Texas Nameplate Study Guide

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Texas Nameplate was founded in 1946 and nearly 50 years later it was in deep trouble with its largest customers. Dale Crownover had taken the position of President and soon was hit with the prospect of having to shut the business down unless he could re-invent the ways things were being done.

Dale was a college dropout at that time and didn't have the cash flow to hire experts to install the quality program that his customer was demanding. He had grown up in the business and knew all the details so when he was told that the company was failing it was like being told that he was personally failing. He had always done what he thought was right but that had turned out not to be good enough to keep the doors open.

A key customer told Dale, “You either improve your quality or we'll find another supplier.” He felt as if he had been kicked in the stomach, and from this lowest point, he turned to God for help.

Dale grew up going to a Baptist church and as a young adult accepted Christ as his personal savior. He writes in his book, Take it to the Next Level: 

My core beliefs were formed early and I saw them practiced daily at Texas Nameplate. My Uncle R.B. believed in quality and had been at it for nearly 20 years. And he was the best Baptist there will ever be. A deacon in the First Baptist Church in Dallas under Dr. Criswell, he used to talk to me a lot about beliefs and how they played out in the workplace. He and my dad had taught us to hold on to four key beliefs: honesty, loyalty, respect for elders, and fairness.

Uncle R.B. gave his nephew two scriptures that he believed would help him become a strong leader: Ephesians 6:5-9 and I Thessalonians 5:12-15. The Ephesians’ passage includes, “Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord.” The other says, “always seek to do good to one another and to all.”

Dale says: 

The quest for quality can transform you in many different ways. For me, the most surprising transformation was the integration of my business goals and my religious faith. While improving quality was required for us to stay in business, stepping into the competition for the Texas Quality and Malcolm Baldrige was only possible through the strength Christ gave me. You know the Bible says, 'We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.'

Turning his problems over to God and then putting one foot in front of the other to do the hard things, Dale led the tiny Texas Nameplate to world-class status. It is the smallest business to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Award and the only small business to have received the award twice – in 1998 and 2004.

Texas Nameplate President Dale Crownover on Faith, Work, and Quality (5:34)

Texas Nameplate CEO Dale Crownover on Faith, Work and Quality from William Messenger on Vimeo.

The Baldrige leadership then asked Dale to serve on its board of directors which he did from 2004-2006 and he was Chairman, 2005-2006. Of course Texas Nameplate kept its big customers, achieved zero-defect days and doubled its sales.

Here's the story of faith at work. (Before beginning the study itself, you can hear more from CEO Dale Crownover about faith, work and quality).




You can start a business on a wing and a prayer and if you start small enough you can shield yourself from major disappointment or financial loss.

Start Small (2:40)

Start Small from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video clip as you answer these questions:

Q: How did Roy Crownover finance the startup of his business?

A: Roy had two partners. One of the partners had a father-in-law who gave the young men $3,000 to get going. They worked around the clock to make things work for themselves and a few employees.

Q: How did Roy demonstrate his character as he paid back the loan?

A: He never missed a payment so he did what he promised to do and proved he could be trusted.

Q: What did Roy have to do to keep the business going?

A:  He had to do everything that needed to be done. That included making the products, answering the phone, making the sales, paying the bills and emptying the trash.

Q: Why did it take so long for Roy to pay back his startup loan?

A:  He said the company had its ups and downs and they never had much profit or cash flow.

Group Discussion: 

  1. Would you work thirty years to make good on a promise?
  2. What have you done to demonstrate to your boss, to your customers, to your vendors, to your co-workers what kind of person you are?
  3. How would the person who works the most closely with you on a day-to-day basis describe you to another person?
  4. If you don't know the answer, could you ask that person how they would describe you because you have a goal to improve yourself and you need another person's view?

Q:  As followers of Jesus, what are the characteristics that others should see in us?

A:  We can start with Galatians 5:22-23 where we see what Paul writes to the Jesus-followers in the Galatian churches. The Message translation reads: 

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

The NIV translation of Galatians 5:22-23 is the one you have probably heard before: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Q:  Which fruit of the spirit do we know Roy had?

