class, students explore the nature of ethical dilemmas faced by corporate managers and how the Bible can provide wisdom and understanding toward dealing and relating with society and respective stakeholders. Practically, the course prepares students to not just choose work based on status, pay, title or career trajectory, but to focus on choosing working based on God-given abilities and to fully understand a Christian’s role in the workplace. 

Kirkpatrick said, “This class is inspired by and is permeated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our business school’s heartbeat for helping students see how the Gospel changes everything in their lives, particularly their work and vocational paths. They are being discipled to see that work in and of itself will not satisfy the longings in their heart, and one’s identity is not in their work or performance, but in Jesus’ performance on their behalf and their status as a child of God.”

To prepare to lead the class, Kirkpatrick visited the Center for Faith & Work (CFW) in New York City. The center, an arm of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, explores and investigates the Gospel’s power to renew hearts, communities and the world, through our daily work. While visiting the center, Kirkpatrick met with its director, Paul Sohn, to learn about their programming which places emphasis on theological and discipleship training, community formation, and exploring and fostering innovation and imagination in all fields of work.

Kirkpatrick said, “Visiting the Center for Faith & Work and learning about their approach to integrating faith in work was a wonderful experience. Paul has now served as a guest speaker for our class and will again this fall. His counsel, experiences and resource recommendations continue to help guide emphases in the class.”

In addition to consulting with Sohn, numerous texts have influenced the course including the popular book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work with God’s Work by Tim Keller. Some primary themes Keller emphasizes in the book are that work was created by God before sin entered the world, that work is good and we were created for it, and that we should use work for human flourishing and for the advancement of God’s kingdom.

Noah Letcher, a senior marketing and communication studies major, said he’s grown personally, professional and spiritually by taking Kirkpatrick’s course. Letcher said, “I have learned a lot about the importance of being a Christian in the workplace and centering our actions around what brings the Lord glory. I have not only grown personally and professionally, but also spiritually. One overarching theme through this class is the idea of being the ‘most encouraging one in the room.’ Dr. Kirkpatrick emphasizes the importance of viewing work biblically and as an avenue that showcases the Lord through our actions. I appreciate that Brock School of Business has not only prepared me with the skills to go into the workforce but has also built up my faith so that I have a firm understanding of ‘why’ I do what I do every day.”

This class, among others in Brock School of Business and across Samford’s campus, is a direct reflection of the university’s mission and a tangible example of the faith formation pillar of Fidelitas, the university’s strategic plan.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.