Baylor Alum Leads Others to Work for a Higher CallNov. 8, 2010
By Nincy Mathew
When we step into the workplace, does our spirituality become irrelevant? Baylor alum David Atchison says no. His non-profit organization, Higher Call Ministries, helps bridge the gap between work and faith for Christian professionals.
Higher Call reaches out to men and women in the marketplace at large, within a specific industry or local church. It serves to integrate faith and work by helping people understand how relevant the Scriptures are to them.
"We attempt to use a variety of venues for communicating Biblical truth as it relates to workplace issues," Atchison said.
Higher Call distributes an e-mail devotional, Reflections on a Higher Call, that identifies and discusses issues on work and faith biblically.
"Workplace believers are often influenced by the values of our culture without being aware of it," he said. "We need to be paying attention to the messages that are coming from our culture and our marketplace."
Specifically within the retail shopping center industry, Atchison has formed a team of faithful professionals called the Retail Christian Network (RCN). The organization has annual gatherings of up to 500 colleagues at national and regional meetings, encouraging those in the industry to live out their faith wherever they work and live.
"What was thought to be a one-time gathering turned into a full-fledged ministry with a nationwide team of volunteers," Atchison said. "RCN hopes to become to the shopping industry what FCA is to the athletic world!"
RCN also holds smaller gatherings at six regional meetings each fall, connecting professional retailers, shopping center developers, brokers, bankers and contractors.
"Our prayer is to come alongside other professionals who have a vision for reaching their industry, and to provide direction, assistance and encouragement," Atchison said.
David Atchison, BBA '78, began his career in real estate although his initial plans were in ministry.
"My father was a pastor, and my earliest memories include sitting around our family table with evangelists, missionaries and ministry leaders," Atchison said. But while attending Baylor, Atchison said it "became clear that my calling was not in a church context."
He was a successful and young professional when economic downturns closed the door on his future plans.
"After I lost all my wealth and standing in the marketplace, I spent a year praying about what I should pursue next," Atchison said.
A few years later, Atchison and his wife began a discipleship ministry for families and Atchison continued to do real estate consulting on the side.
"Living in the business and ministry worlds, I began to notice the common disconnect between people's professional and spiritual ideals--the 'divorce' of business from faith," Atchison said.
As years went by, the ministry gradually focused more on the marketplace and became Higher Call.
"Just helping professionals recalibrate their approach to work by leaning into this one truth can make a huge difference in a person's life and sometimes an entire company," he said.
Higher Call Ministries is located in Franklin, Tenn. For more information, visit www.highercallministries.org . Higher Call hopes to launch a summer internship program in Nashville by 2011-2012.