A:  Patience! 

The Bible has a lot to say about patience. Here are just a few verses.

And endurance produces character and character produces hope. (Romans 5:4)

Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

If patience is hard for you, perhaps you can research and make a list of all the verses in the Bible that address this key Christ-like characteristic. Keep the list handy and work to memorize the verses that resonate most for you.

Q:  If Roy is so loved by God, why was it so hard for him to make money?

A:  God doesn't promise us loads of money. God promises that he will meet our every need. You might even think that Roy was stubborn and not necessarily being obedient to God. We don't know what the true motivation was for Roy to keep on keeping on. However, we do know that what he started has, over time, eventually won and kept excellent customers and created hundreds of decent jobs for good, hard-working people.

God will give you all you need from day one if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern. (Matthew 6:33)

Q:  Why would the God of the universe expect us to start small when He can give us anything and everything instantly?

A:  The talent that you are born with is a super package of gifts. However, God expects you to develop your talent through practice and patience.

Q:  Can you think of people you know or know about who have worked hard for years to achieve excellence or to eventually reach a comfortable standard of living?

A:  One example is pro golfer Bubba Watson. In 2012, at the age of 34 he won the Masters and according to the Wall Street Journal, “His father put a club in his hand at age six and it was love at first sight.” We know from his own confession that he loved the cut-down club so much that he hit whiffle balls for hours every day. When it rained, his parents let him hit balls in the house. He made a hole in his dirt driveway and played a game of hitting the ball around the house, learning to compensate for the trees and bushes. If the ball landed in a tree he played it from the tree. Bubba became so good at golf that the parents of his friends wanted him to play with them. Twenty-eight years after he started hitting a ball with a golf club, he won one of golf's major tournaments.

It is obvious that Bubba did not sit on the couch playing video games, he practiced long and hard at one thing and this effort finally brought him to a level of excellence. Bubba Watson is a great role model for all of us and he gives God the glory for his success. Bubba uses his work to spread the gospel of Jesus to anyone who will listen to him.

Another example is Jesus! In Luke 2:41-52 we read the story of Jesus being only 12 years old and studying with the scholars at the Temple in Jerusalem. He was so focused that he didn't even realize that his parents had left Jerusalem to travel back to their home in Nazareth. At the age of 12 he was already preparing for what he would do 18 years later. We can guess that Jesus also concentrated his efforts to become a highly-skilled carpenter which was his profession until he started his healing and teaching ministry at about the age of 30.

Becoming the person God has planned for us to become requires patience and hard work. Think of Roy lifting weights every single day he walked into work and over the 30-year period of time he grew so strong that he was fit for any problem that came his way.

Q:  If you do not display these characteristics at work--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control-- what do you think you can do?

A:  Here are a few ideas...

  1. Start the day with Scripture.
  2. Pray that Jesus will help you demonstrate these qualities specifically at work.
  3. Ask a fellow Jesus-follower and co-worker to alert you when you are off path.
  4. Find a mentor at work that has these qualities and ask that person to help you.

To explore more about the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, go to Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, we want others to see you in us and at work. This is very hard. We want to work toward being excellent and we know this doesn't happen quickly. For some of us it will take decades. Help us to be more patient not only with ourselves as we learn to handle problems, also give us patience with others. Help us to be the loving, kind, and good person you intend for us to be. We know that this is impossible under our own strength so come now and fill us with more of you. In your name we ask these things. Amen.



Roy Crownover, the founder of Texas Nameplate, explains that shared ownership is not the same as shared leadership. 33-33-33 is OK, but 50-50 is an accident waiting to happen. No matter how well you and your business partner complement each other, no matter how clearly you are able to define each other's roles and responsibilities, there will come a point when you fundamentally disagree on an issue. Roy had two partners which was the only way he could get started in business but he was glad when he was able to buy them out.

Avoid a 50-50 Partnership (1:19)

Avoid a 50-50 Partnership from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video clip as you answer these questions:

Q:  Why is Roy against partnerships?

