8 episodes

De Pree Leadership Lecture Series Fuller Theological Seminary

    • Religion & Spirituality

    Human Flourishing: Theological Reflections on the High Calling of Business Leadership Q&A

    Human Flourishing: Theological Reflections on the High Calling of Business Leadership Q&A

    Students, educators, and businesspeople from all avenues of the marketplace converged on Travis Auditorium Monday, February 8, for a lecture featuring Robert W. Lane, chairman of the board of agricultural manufacturing corporation Deere and Company. Mr. Lane spoke on “Human Flourishing: Theological Reflections on the High Calling of Business Leadership” as part of the Max and Esther De Pree Presidential Leadership Lecture series. Lane reflected on his own theology of leadership over the span of his career with John Deere, while emphasizing that his role as a business leader in a capitalist economic system requires the ability to see Kingdom potential in the marketplace. The lecture was followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.

    Lane shared the ways in which he was privileged to be like Timothy, having parents and grandparents who followed the Lord in faith and in study and understanding of the Scriptures. “These words become fresh every day, and it’s this freshness that I sought to bring into my workplace,” he said. Lane was strongly influenced in his own leadership development by his days as a student at Wheaton College and by two pastoral mentors, Anglican rector John Stott and Wheaton College philosophy professor Arthur Holmes.

    Lane shared that the changes he has brought about as chairman of Deere and Company are focused around four themes: high aspirations, seeking to create not just “good products” but a “great business”; gritty ethics, teaching everyone in the company that John Deere will strive to do business in the most transparent way possible; uncommon teamwork, embracing diversity so that every employee in every plant worldwide is uncommonly aligned to a common mission; and integrated metrics, making global processes more unified, clear, and measurable.

    While he demonstrated the importance of thinking innovatively and communicating clear values in order to bring about lasting positive change within a corporation, Lane pointed out that what his company does is also important for generations to come. When employees see their everyday work not just as assembling a tractor, but as building a lasting business that serves to feed coming generations, their work affirms the goodness in the world God has created. As Lane learned from his mentors, “God loves matter; he made it.” We must therefore seek an integrated worldview, that through us and our work, as through Abraham’s faith, all the families of the earth might be blessed. He compared the Christian mission in the world to “the kind of work that is not seen, but comes through in someone in the far reaches of Kazakhstan receiving a really good product with which to seed their land.” This concern for the common good has influenced Lane’s commitment to a model of leadership that has human flourishing as its core purpose.

    Robert Lane, who joined John Deere in 1982, has served as chairman of the board since 2000 and was also chief executive officer for nine years. The Presidential Leadership Lecture series is named for Max and Esther De Pree, longtime partners of Fuller. Max De Pree, known for his leadership wisdom, served for 40 years on Fuller’s Board of Trustees. In 1996 the Max De Pree Center for Leadership was established at Fuller to promote De Pree’s understanding of leadership and to extend his legacy.

    • 32 min
    Human Flourishing: Theological Reflections on the High Calling of Business Leadership

    Human Flourishing: Theological Reflections on the High Calling of Business Leadership

    Students, educators, and businesspeople from all avenues of the marketplace converged on Travis Auditorium Monday, February 8, for a lecture featuring Robert W. Lane, chairman of the board of agricultural manufacturing corporation Deere and Company. Mr. Lane spoke on “Human Flourishing: Theological Reflections on the High Calling of Business Leadership” as part of the Max and Esther De Pree Presidential Leadership Lecture series. Lane reflected on his own theology of leadership over the span of his career with John Deere, while emphasizing that his role as a business leader in a capitalist economic system requires the ability to see Kingdom potential in the marketplace. The lecture was followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.

    Lane shared the ways in which he was privileged to be like Timothy, having parents and grandparents who followed the Lord in faith and in study and understanding of the Scriptures. “These words become fresh every day, and it’s this freshness that I sought to bring into my workplace,” he said. Lane was strongly influenced in his own leadership development by his days as a student at Wheaton College and by two pastoral mentors, Anglican rector John Stott and Wheaton College philosophy professor Arthur Holmes.

