What makes a workplace Christian? A cross hanging on its wall? An honest, church-going CEO? Company-sanctioned prayer meetings and Bible studies? The kind of products that end up on the shelves of a Christian bookstore?

Not necessarily. Not if you take to heart the scriptural instruction to workers, like that in Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." If everything we do, we do for Christ, then every job we perform becomes sacred, and every workplace—whether it's a cleaning business, a Christian publisher, or a seminary—can be a place of Christian vocation.

Still, on this page, Christianity Today is reporting the results of the 2006 Best Christian Places to Work Survey. The reason behind the survey's name is that it examines organizations that—in addition to employing Christians—follow an explicitly Christian mission statement. Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI), headed by Al Lopus, conducts the survey in order to see how companies with explicitly Christian mission statements walk their talk.

This year's survey included 93 self-nominated workplaces. The judges picked 40 as finalists. BCWI scrutinized a record number of employee surveys this year: More than 10,600 workers completed a confidential 50-question survey. In addition, human resources departments submitted detailed summaries of practices such as vacation and sick days, turnover rates, flex time, and maternity leave.

To avoid the unfairness that goes with comparing, say, a large organization like Bethel University with a small ministry like Apartment Life, the participants were separated into 14 categories. After independent judges weighed the data in a "blind" process, the list of 40 emerged. BCWI keeps the names of nonfinalists confidential. Because some categories were larger than others, the list names the number of finalists proportionate to the size of each group.

The panel of judges included CEOs of former finalists—Bob Fryling (publisher of InterVarsity Press), Mark Holbrook (president of Evangelical Christian Credit Union), and Bill Robinson (president of Whitworth College)—as well as Helen Lee, who approached Christianity Today several years ago with the idea of conducting the survey and later cofounded with Lopus the BCWI.

For more information on the survey, see www.bcwinstitute.com.

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The 2006 Survey Winners

Larger Organizations (600 or more employees)

1Bethel UniversitySaint Paul, Minnesota
2 Wycliffe • Orlando, Florida

Products and Services (90 or more employees)

1Alliance Defense FundScottsdale, Arizona
2 Logos Research Systems Inc. • Bellingham, Washington

Products and Services (89 or fewer employees)

1DeMoss Group Inc.Duluth, Georgia
2 Envoy Financial • Colorado Springs, Colorado
3 MPower Systems • Dallas, Texas

Higher Education (225 to 500 employees)

1Dallas Theological SeminaryDallas, Texas
2 Evangel University • Springfield, Missouri
3 California Baptist University • Riverside, California
4 Olivet Nazarene University • Bourbonnais, Illinois

Higher Education (101 to 224 employees)

1Corban CollegeSalem, Oregon
2 The Master's College • Santa Clarita, California
3 Belhaven College • Jackson, Mississippi
4 Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary • South Hamilton, Massachusetts

Higher Education (100 or fewer employees)

1Phoenix SeminaryScottsdale, Arizona
2 The Master's Seminary • Santa Clarita, California

Private Schools, K-12 (90 or more employees)

1Mount Paran Christian SchoolKennesaw, Georgia
2 Indian Rocks Christian Schools • Largo, Florida
3 Evangelical Christian School • Cordova, Tennessee

Private Schools, K-12 (89 or fewer employees)

1Christian Heritage AcademyNorthfield, Illinois
2 Stoneybrooke Christian Schools • San Juan Capistrano, California
3 Christian Heritage School • Trumbull, Connecticut

Media (101 or more employees)

1Daystar Television NetworkDallas, Texas
2 Educational Media Foundation/KLOVE and Air1Radio • Rocklin, California

Media (100 or fewer employees)

1Howard Publishing, Inc.West Monroe, Louisiana
2 Warner Press Inc. • Anderson, Indiana

Churches, Parachurches, and Missions (120 or more employees)

1Coalition for Christian OutreachPittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2 Bible League • Chicago, Illinois
3 Crown Financial Ministries • Gainesville, Georgia

Churches, Parachurches, and Missions (50 through 119 employees)

1Joni and FriendsAgoura Hills, California
2 CityTeam Ministries • San Jose, California
3 ABWE • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Churches, Parachurches, and Missions (49 or fewer employees)

1 (tie)Apartment LifeEuless, Texas
1 (tie)EQUIPDuluth, Georgia
2 New Mission Systems International • Fort Myers, Florida
3 Walter Hoving Home • Garrison, New York
4 Amor Ministries • San Diego, California

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Church-Related Groups

1Fellowship ChurchGrapevine, Texas
2 BBFI Mission Office • Springfield, Missouri

Related Elsewhere:

Also posted today is the results of the Best Workplaces Institute's survey on employee compensation.

Last year's Best Workplaces series included:

The 40 Best Christian Places to Work | How the winners of the third annual survey earned their employees' loyalty. (May 9, 2005)
Choosing the Finalists | The 2005 survey winners and how they were picked. (May 9, 2005)

2004's Best Workplaces articles included:

The 50 Best Christian Places to Work | The second annual survey highlights companies that focus on building a culture of trust. (April 23, 2004)
The Complete List & A Closer Look at the Top Finalists | Christianity Today salutes four finalists in ten categories. (April 23, 2004)
How They Were Chosen | Independent panel weighed employee surveys. (April 23, 2004)
Too Much Information? | Communication is necessary, but avoid information overload. (April 23, 2004)

Our 2003 series included:

Inside CT: Great Places to Work | There is indeed much to praise and imitate in the Christian companies. (Feb. 28, 2003)
The 40 Best Christian Places to Work | What makes them so good? (Hint: Not money) (Feb. 28, 2003)
The Complete List & A Closer Look at the Top Finalists | Christianity Today salutes four finalists in ten categories. (Feb. 28, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: Co-CEO Synergy | Sharing leadership works at Christian Medical and Dental Associations. (March 03, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: Rigorous Hiring | Group Publishing places importance on the quality of the product and its staff. (March 04, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: People of the Hugs | Howard Publishing's pajama day, adoption support, and National Hugging Day celebrations create a family-like ambiance. (March 05, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: Freedom and Grace | Covenant Christian High School teachers and staff are encouraged to be creative, lead classes in innovative ways, and take initiative. (March 06, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: Lives in Balance | At Evangelical Christian Credit Union, professional development is not just a nice bonus but also a spiritual responsibility. (March 07, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: What Burnout? | The Coalition for Christian Outreach takes seriously its responsibility to care for employees. (March 10, 2003)
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Best Christian Places to Work: No Prayer, No Results | Medical Ambassadors International's emphasis on praying creates a strong sense of commitment. (March 11, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: President in Sweats | Leadership's informal style reflects an atmosphere of openness on the Whitworth College campus. (March 12, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: Practicing What They Teach | Dallas Theological Seminary and Multnomah Bible College and Seminary share a philosophy on managing employees. (March 13, 2003)
Best Christian Places to Work: Shepherding Hearts | Phoenix Seminary focuses on mentoring the balance of head knowledge with character development. (March 14, 2003)

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