A:  The time came when Roy's partner was ready to relax, but Roy still had to put two kids through college. Buying out his partner was problematic because of the legal structure.

Q: If you are in business with one other person, how do you decide on stock ownership if 50-50 is not a good idea? How can you be fair to the owner with less than 50%?

A: The purpose of avoiding 50-50 ownership, even if it is 51-49 instead, is to have a clear and frank understanding at the outset of forming the business. Two individuals commit to work hard together to grow a business and decide that if they ever disagree, which one of the two of them will have the final say. This may seem heartless, but there really is no practical alternative. Without this agreement, the business would be frozen and not able to react to changing circumstances. And for obvious reasons, this is not something you want to discuss with your business partner when the disagreement arises.

Ownership and profit distribution are not synonymous. The decision between partners of who should have the final say is independent of salary levels, dividend distributions or proceeds from the sale of the company. These can still be 50-50 while protecting the minority shareholder.

Every corporation should have a clearly defined exit strategy for all parties with the valuation process defined in advance. At the time an owner is ready to leave, the company's value has to be determined so that the person leaving can be bought out at fair market price.

Group Discussion Questions:

Q:  Do you think two Christians could be 50-50 partners and avoid problems?

A:  Probably not. Business is complex and the more money flowing through the business the more tempting greed can become. Or, if there is not much money, fear can overtake hearts and decisions can be made that are hurtful. As Jesus-followers we are trying but we are not there yet. We want to be like Jesus but we are not and we never arrive. Sin creeps in and for some people in business money becomes more important than Jesus. For some, insufficient money to pay the bills can result in pulling away from Jesus, and lead to anger and bitterness.

Make Room for Just One Boss (2:05) 

Make Room for Just One Boss from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Roy was smart to step aside when his son, Dale Crownover, was ready to lead the company.

Refer to the video clip as you answer these questions:

Q:  What did Roy do when Dale was ready to become President?

A:  He stepped aside and stopped giving direction to employees.

Group Discussion:

Q:  Is Roy right that there should only be one boss, or are there ways for both Roy and Dale to have high profile leadership positions?

A: He's right because people want leadership and can't follow two people unless they always agree upon the direction the company should take. It would be confusing if you went to Dale and got one answer to your question and then when to Roy and got a different answer.

With only 67 employees it is easier to have one leader; however, the two men could have divided responsibilities and had some employees reporting to Dale and some reporting to Roy. I think Roy truly believes his son is a better leader and is happy for Dale to be President while Roy sits on the sideline and serves as cheerleader for everyone.

Q:  We already know that Roy is patient. What else did we learn about him when he turned the company over to his son?

A:  We learned that he is humble. While confident in himself and proud of his son, to let go of the top leadership spot takes humility. Roy could see talent and energy in his son that he either never had or felt had diminished in him over time. Humility is a trait that is highly praised in the Bible.

And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Don't work yourself into the spotlight; don't push your want into the place of prominence. (Proverbs 25:6)

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you. (James 4:10)

Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. (Matthew 23:11)

Q:  Doesn't humility come off as lack of confidence?

A:  No. Humility doesn't mean you think poorly of yourself. As Jesus-followers truly our one true boss is Jesus and we sit at the foot of the cross in awe and appreciation for what he has done to bring us to him. We are working to let him be the Lord of our hearts and lives and this puts around us an aura of thanksgiving for our great fortune to personally know and be in relationship with our creator. With this mindset or attitude, we don't need to push ourselves to the forefront at work. We are more inclined to push others to the front. However, we must also step up when called on and never use the idea that humility might be an excuse to get out of pulling our weight on jobs.

Q:  How can you show that you are humble without looking weak to others?

A:  Here are a few ideas then add yours to this list:

  1. Let others go ahead of you as you get on elevators or public transportation or when getting in line for meals with co-workers.
  2. Ask for critical feedback on your work and thank the person who takes time to give it to you.
  3. Be quick to compliment the excellent work of others.
  4. Think of nice things to say about others on your team.
  5. Thank the people you work under for the opportunities to try new things in your work.
  6. Learn how the organization works and look for ways that you can bring more profit to the bottom-line.
  7. Look for ways to promote the work of others to the bosses.
  8. Offer to teach new employees.
  9. NEVER GOSSIP or try to be the source of the insider scoop.
  10. NEVER complain.