    Lane shared that the changes he has brought about as chairman of Deere and Company are focused around four themes: high aspirations, seeking to create not just “good products” but a “great business”; gritty ethics, teaching everyone in the company that John Deere will strive to do business in the most transparent way possible; uncommon teamwork, embracing diversity so that every employee in every plant worldwide is uncommonly aligned to a common mission; and integrated metrics, making global processes more unified, clear, and measurable.

    While he demonstrated the importance of thinking innovatively and communicating clear values in order to bring about lasting positive change within a corporation, Lane pointed out that what his company does is also important for generations to come. When employees see their everyday work not just as assembling a tractor, but as building a lasting business that serves to feed coming generations, their work affirms the goodness in the world God has created. As Lane learned from his mentors, “God loves matter; he made it.” We must therefore seek an integrated worldview, that through us and our work, as through Abraham’s faith, all the families of the earth might be blessed. He compared the Christian mission in the world to “the kind of work that is not seen, but comes through in someone in the far reaches of Kazakhstan receiving a really good product with which to seed their land.” This concern for the common good has influenced Lane’s commitment to a model of leadership that has human flourishing as its core purpose.

    Robert Lane, who joined John Deere in 1982, has served as chairman of the board since 2000 and was also chief executive officer for nine years. The Presidential Leadership Lecture series is named for Max and Esther De Pree, longtime partners of Fuller. Max De Pree, known for his leadership wisdom, served for 40 years on Fuller’s Board of Trustees. In 1996 the Max De Pree Center for Leadership was established at Fuller to promote De Pree’s understanding of leadership and to extend his legacy.

    • 56 min
    • video
    The Moral Foundation of Markets (Part 2)

    The Moral Foundation of Markets (Part 2)

    Michael Novak, author and former U.S. ambassador, lectured on “The Moral Foundation of Markets.” The talk, sponsored by the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller, focused on the interaction between faith, morals, work and society. Perhaps most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Novak is a strong supporter of such a system and outlined its merits in the face of common misgivings.

    “There’s been a long resistance to a capitalist economy by religious folk,” Novak observed, “But no other system so rapidly raises up the living condition of the poor.” In the past 100 years there is no “socialist or third world experiment” that has fared as well. For Novak, the fact that the poor are drawn to a capitalist economy is proof that they actually gain the most from it. In the case of immigrants, almost 100 percent of them came to America in poverty, and yet only 12 percent of Americans are considered poor, proving that those who flocked to the land of opportunity found themselves lifted into a better life by democratic capitalism. “We must measure capitalism by how well it raises up the poor—that’s what it was invented for,” he stated.

    But Novak is aware of the arguments against democratic capitalism, especially those that identify it as an amoral or immoral system. He acknowledges the need of humans, as moral animals, for a moral economic system, but also believes the morality of capitalism has been understated by the arguments of Marx and Lenin. Looking to the history of capitalism to refute such accusations, Novak showed how it moved a society ruled by an aristocracy resorting to violence to obtain scarce commodities to one that focused on the source of wealth and obtaining it “not by war, but by wit.”

    This “employment of human wit to develop goods and services,” otherwise known as enterprise, is what Novak describes as the distinctive, defining element of a capitalist economy. He went on to identify ten moral advantages to capitalism, derived from the works of Scottish philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith. Such advantages include the awakening of the poor from isolation and indolence, the mixing of social classes, encouragement of literacy, and stimulated upward mobility. Moreover, Novak stated that envy, which he calls “one of the most destructive social evils,” is diminished by a capitalist system. “It promotes self-discovery and the pursuit of personal happiness rather than a false life marked by envy of others,” he said.

