At this point in my career, I’ve decided there’s nothing so fun as making new things. From new organizations (like Denver Institute for Faith & Work) to new articles ( like this one on religious liberty) the more I work I get this nagging feeling that we’re made to reflect the image of the Creator (Gen. 1:27). Creative, joyful service of others through our work – that’s the goal, and what keeps my engine running.
While I’m pursuing this lofty goal, here’s a bit about me:
- Job. I’m the Executive Director of Denver Institute for Faith & Work, a start-up faith and work nonprofit in Denver. Denver Institute exists to cultivate a movement of personal and cultural renewal through applying the gospel to work. It’s been quite the adventure getting this venture off the ground.
- Interests. My favorite author by far is British theologian and missionary Lesslie Newbigin. His book The Gospel in a Pluralist Society has uniquely shaped me. In addition to theology and culture, I’m a faithful reader of The Economist. The best magazine in the world, hands down. I also love hanging out with my buddies Dave Strunk, Andrew Wolgemuth and Brian Gray. We talk ideas and have a pint after work every other week. Food for my soul.
- Background. I am white. And I’m a Scandanavian who grew up in the frozen Minnesotan suburbs with a Fargo-style accent. Nonetheless, God has sent me to Mexico to study abroad, to Ecuador as a missionary, and to Denver to work with Hispanic immigrants as a pastor and teacher. I speak Spanish, and I’m white – and 6’5”. God sure has a sense or humor.
- Work. I’ve been a pastor at Iglesia Bautista Nueva Esperanza in Brighton, an administrator at Denver Seminary, and a missionary at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. I’ve also been a caddie, a waiter, a small business owner, a park maintenance worker and a soccer coach for 4 year-olds who seem to have a knack for getting tangled in the net when trying to retrieve the ball.
- Writing. I’ve had the privilege of writing for Christianity Today, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, Independent School, Comment Magazine, Leadership Journal, and The Gospel Coalition. My two favorite quotes on writing: “Make them see.” Joseph Conrad. “Write the truest sentence you can.” Ernest Hemingway. My favorite editor: George Orwell. His six rules for writing are my constant tutor.
- Family. I’m married to a beautiful wife and have three gorgeous little girls.
- Education. I completed my Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary in 2009 and my undergraduate degree in International Economics & Cultural Affairs and Spanish from Valparaiso University in 2005.
- Faith. Bottom line: I am a servant of Jesus Christ. As my favorite song (“In Christ alone” by Keith Getty) goes, “I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.”
About This Blog
Here’s what I’ll write about, who I’m writing to, and how often I’ll try to post:
- What. This blog is about the integration of faith and work. Specifically, I’ll try to focus my posts on one of two categories:
- The “Why” of integrating faith and work. That is, Why should anybody care about integrating faith and work? This question will lead me into theology, as well as history, culture, and contemporary society. I hope exploring the “why” of faith and work will both illuminate the rationale behind faith and work ministries and equip readers to more faithfully engage culture through their work with a redemptive perspective.
- The “How” of integrating faith and work. If we eventually become convinced that God is calling us to serve Him through our work, then what does this actually look like? Honestly, since I’m relatively ignorant of so many lines of work, I’m excited to explore this topic. On this blog, I will try to translate large ideas about theology and culture into practical insights for the workplace. They will be particular, action-oriented and hopefully useful. If nothing else, I hope they stimulate good conversation.
- Who. Who is this blog primarily for?
- Pastors and theologians. I hope my posts will be thoughtful enough to engage pastors and theologians with the essence of the gospel that ultimately affects all of human life. I imagine the “why” posts will be of most interest to them.
- Laypeople. As a layperson myself, I hope that this blog encourages, informs, and equips laity to engage in creative, other-oriented work infused by the hope of the resurrection. The “how” posts will hopefully be of most use to those actually “on the ground.”
- Both Christians and Non-Christians. I intend to write both for Christians and non-Christians. If my lingo is unintelligible to secularists, Muslims or agnostics, feel free to let me know.
- When. I plan to blog 2-3 times per week, which is often enough to not get bored and lose interest, but not so often you feel inundated with posts. I encourage you to subscribe to my blog via email or RSS feed.
*Photo: “Denver Performing Arts” by Clark Maxwell
Here’s a short biography written in third-person for posting on other websites or for more formal introductions:
Jeff Haanen is the Executive Director of Denver Institute for Faith & Work. He has previously served as a school administrator, a pastor and missionary. He holds a B.A. in International Economics and Spanish from Valparaiso University and a Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary. He contributes to Christianity Today, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, Leadership Journal, and Comment Magazine. He attends Colorado Community Church with his wife and three daughters.