Blog Post – Navigating Faith and Works

Johana Desir

This week I celebrated my two-month anniversary at The NextDoor, I am still as excited today as I was back in January when the offer was made to me. However, truth be told, I didn’t know if the next major step in my young and promising career path, should be a faith-based, non-profit organization. I mean, for 8 years I was cultivated and mentored in the for-profit side of addiction treatment, very much business driven with very aggressive numbers, goals, and very strong personalities. This would certainly be a very challenging departure from what I had known. I was worried about employee mindset, what to say, how to say it. Could I truly be open and honest to my colleagues without the extra emotionality that I had often heard comes with being in a faith-based agency? If someone sneezed and I didn’t say “bless-you” would that make them look at me as less of “a Christian”? From my point of view, those were very legitimate concerns that I had.

Once my fear waned a bit, I was reminded of Dr. A. R Bernard’s principle of “Christ in Culture”. Meaning, don’t just speak about your faith, but you show it in deeds and action. “Faith and Works” So I decided the best way I can be effective in my new role in a “faith-based” organization is to walk the walk and talk the talk. Come through those doors every day thinking, “how will I exercise my faith today in my professional setting”. The best way to do that, is to plan and create strategies, and execute the vision and mission that my leaders have set before me; which is to open the doors at The NextDoor wide open and have the opportunity to serve and rescue more women in need of treatment. My job as the Chief of Business Functions is to think of business strategies for the agency, the women we serve, and the employees that help us do that, in that order. This means, in a loving and yet firm manner I make and execute tough decisions, and set strong priorities and objectives focusing on business goals. Realizing, that too should be the organizational goals of a non-profit, faith-based agency. I must think and do both “Faith and works”. One cannot exist without the other!  That is the best way to serve and honor my faith in my professional life.

In closing, I am reminded of this Stanley C Brown, illustration “A young boy, on an errand for his mother, had just bought a dozen eggs. Walking out of the store, he tripped and dropped the sack. All the eggs broke, and the sidewalk was a mess. The boy tried not to cry. A few people gathered to see if he was OK and to tell him how sorry they were. In the midst of the works of pity, one man handed the boy a quarter. Then he turned to the group and said, “I care 25 cents worth. How much do the rest of you care?”

You see, it takes faith to take the action step and give 25 cents to that young boy. In that moment he needed more that just their understanding and compassion, he needed a dozen eggs to take to his momma!! James 2:17 (NIV) “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”

Johana Desir serves as The Next Door’s Chief of Business Functions

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