Prayer:   Dear Jesus. Here we are again in a place of needing you. Help us to be confident but never arrogant. Help us to put others first and genuinely humble ourselves before you each day and show us how to lift up others around us. Help us continue to change, to improve, not to feel stuck with unattractive traits that turn our co-workers away from you. We want every person we touch to see you. In your mighty name we ask these things. Amen.



After being in business 50 years, with all its ups and downs, the company had settled into a rut. Dale Crownover was encouraged by a customer to get involved in a formal continuous improvement program, and that changed everything for the better. 

Establish a Quality Program  (4:08)

Establish a Quality Program from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video to answer these questions:

Q:  What happened to the business when Dale took over from his father?

A:  The revenues doubled.

Q:  How did Texas Nameplate get out of its rut and why?

A:  Its biggest customer, Lockheed, insisted that Texas Nameplate put itself into a structured quality program with the goal of decreasing defects. In fact, Lockheed told Dale that Texas Nameplate had to improve its manufacturing processes if it was to continue being a supplier to Lockheed.

Q:  How did they get the program in place and what happened as a result?

A:  Dale didn't think they could afford high-paid consultants and the time taken away from production that a quality improvement program would demand, but he had no choice. To save money, Dale led the effort himself rather than bringing in someone from the outside, and even though the implementation distracted employees from the day-to-day operations, in the long run, the company has prospered. Today they are doing 30% more work with 30% fewer employees. Texas Nameplate has won The Texas Quality Award and has won the Malcolm Baldrige twice. It was the smallest company ever to win the Malcolm Baldrige! Dale went on to serve on the board of directors of the Baldrige and eventually was the chairman of the board.

Group Discussion: 

  1. Do you work for a company that focuses on quality?
  2. Do you think quality is a motivator for individual employees or just a PR ploy?
  3. Are you personally trying to pursue excellence or does it make you feel like a goody- two shoes at work since so many others are trying hard not to work hard?

What does the Bible have to say about quality and the pursuit of excellence?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23)

In business, excellence is defined by the customer because the only purpose of a business is to create and maintain customers. Texas Nameplate's largest customer basically told Dale that his products were not good enough and that there were too many defective nameplates coming through their system.

If you receive a paycheck then you have customers and they are the ones who give their hard-earned money to your company so that it can pay you. For a business to grow, everyone must listen to the customer and do everything possible to please the customer. There are exceptions. A customer could ask us to do something shady like give them a special deal and keep it a secret. We are not expected to break any rules or even enter into any gray behavior to keep a customer. However, in general, the more customers a business has and the more the customers come back the more profitable the business becomes. Dale doubled his revenue because he and his team figured out how to please their customers. This happened when Texas Nameplate and the customers agreed that zero-defects would be the standard.

Joseph is an example of a man who achieved excellence in his work.

Look at Joseph's work for the Pharaoh. Remember that Joseph angered his brothers and they sold him into slavery. Being in prison changed the young man doted on and spoiled by his father, Jacob, into a humble, God-fearing hero. By trusting in God, Joseph was able to make excellent management decisions. Can someone tell us the story of Joseph's rise to excellence? Genesis 37-41

The king said, “We will never find a better man than Joseph, a man who has God's spirit in him.” (Genesis 41:39)

Pastor and author, John Piper, writes in his book, Don't Waste Your Life, “God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.”

Group Discussion:

  1. What could have happened if Dale would have settled for the status quo?
  2. What could happen in your life if you settle for the status quo?
  3. What could happen in your life if you decide to “display his (God's) supreme excellence in all the spheres of life?”
  4. What are the obstacles you face if you decide to pursue excellence in your work?
  5. If you don't agree with your boss, do you still have to try to do excellent work?
  6. Have you always thought at work you are only to do what you are told to do?
  7. Have you thought of ways to improve things but you don't have the power to implement your ideas? Perhaps someone in your group can tell how they overcame this problem at work.

