This book aims to equip disciples to serve, love, and lead in the workplace and for the common good. At times, this book focuses on leaders and potential leaders, because leaders have so much influence on work. I interviewed hundreds of people for this project and often began by asking, “Do you like your job, and why?” So often, the reply began, “I like my work because my boss . . .” But this book is for everyone who works, leaders and ordinary laborers, paid or unpaid.

As the title of this book suggests, most of us want to make a difference, small or large, by our work. We may want to make our corner of the world a better place. Or we may aspire to earn a little more money or to work in a more positive place. In doing that we also make a difference. So then, whether we schedule appointments, clean buildings, fill orders, or run a small business, we can do it well or poorly, with a smile or a frown. In that way, everyone shapes their immediate neighborhood and perhaps the wider world.

I wrote this book during a pandemic that demonstrated how little we control our work. Overnight, a virus altered the economic landscape. Jobs disappeared. Businesses died and were born. The office lost importance. The disruption was staggering, even for economies that are accustomed to perpetual change and “creative destruction.”

Anyone can read a book alone; I designed this book to be discussed in a community of eight to twenty people. The chapter discussion questions were written for the cohort ministry of the Center for Faith and Work, St. Louis. Ideally, cohorts meet for seven to ten sessions and end with a project aimed at changing one small corner of the world. To learn more about starting a cohort, visit the website for the Center for Faith and Work, St. Louis:

Preliminary Reflections

Take time to jot down notes on each question before the first group discussion.

  1. List three to five aspects of your work that most enliven you, aspects of work that make you eager to start the morning. They are tasks you might do for free, if you didn’t need income.
  2. List concrete ways you can show your love for God while at work. When does it seem hard to love God or neighbor at your job?
  3. What are some recent times when your work felt hard, even grueling? What are recent times when it felt like a calling from God?

—Daniel M. Doriani, Work That Makes a Difference (releasing 7/21/21)