The Spiritual Art of Business: Connecting the Daily with the Divine, By Barry L. Rowan alt

The Spiritual Art of Business

Connecting the Daily with the Divine

by Barry L. Rowan

The Spiritual Art of Business
  • Length: 176 pages
  • Number of Studies: 40
  • Published: September 05, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0763
  • ISBN: 9781514007631

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We want the thousands of hours we will work over our lifetime to matter. But how do we know they're really significant? How do we go from being defined by what we do to having our work become an expression of who we are?

There is not a quick fix but a progressive solution: it begins with surrendering our whole lives and then every moment of our lives to God. In The Spiritual Art of Business, "corporate mystic" Barry Rowan invites us to be transformed by God that he might transform the world through us as we begin to see our work as an extension of our faith. He says, "We don't derive meaning from our work; we bring meaning to our work." Relating his extensive past in high-ranking executive roles, Rowan beckons us into a connection with God that will infuse our lives, our offices, and our world with meaning.

With forty short chapters, this is not just a book to be read but instead is an invitation into an experience with God. Here's an opportunity to ponder new perspectives and see business as a chance to serve God by contributing to a better society.

"The Spiritual Art of Business can transform the way you think about your faith in the context of your work. Based on his own remarkable career, Barry's book takes you into the unvarnished crucible of the workplace—with all its gritty challenges, victories, setbacks, and difficult people—and shows you how your career can become a sacred and purposeful journey instead of just a daily and exhausting grind. Spend a few hours with Barry, and he will show you how God intends to repurpose you. The Spiritual Art of Business is a book that can transform the next few decades of your career."

Richard Stearns, president emeritus of World Vision US and author of Lead Like It Matters to God

"Working through The Spiritual Art of Business is a thought-provoking, spiritually enriching endeavor that can transform our relationship with God and our work. Barry Rowan's short and practical chapters reflect his own deep wrestling with God about the meaning of his work and all the accompanying trials and rewards. He launches us into our own 'archaeological dig' into the feelings, beliefs, and habits that so often encumber our experience of work. Do a chapter each day, using the probing reflection questions at the end, and allow yourself to be drawn deeper into the freedom and adventure available through a life of following Christ."

Katherine Leary Alsdorf, founding director of Redeemer City to City's Center for Faith and Work and consultant for faith and work ministry development

"In a conversational style that feels like a fireside chat with an old friend, Barry Rowan has distilled his study of the Bible and decades of experience as a senior executive in The Spiritual Art of Business. Each chapter is a nugget of wisdom, and the reader will be rewarded for remembering the stories and taking seriously the questions that Barry poses."

Scott Stephenson, former chairman and chief executive officer of Verisk Analytics

"Barry Rowan's decades spent in senior leadership experience are set in a new light in The Spiritual Art of Business as he humbly calls Christians to a life of surrender and service. In laying down our personal desires and plans, we can pursue transformed lives, ones realigned with God's purpose."

D. Michael Lindsay, president of Taylor University and author of Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life's Transitions

"In The Spiritual Art of Business, Barry Rowan takes us on a forty-day journey of submission and renewal in Christ. A seasoned C-suite executive, Rowan has thought deeply about the theological and practical realities of God working through him in the marketplace. And in this study he takes us on a four-part journey of surrender, transformation, realignment, and fulfillment. It's a journey every Christ-follower in business should take, and Barry is a worthy guide and mentor in this important spiritual work."

John Coleman, managing partner of Sovereign's Capital and author of The HBR Guide to Crafting Your Purpose

"God has a purpose for us, explains the apostle Paul in Romans 8:28. In The Spiritual Art of Business, Barry Rowan uses his life as a perfect example of God purposefully using his work. The wonderful reflection questions at the end of every chapter allow readers to deeply examine their lives, especially relating to their work. I recommend this book to anyone in the workplace. It would especially be great for a small group or book club to go through together, then touch base periodically afterward. God does have a purpose for all of us in our work, in different ways and at different times, to be his light on earth."

Diane Paddison, founder and president of 4word and author of Work, Love, Pray

"This is a truly helpful work, integrating deep spiritual lessons with the call to serve God and others in the business arena. The short chapters that conclude with penetrating reflection questions are perfect for creating space to do your own integrative work. It is both a blessing and a challenge!"

Ruth Haley Barton, founder of the Transforming Center and author of Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

"I have long admired how Barry Rowan integrates his commitment to God with his daily business practices. This book is a wise distillation of his learning, hard won over a wide-ranging career marked by both successes and failures. Through short and accessible chapters, Rowan encourages us to surrender our work to God, allow God to use our work to transform us, realign our work with God's purposes, and contribute to a better world through our work. This is a book to be read slowly, savored, and revisited over time."

Denise Daniels, Hudson T. Harrison Professor of Entrepreneurship at Wheaton College and author of Working in the Presence of God

"In this cogent debut, . . . Rowan's message of working in service of a higher purpose is well argued and grounded in a wealth of valuable, real-world experience. Christian professionals will be inspired."

Publishers Weekly, May 2023

Read an Excerpt



Part 1. Surrendered: Discovering Freedom in Submission to Jesus
1. Come, Follow Me
2. Gateway to Freedom
3. The Two Roots of the Radical Life
4. Our Essence Is Our Emptiness
5. Crucible of the Soul
6. Better People at Work
7. Surrendered Leadership

Part 2. Transformed: Learning New Ways of Thinking and Being
8. A Progression of Selves
9. Life as a Classroom
10. The Sine of the Times
11. Go Fast or Go Deep
12. Driven by Fear or Led by Love?
13. Calming the Storms Within
14. Our Time Is Not Our Time
15. God's To-Do List
16. Getting to No
17. Reversing the Flow
18. Traveling Companions

Part 3. Realigned: Bringing Meaning to Our Work
19. Purpose in Life and Work
20. The Three Keys to Unhappiness
21. Identity or Expression?
22. Job-Sharing with Jesus
23. High Eyes
24. Seamlessness
25. Living Right Here, Right Now
26. Alignment with God
27. Love Your Work
28. From Drudgery to Gift
29. Assets Under Management
30. Why Do We Work?

Part 4. Sent: Fulfilling God’s Will in the World
31. Shalom
32. Fluent in Love
33. Beyond Ourselves
34. The Secret of Fruitfulness
35. How May I Help?
36. The Why of Business
37. Investing in Others
38. Two Ways of Looking at Wealth
39. Remember the Poor
40. Working for Eternity



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Barry Rowan

From a range of C-suite roles, Barry Rowan, a Harvard Business School graduate, has been instrumental in building and transforming eight businesses, primarily in the technology and communications space. In addition, he serves on corporate, university, and nonprofit boards. Rowan and his wife, Linda, have two adult sons and live in Denver.