Prayer:  Father God, we want to put a smile on your face with our work. We want to be excellent at serving our customers and at serving you. We want our company to succeed and we want to contribute to a winning team. Give us your eyes to see how we can improve our own contribution to our workplace each and every day. Give us a passion to pursue your standard of excellence and we'll give you the praise and glory for every result. In the name of the one who lived the most excellent and perfect life, our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.



Every person worth having on a payroll wants desperately to know if they are doing well or if they are performing poorly. This is because great employees thrive when they have something to measure that will show the personal contribution they make to the process.

Require Every Employee to be Accountable  (2:28)

Require Every Employee to be Accountable from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video to answer these questions:

Q: How does Texas Nameplate attract and keep great people?

A: One way is to help every employee discover ways to measure their work.

Q:  What did one employee at Texas Nameplate say about the measuring techniques?

A:  He said that measuring, "has improved our processes which has resulted in better products and happier customers.”

Q:  Why don't more employees have specific ways to measure their productivity?

A:  Because figuring out what to measure and how to measure takes time and effort on the part of leadership.

Q: What happens to an employee who is given a specific goal to manage?

A:  In most every case, the employee will improve performance. Considering, however, that there are so many books on the subject of increasing employee productivity—and more being written all the time, it is obvious that leaders aren’t learning or applying what they read.

Group Discussion: 

  1. Someone tell the story of Verdie Jones, the woman at the beginning of the clip. Why was she so proud of her work?
  2. Have you been asked to offer your ideas to others? How do you feel when you are asked to contribute ideas for how the organization can improve?  
  3. Can measuring performance backfire? Have you set goals for yourself that make you feel like a failure? Have others set goals for you that seemed out of reach?

Notes on the history of work and performance

Karl Marx believed that there is no such thing as God and all practicing Marxists are atheists. The writers at allabouththeworld.com say, “To be a good Marxist entails being a propagator of atheism. To be the best Marxist is to see atheism as part of the scientific, materialistic, socialistic outlook and to strive to eradicate all religious sentiment.” You might recall that Vladimir Lenin who some say established the first government based upon Marxism—The Soviet Union—said, “Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze.”  

The Marxists claim a management consultant and author named Frederick Winslow Taylor as one of their own. His writings can be found at marxists.org. Sadly, while many Communist countries have failed, Mr. Taylor still has hold of our psyche. He wrote things like, “All possible brain work should be removed from the shop and centered in the planning or laying-out department.” And, “It is only through enforced standardization...that faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and enforcing this cooperation rests with management alone.”

  1. How is the measuring being done at Texas Nameplate different from Mr. Taylor's ideas?

Employees like Verdie Jones create the goals in cooperation with the entire team. In Dale's book, Verdie Jones said, “It used to be that employees didn't have a chance to be involved but now we keep each other up to date.” Verdie has been with the company for over three decades and when Dale was forced by Lockheed to go into a quality management program, she noticed a change in him. She said, “That's when Dale got into the Bible. When you put God in your life and put God over everything, God gets involved and Dale knows it.”

Proverbs has some things to say about work that leads me to believe we are to measure our accomplishments. In Part 3 we looked at Proverbs 6:6-11:

Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live. They have no leader, chief or rules. But they store up their food during the summers, getting ready for winter. How long is the lazy man going to lie around? When is he ever going to get up?

In a way it is easy for the ants to measure. They either have food or they don't.

“Hard work brings profit.” (Proverbs 14:23) So, if you aren't making a profit or advancing you might think hard about the effort you are engaged in.

 “Work done in a slack manner is as good as a piece of work which is later destroyed. Both are valueless.” (Proverbs 18:9) Can “slack” here imply that we are merely passing the time and not really producing any measurable result?

“Slack work leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23a ) Does our slacking off make Jesus look good or bad? 

“Diligent work leads to control of one's situation.” (Proverbs 12:24) Doesn't this imply that if you have measurable results you are in a very strong position to be rewarded by happy customers and happy co-workers?