    Continuing to praise the moral attributes of capitalism, Novak said that it is a system built on an interest for the common good—one that “lights a fire in the spirit of invention” and is “designed to derive the best out of people.” In his concluding statements, he was quick to acknowledge that capitalism cannot be equated with the Kingdom of God and must be viewed as a poor and clumsy system, albeit better than its rivals. “Capitalism is not the paradise of humankind,” Novak said, “But it is a highly moral system, bringing out the best and checking the worst in us.”

    • 58 min
    • video
    The Moral Foundation of Markets (Part 1)

    The Moral Foundation of Markets (Part 1)

    Michael Novak, author and former U.S. ambassador, lectured on “The Moral Foundation of Markets.” The talk, sponsored by the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller, focused on the interaction between faith, morals, work and society. Perhaps most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Novak is a strong supporter of such a system and outlined its merits in the face of common misgivings.

    “There’s been a long resistance to a capitalist economy by religious folk,” Novak observed, “But no other system so rapidly raises up the living condition of the poor.” In the past 100 years there is no “socialist or third world experiment” that has fared as well. For Novak, the fact that the poor are drawn to a capitalist economy is proof that they actually gain the most from it. In the case of immigrants, almost 100 percent of them came to America in poverty, and yet only 12 percent of Americans are considered poor, proving that those who flocked to the land of opportunity found themselves lifted into a better life by democratic capitalism. “We must measure capitalism by how well it raises up the poor—that’s what it was invented for,” he stated.

    But Novak is aware of the arguments against democratic capitalism, especially those that identify it as an amoral or immoral system. He acknowledges the need of humans, as moral animals, for a moral economic system, but also believes the morality of capitalism has been understated by the arguments of Marx and Lenin. Looking to the history of capitalism to refute such accusations, Novak showed how it moved a society ruled by an aristocracy resorting to violence to obtain scarce commodities to one that focused on the source of wealth and obtaining it “not by war, but by wit.”

    This “employment of human wit to develop goods and services,” otherwise known as enterprise, is what Novak describes as the distinctive, defining element of a capitalist economy. He went on to identify ten moral advantages to capitalism, derived from the works of Scottish philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith. Such advantages include the awakening of the poor from isolation and indolence, the mixing of social classes, encouragement of literacy, and stimulated upward mobility. Moreover, Novak stated that envy, which he calls “one of the most destructive social evils,” is diminished by a capitalist system. “It promotes self-discovery and the pursuit of personal happiness rather than a false life marked by envy of others,” he said.

    Continuing to praise the moral attributes of capitalism, Novak said that it is a system built on an interest for the common good—one that “lights a fire in the spirit of invention” and is “designed to derive the best out of people.” In his concluding statements, he was quick to acknowledge that capitalism cannot be equated with the Kingdom of God and must be viewed as a poor and clumsy system, albeit better than its rivals. “Capitalism is not the paradise of humankind,” Novak said, “But it is a highly moral system, bringing out the best and checking the worst in us.”

    • 37 min
    The Moral Foundation of Markets (Part 2)

    The Moral Foundation of Markets (Part 2)

    Michael Novak, author and former U.S. ambassador, lectured on “The Moral Foundation of Markets.” The talk, sponsored by the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller, focused on the interaction between faith, morals, work and society. Perhaps most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Novak is a strong supporter of such a system and outlined its merits in the face of common misgivings.

    “There’s been a long resistance to a capitalist economy by religious folk,” Novak observed, “But no other system so rapidly raises up the living condition of the poor.” In the past 100 years there is no “socialist or third world experiment” that has fared as well. For Novak, the fact that the poor are drawn to a capitalist economy is proof that they actually gain the most from it. In the case of immigrants, almost 100 percent of them came to America in poverty, and yet only 12 percent of Americans are considered poor, proving that those who flocked to the land of opportunity found themselves lifted into a better life by democratic capitalism. “We must measure capitalism by how well it raises up the poor—that’s what it was invented for,” he stated.

