Make Work Matter

Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World

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A path toward more meaningful work that makes an impact

In recent decades, work has changed dramatically. Yet we are still sent into the new world of work with old, outdated tools, expectations, and strategies. This leaves us ill-equipped in our pursuit of meaningful work that will impact our communities and change the world. The result? Unmet expectations and unfulfilled longings.

Make Work Matter provides a blueprint for a better future. Filled with stories and insights from faithful entrepreneurs and built on solid research, this book will help you

· discover what God is calling you to do in a changing world
· define where you are in this season of work
· embrace what the Bible says (and doesn't say) about calling
· develop a mindset and habits suited for the new world of work
· reflect on and work out ways that sustain you on the journey

It's time to close the gap between what you're doing now and the life-giving work you desire. This book will help you chart your own way forward.


"The pursuit of good work takes work--and this book is a powerful tool to focus your labors and ease the challenge of that worthy pursuit. I recommend it heartily."--Dave Evans, cofounder, Stanford Life Design Lab; coauthor, Designing Your Life and Designing Your Work Life; and venture partner, Praxis Labs

"Most of us spend more waking hours on work than anything else. Make Work Matter gives you the road map you need to maximize those hours for your own growth, calling, fulfillment, and formation."--Kara Powell, PhD, chief of leadership formation and executive director, Fuller Youth Institute; coauthor, 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager


Endorsements

"Make Work Matter is a book that, like your work, matters. I have been working, teaching, and advocating for a deeper and broader integration of faith and work in hopes of a fuller realization of God's invitation to participate in the ongoing incarnation through our work for over four decades. Happily, Michaela O'Donnell of Fuller Seminary's DePree Center is one of my favorite and most trusted colleagues in this mission. Michaela is a practitioner and a doer--as am I. She's not your typical academic or 'thought leader.' She's built businesses, careers, and a life. She just happens to be attentive enough to what has and hasn't been helpful in her practice to have also become a brilliant teacher and communicator. This book goes the next step beyond the many books now espousing good ideas about the sacred value of good work and moves into how to actively discern, find, and do it. The pursuit of good work takes work--and this book is a powerful tool to focus your labors and ease the challenge of that worthy pursuit. I recommend it heartily."

Dave Evans, cofounder, Stanford Life Design Lab; coauthor, Designing Your Life and Designing Your Work Life; and venture partner, Praxis Labs

"Most of us spend more waking hours on work than anything else. In the midst of the demands of navigating the twists and turns of work today, Make Work Matter gives you the road map you need to maximize those hours for your own growth, calling, fulfillment, and formation."

Kara Powell, PhD, chief of leadership formation and executive director, Fuller Youth Institute; coauthor, 3 Big Questions that Change Every Teenager

"Dr. Michaela O'Donnell's Make Work Matter offers a life-giving, meaning-making invitation, recipe, and coaching-session about work--all in one. She is a very motivating exemplar of what she writes about, and her voice resonates with lived wisdom, creativity, and courage. In a time of extraordinary changes in work, turn here for true help."

Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Honestly, there aren't many people who can actually help you make your work matter. A challenge like that requires a blend of theory, theology, and pragmatism. Most people have expertise in just one, so too often their advice is (at best) half baked. Michaela is different. She's an entrepreneur, practical theologian, and academic. She gets the messiness of it all and teaches us to wrestle with the possibilities. This book, like Michaela, is approachable, down to earth, and just plain helpful. Michaela, where were you when I was trying to find meaning in the junkyard?"

Roy Goble, CEO of Goble Properties; cofounder, PathLight International; author, Junkyard Wisdom: Resisting the Whisper of Wealth in a World of Broken Parts and Salvaged: Leadership Lessons Pulled from the Junkyard

"This is one of those books that ends up dog-eared, coffee-stained, and filled with scribbles in the margins. In the whitewater of a rapidly changing world of work, Michaela O'Donnell is the trusted guide that you are looking for. She'll be the first to tell you that navigating issues of work, career, vocation, identity, resilience, failure, and--yes--purpose, meaning, and success is not easy. Indeed, you are likely going to find yourself falling in and gasping for air. But this book is part lifeline, part instruction manual, part map and compass, and a whole lot of hard-earned wisdom. At every fork in the river of your career, you will come back to it again and again."