To explore more about what the book of Proverbs has to say about diligence, go to The Wise Worker is Diligent (Proverbs).

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, more than anything, we want to be yours in our workplace. We want you to look at us and say that you are proud of us and what we do at work. We ask for the courage to set goals that require us to improve and that can even lighten the load of those around us. Help us stay focused throughout the day on activities that matter so that when we leave work we are able to say that we gave our work our best. In your holy name we offer this prayer to you. Amen.



The people part of every business has two components: there are customers and there are employees. Knowing how both groups feel is critical to your success.

Measure Customer and Employee Satisfaction (3:13)

Measure Customer and Employee Satisfaction from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video to answer these questions:

Q:  How does Dale find out what customers and employees think of Texas Nameplate?

A:  He hires an outside group to run surveys.

Q:  What problems did the survey reveal regarding employee satisfaction?

A:   Employees felt there were not enough focused business communications between people in the company. They felt that they just came to work, did their job and never knew what was going on with others—especially with Dale. Dale responded by offering everyone in the company a course in listening skills and he started the all-company monthly meeting.

Q: Why do you think the meeting is so effective?

A:  Dale demonstrates that he is committed to the task of getting people to talk to each other and to providing the opportunity for the departments to "show and tell." Everything stops one Thursday a month at noon time and people get together. Just being in the same room creates an esprit de corps. When any one employee receives recognition it is very motivational for everyone.

List What Drives Your Business (1:02)

List What Drives Your Business from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video to answer these questions:

Q: How does a business grow?

A: Put your goals in writing and fully understand what drives your business.

Q: What are the key business drivers at Texas Nameplate?

A: Customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, process optimization, environmental consciousness, controlled growth, fair profit and external interface.

Dale considers two business drivers to be most important: Customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. To measure it, he hired an outside firm to see what customers and employees think of Texas Nameplate.

Q: Why doesn't Dale need to use an outside firm to measure the other five drivers?

A: They are more objective than the two people parts of the list. The company can set easy-to-measure goals on the "hard parts" of business while the "soft parts" remain very difficult to quantify.

Group Discussion:

  1. Does your workplace offer an easy way for everyone to communicate?
  2. What Biblical principal underpins the value of every person's ideas?
  3. What power is released when questions are asked?
  4. Do we need a clear conscious to offer clear communication?
  5. Do you know what customers and employees think about your workplace?
  6. What can we learn about Dale since we know his focus is people?

Hint:  He is what many would call a servant leader. He doesn't see people as the difficult part of business he sees them as individuals with hearts and souls and as precious children of God. He admires and respects the people who work at Texas Nameplate and wants each one to be all they can be. He admires and respects his customers, seeks their thoughts and opinions, and makes changes based on what he hears from them.

Be a Good Place to Work (2:34)

Be a Good Place to Work from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video to answer this question:

Q: How do we know that Texas Nameplate is a good place to work?

A: Worker turnover is low and productivity is high. And, there are lots of smiles on lots of faces.

Group Discussion:

1.  Do you know if your company is a good place to work?  Are employees asked if they like coming to work? 

2.  Have employees ever been asked what they would like to see happening at work that is not now happening?

3.  What does the Bible say to those of us who have the responsibility for setting the tone in the workplace?

Masters do not tyrannize workers. (Leviticus 25:53b)

Masters provide workers with what is right and fair because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 4:1)

Masters, treat your workers with respect. Don't threaten them. You know that there is one master in heaven who has authority over both of you and there is no favoritism with him. (Ephesians 6:9)

Don't withhold pay from hired workers. (Deuteronomy 24:14)

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God's hand for that person. (Proverbs 3:27)

And, if you can think about leaders in the workplace as parental figures, take these verses to heart.

Fathers (leaders), do not exasperate your children (employees); instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Parents (leaders), don't come down too hard on your children (employees) or you'll crush their spirits. (Colossians 3:21)

What tone does your own face set in the workplace? There are plenty of smiles at Texas Nameplate partly because Dale smiles a lot.

