Productivity is not what you think. When you think of productivity, you think of an upper-class CEO yelling at his employees for not getting more done, threatening consequences if the report isn’t completed by Wednesday. This is tyrannical leadership, not productivity. “Stewardship” and “productivity” are interchangeable. Or, as Tim Challies put it: “Productivity is effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.” Seen this way, every Christian should care about productivity since every Christian is called to steward what God has entrusted to him or her, and will one day give account for this stewardship.
In 2016, Zondervan released What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. The book is on the intersection of Christian faith and productivity and, as the subtitle suggests, Perman teaches how the gospel affects the way Christians think about personal productivity. Gospel-Driven Productivity, or GDP, as Perman calls it, is the distinguishing mark that separates a secular understanding of productivity from a Christian one. The book has sold well and was named on Zondervan’s “Best of the Decade” list. Perman is also the author of a second book on productivity.
Less than a year before the release of Perman’s book, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity, hit the market by Cruciform Press. Written by Tim Challies, the book is about productivity from a Christian worldview. Whereas Perman’s book is on the theory of productivity, Challies’ book is on the practical side of productivity. The book is short and succinct. Five plus years after reading the book, I am still daily applying some of the material to my life.
Before Challies’ book, I’m not sure I had ever heard of a book on the subject, or if it was ethically permissible for Christians to talk about being productive. I’m not alone. When Christians hear the word “productivity,” they often think of secular business. But Challies debunks this mischaracterization. Challies, instead, teaches that productivity is about stewarding your life for the glory of God and the good of others. Apathy about productivity means negligence in stewardship which means disobedience. Do More Better recently inched over 700 Amazon reviews.
A book that has not garnered the same amount of attention as the titles mentioned above, but is still worthy of consideration, is Brandon Crowe’s Every Day Matters. “I know of no better book to place in the hands of aspiring Christian men and women who want their life’s trajectories to be productive for Christ and his kingdom,” says Kent Hughes in the foreword. The premise of the book is captured in the title: Every day matters or, as R.C. Sproul used to say, “Right now counts forever.” Crowe’s book is practical, well-written, and theologically sound.
But the CPM movement is more than books. It’s also courses, email newsletters, and online communities. Enter Reagan Rose, the founder of Redeeming Productivity, a web-based ministry that teaches “Personal productivity, from a Christian worldview, for the glory of God.” The ministry began as a hobby. But in early 2021, Rose took a leap of faith and went all-in with Redeeming Productivity as his full-time vocation, and by the end of the year, the ministry was financially sustaining. The fact that Rose was able to turn an internet ministry on Christian productivity into a full-time job in less than a year reveals Rose’s adept business savvy, but it also reveals the desire for Christian resources on productivity. Turns out, Christian productivity is not a viability. Rose has a book bearing the name of his ministry forthcoming with Moody this fall.