Tod Bolsinger, author, Tempered Resilience: How Leaders Are Formed in the Crucible of Change

"As a fellow laborer in the faith and work space with Michaela, I wanted to cheer out loud when I read her book, because it is such a practical wisdom for the angst around 'call' for many workers, but especially millennials. Her work reflects not only theological truth, but also the hard-earned wisdom that only one who has walked the path can unpack. Unsure of your work's role in God's redemptive story? Feeling the urge to pontificate your vocation but without a theological rudder? Look no further. Michaela's book has come to lead you into a journey of understanding your work with God at the center."

Missy Wallace, managing director, Global Strategic Services; Faith & Work Content Specialist at Redeemer City to City

"Make Work Matter is surprising in many ways. Unlike so many other books on work, it is based, not just on the writer's solid convictions, but also on research into the working lives of real people. Yet the book is also filled with astute theological insights that are presented as if from a good friend seeking wisdom rather than from an esteemed professor with all the answers. Michaela generously opens up her own life to us, inviting us into a shared process of discovery and vocational discernment. Make Work Matter is perfect for folks in the early stages of figuring out their work lives. But, unexpectedly, it also speaks powerfully to older readers who are wondering about God's callings in the third third of life."

Mark D. Roberts, PhD, author, Life for Leaders and 52 Workday Prayers; founder, De Pree Center's Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative

"We learn best through story and metaphor. Through these genres, this much-needed field guide helps us to make sense and meaning out of our daily work, how it connects with our calling (an oft-used but little-understood term), and where that fits with our identity as Christians. Theologically grounded and eminently practical, this guide is both a relief and a gift. A relief, in that it untangles and creates pathways with real tools toward clarifying and uncovering calling. A gift, in that Michaela shares her own journey and story with all its highs and lows, generously and vulnerably, to illuminate the way for those who follow behind. An intrepid journey not for the faint of heart, now one has a faithful and experienced travel partner with a backpack full of tools, insight and wisdom."

Lisa Slayton, founder and CEO, Tamim Partners; director, CityGate, an initiative of Denver Institute for Faith and Work

"In Make Work Matter, Michaela O'Donnell helps us understand the delicate intersection of our work and our calling. Through interviews of others who have already navigated the journey and her own personal experience, she helps us understand that the question is not what we are going to do, but rather who we are going to become. If you are trying to find a purpose for life and work that has meaning, Make Work Matter is a great place to start!"

Dee Ann Turner, vice president, Chick-fil-A, Inc. (retired); author, Bet on Talent and Crush Your Career

"Michaela O'Donnell is the rare combination of an academic-practitioner who provides useful step-by-step guidance for how to create meaning and purpose in one's daily work, and she does so in a style that is a genuine joy to read. Using stories from real life, O'Donnell shows that the entrepreneurial way is not only for those who start big companies but for anyone who is navigating the ever-changing world of work. Make Work Matter is a gift for those at the beginning of their careers, for those whose jobs are changing, for the entrepreneur starting a new venture, and for anyone asking questions about how their faith and their work can illuminate one another."

Angela Gorrell, PhD, assistant professor of practical theology, Baylor University; author, The Gravity of Joy: A Story of Being Lost and Found

"With the compassion of a doting shepherd, the precision of a practical theologian, and the discerning eye of a cultural exegete, Dr. Michaela O'Donnell has gifted us with a down-to-earth book written for twenty-five-to-forty-five-year-old working Christians who find themselves smack dab in the midst of a new work world saddled with old tools and sadly ill equipped to be a world changer. Through masterful and compelling storytelling and end-of-chapter practical exercises, O'Donnell provides this age-group a blueprint for their own maturation for the path forward."

Luke Brad Bobo, director of strategic partnerships, Made to Flourish, Overland Park, KS


The Author

  1. Michaela O'Donnell PhD
    Emily Morgan

    Michaela O'Donnell PhD

    Michaela O'Donnell, PhD, is executive director of Fuller Seminary's De Pree Center for Leadership. She is an entrepreneur, a teacher, and a sought-after speaker and consultant who regularly presents on the topics of vocation, career, and leadership to...

    Continue reading about Michaela O'Donnell PhD


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