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face. (Proverbs 15:13)

To explore more about what Ephesians 6 and Colossians 3-4 have to say about how employers are to treat their employees go to "Christian Masters (Eph. 6:5-11)" and "Of Slaves and Masters, Ancient and Contemporary (Col. 3:18-4:1)."

Prayer:  Father God, we come thanking you for the good work you have given us to do in this broken world. We accept that work is a gift from you and that we can find joy and a sense of purpose in it. Sometimes we get caught up in measuring specific accomplishments that might cause stress so help us to see that we are accountable to our customers and co-workers and most of all to you. Help us to be as happy about another person's success at achieving their goals as we are about our own achievements. Give us a passion every day to stretch upward. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.



Like most small business owners, Roy Crownover kept good relations with his banker.

Have a Banker When You Don't Need One  (3:13)

Have a Banker When You Don't Need One from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video tape to answer these questions:

Q:  How did Roy handle cash flow when times got tough?

A:  He had to watch every penny and he saved for a rainy day. He had money in the bank so when he needed to borrow he had bargaining power with his banker. Bankers are happy to loan money to people who have money, and never loan money without collateral.

Group Discussion:

Q: What can we learn from Roy about how he handled his responsibilities as a business owner?

A:  He thought ahead and prepared for the unknowns. He was frugal and careful with the cash he was able to earn.

Poor people are the rich man's slaves. Borrow money and you are the lender's slave. (Proverbs 22:7)

This is what Roy was talking about when he said that the people who loaned him money made more than he made. Roy felt that he had become a slave to the lenders and never wanted to get himself in the situation again.

Jesus came to set us free from sin but not to set us free to be lazy or undependable. While we are not to worry, we are to work to meet our own needs. Roy had the pressure of making sure there was always enough cash to pay the employees and this pressure is probably why he worked so hard to be ready if the business took a down turn.

Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live. They have no leader, chief or rules. But they store up their food during the summers, getting ready for winter. How long is the lazy man going to lie around? When is he ever going to get up? (Proverbs 6:6-11)

To explore more about what the book of Proverbs has to say about financial responsibility, go to "A Trustworthy Worker is Faithful to His or Her Fiduciary Responsibilities (Proverbs)."

Group Discussion: 

  1. Are you ready for a rainy day?
  2. What changes can you make so that you can save for a rainy day?
  3. Does Roy sound old-fashioned?
  4. Do you personally know people like Roy? Do they inspire you?

Let's talk now about what Roy said at the beginning of this clip about how he treated his employees. (You might want to re-play the clip.)

Refer to the video clip as you answer these questions:

Q:  What did Roy do when the business had good cash flow?

A:  He shared the increased profits with the employees. He said, “If you make more money, give employees a piece of the pie.”

Q:  What did Roy have to do when cash was very tight?

A:  He had to cut wages but he never let anyone go. He said cutting wages was, “the hardest thing I ever did.”

Q:  What does this tell you about Roy?

A:  He is compassionate. He has empathy for the people on his payroll. He feels the weight of responsibility that comes with true leadership. He knows that the families of his employees need food, shelter and clothing! He knows most of the family members personally and can see in his own mind's eye that there are needs to be met.

Group discussion:

Q:  If firing someone is so hard for Roy, why does it seem so easy for others? Or, why do companies fire people?

A:  Small businesses that are owned by the person who operates the business every day are very different from big companies and completely different from publicly traded companies.

Owners like Roy know every person on their payrolls personally. The business is more like a family to them than a separate entity that they walk away from every night when they go home to their biological family. The owner only answers to him or herself as most small businesses do not have a board of directors so the owner doesn't have to explain himself to anyone. Many owners, when things are tough, take no wages for themselves so they can pay their employees.

A Citibank survey of 750 small business owners taken in June of 2012 revealed that more than half have gone without paychecks. Twenty-five percent had gone without pay for more than a year. In February 2012 the National Federation of Small Businesses asked 11,000 of its members about how they handle a cash crunch and one-third said they use their own personal savings to keep their companies afloat. This behavior seems irrational but for many Christian business owners it is the loving thing to do.