    But Novak is aware of the arguments against democratic capitalism, especially those that identify it as an amoral or immoral system. He acknowledges the need of humans, as moral animals, for a moral economic system, but also believes the morality of capitalism has been understated by the arguments of Marx and Lenin. Looking to the history of capitalism to refute such accusations, Novak showed how it moved a society ruled by an aristocracy resorting to violence to obtain scarce commodities to one that focused on the source of wealth and obtaining it “not by war, but by wit.”

    This “employment of human wit to develop goods and services,” otherwise known as enterprise, is what Novak describes as the distinctive, defining element of a capitalist economy. He went on to identify ten moral advantages to capitalism, derived from the works of Scottish philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith. Such advantages include the awakening of the poor from isolation and indolence, the mixing of social classes, encouragement of literacy, and stimulated upward mobility. Moreover, Novak stated that envy, which he calls “one of the most destructive social evils,” is diminished by a capitalist system. “It promotes self-discovery and the pursuit of personal happiness rather than a false life marked by envy of others,” he said.

    Continuing to praise the moral attributes of capitalism, Novak said that it is a system built on an interest for the common good—one that “lights a fire in the spirit of invention” and is “designed to derive the best out of people.” In his concluding statements, he was quick to acknowledge that capitalism cannot be equated with the Kingdom of God and must be viewed as a poor and clumsy system, albeit better than its rivals. “Capitalism is not the paradise of humankind,” Novak said, “But it is a highly moral system, bringing out the best and checking the worst in us.”

    • 58 min
    The Moral Foundation of Markets (Part 1)

    The Moral Foundation of Markets (Part 1)

    Michael Novak, author and former U.S. ambassador, lectured on “The Moral Foundation of Markets.” The talk, sponsored by the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller, focused on the interaction between faith, morals, work and society. Perhaps most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Novak is a strong supporter of such a system and outlined its merits in the face of common misgivings.

    “There’s been a long resistance to a capitalist economy by religious folk,” Novak observed, “But no other system so rapidly raises up the living condition of the poor.” In the past 100 years there is no “socialist or third world experiment” that has fared as well. For Novak, the fact that the poor are drawn to a capitalist economy is proof that they actually gain the most from it. In the case of immigrants, almost 100 percent of them came to America in poverty, and yet only 12 percent of Americans are considered poor, proving that those who flocked to the land of opportunity found themselves lifted into a better life by democratic capitalism. “We must measure capitalism by how well it raises up the poor—that’s what it was invented for,” he stated.

    But Novak is aware of the arguments against democratic capitalism, especially those that identify it as an amoral or immoral system. He acknowledges the need of humans, as moral animals, for a moral economic system, but also believes the morality of capitalism has been understated by the arguments of Marx and Lenin. Looking to the history of capitalism to refute such accusations, Novak showed how it moved a society ruled by an aristocracy resorting to violence to obtain scarce commodities to one that focused on the source of wealth and obtaining it “not by war, but by wit.”

    This “employment of human wit to develop goods and services,” otherwise known as enterprise, is what Novak describes as the distinctive, defining element of a capitalist economy. He went on to identify ten moral advantages to capitalism, derived from the works of Scottish philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith. Such advantages include the awakening of the poor from isolation and indolence, the mixing of social classes, encouragement of literacy, and stimulated upward mobility. Moreover, Novak stated that envy, which he calls “one of the most destructive social evils,” is diminished by a capitalist system. “It promotes self-discovery and the pursuit of personal happiness rather than a false life marked by envy of others,” he said.

    Continuing to praise the moral attributes of capitalism, Novak said that it is a system built on an interest for the common good—one that “lights a fire in the spirit of invention” and is “designed to derive the best out of people.” In his concluding statements, he was quick to acknowledge that capitalism cannot be equated with the Kingdom of God and must be viewed as a poor and clumsy system, albeit better than its rivals. “Capitalism is not the paradise of humankind,” Novak said, “But it is a highly moral system, bringing out the best and checking the worst in us.”

    • 37 min

Top Podcasts In Religion & Spirituality

More by Fuller Theological Seminary