Big businesses have to be process-focused so process wins over people. A public company has to cut workers when profits drop because the shareholders expect it and will complain to the board of directors and officers if the business starts to lose money.

Q:  Is compassion a quality we must have as Jesus-followers?

A:  Yes.

David H. Engelhart writes in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary that compassion is “the human disposition that fuels acts of kindness and mercy.” In this article he also makes the point that the Bible speaks mostly about God's compassion for us.

...God has comforted his people. He has tenderly nursed his beaten-up, beaten-down people. (Isaiah 49:13, The Message)

You will be merciful to us once again. You will trample our sins underfoot and send them to the bottom of the sea! (Micah 7:19)

Be merciful to me, O god, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins! (Psalm 51:1)

But God was merciful to his people. He forgave their sin and did not destroy them. Many times he held back his anger and restrained his fury. He remembered that they were only mortal beings, like a wind that blows by and is gone. (Psalm 78:38-39)

Jesus showed compassion.

As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

Then Jesus got out of the boat, he saw this large crowd and his heart was filled with pity for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:34)

I feel sorry for these people because they have been with me for three days and now have nothing to eat. (Mark 8:2)

Paul writes to the church at Colossae in Colossians 3:12:

You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

The most famous Jesus teaching on compassion is the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-77).

Group Discussion:

  1. Are co-workers your neighbors?
  2. Are we called to show compassion at work?
  3. Are your co-workers mostly Jesus-followers or not?
  4. Can you tell about a time when you were able to show compassion at work?


Prepare for Hard Times (1:33)

Prepare for Hard Times from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch the video clip.

Refer to the video tape to answer these questions:

A:  How do you stay motivated for the long haul?

Q:  Dale says if you want to run a business, be sure to have a lot of money, desire and commitment. He also said to look at starting and growing a business as a journey, not a destination.

Nicole Miller said that running the business is harder with $100 million in revenue than it was with $1 million. Her partner Bud Konheim said, "If you want to know the end game of Nicole Miller, come to my funeral." He has no intention of retiring and this is true for many entrepreneurs.

We see getting up and going to work every day as the ultimate journey with no end. No cruise around the world or golf game can bring us the satisfaction derived from running a business. We believe this is true because of the complexity of it all. You have the hard side which is all about numbers and the soft side which is all about people. You have to balance many balls in the air and smile at the same time!

What does the Bible say to inspire us to keep on keeping on? Plenty. I'll just end with the most famous, Hebrews 12:1:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

In The Message, Hebrews 12:1-3 reads:

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? I mean we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

To explore more about Hebrews 12:1-3, go to "Enduring Hardship, Pursuing Peace (Hebrews 12:1-16)."

Group Discussion:

  1. What do you do when things are tough? 
  2. Who are your mentors? 
  3. What does the Bible say about retirement? Hint: nothing.

To wrap up our study of Roy and Dale Crownover, let's re-cap what we saw them do as men of faith.

  1. They are humble.
  2. They are patient.
  3. They don't complain or whine about problems.
  4. They are happy in their work and grateful for it.
  5. They love their employees.
  6. They strive for excellence.
  7. They fear God not people or things.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we are self-absorbed. Most of the time we are so worried about ourselves that we can't see the difficulties others have in their lives. Give us eyes to see the needs of others and hearts to do what we can to be helpful. And Lord, help us to be responsible. Help us save for a rainy day so that we don't have to go into debt or become dependent on others for our daily needs. Let us always and only turn to you.

Give us the stamina, the good health and a daily fresh infusion of the Holy Spirit to buoy, direct and encourage us. Help us to realize that heaven is open over us and if we open our hands to you we will receive the lavish gifts you promise us on the journey to your heart. In the power of your mighty name we pray. Amen.

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Texas Nameplate

Texas Nameplate from Theology of Work Project on Vimeo.

Watch this entire made-for-PBS television show about Texas Nameplate in a single video.  This study guide and associated video was produced by Small Business School. Used by permission.