What Can Blue-Collar Business Teach Us About Work and Faith?
The faith and work conversation is alive and well, but most resources focus on white-collar jobs, neglecting the majority of the workforce. When Pastor Dave Hataj realized he needed to go home and take over the family gear shop, he didn’t expect it to become a spiritually transformative season of his life. Yet as he began to think about what it meant to be a Christian in business, he discovered just how much our work matters to God and how blue-collar business can change people, communities, and even the world.
Drawing on the stories of his business, Edgerton Gears, Dave teaches you how to cultivate true inner goodness, meaning, and mission at work—no matter what you do. Your workplace can and should be a place of significance.
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About the Author
DAVE HATAJ is the second-generation president and owner of Edgerton Gear, Inc., a Wisconsin-based custom gear manufacturer. As a journeyman machinist by age twenty-one, he then earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of California-Irvine. He completed his Master's Degree from Regent College in Vancouver, BC. His graduate work focused on Systems Theory in a Family Business context. In 2014 he earned a Doctorate of Transformational Leadership from Bakke Graduate University, developing a curriculum called Craftsman with Character. The course introduces high school students to the trades and manusfacturing as an excellent career path, while developing character and soft skills.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Gears and God's Kingdom 13
1 Called to Do Business 19
2 Can Modern Business Be Righteous? 35
3 The Pursuit of Purpose 49
4 Money and Profit 65
5 Is the Golden Rule Good for Business? 87
6 Relational Transactions 107
7 The Three-Legged Stool 123
8 Burned Out or Fired Up? 143
9 What Makes a Leader? 159
10 Community and Culture 181
11 Betrayal and Failure 199
12 Business as Love 221
13 Goodness in Action 235
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Good Work
“Work relationships must survive through both boom and bust times, Hataj points out, and how one reacts to adversity can help spread Christianity within one’s workplace and communities. One memory about his father’s overcoming prejudice to treat customers well is particularly affecting. He also lauds the ‘three-legged stool’ of business—quality, value, and service—and gives tips on leadership and customer service that can benefit all workers. Christians who struggle with wondering how to serve God will find Hataj’s impassioned testament quite persuasive.” —Publishers Weekly
“Dave’s story and choices narrated in Good Work are a message that followers of Jesus would do well to ponder. In an age where Christians have such a poor reputation, his simple message of us seeking first His kingdom and true inner goodness and living that out in our workplaces will do a whole lot to make our faith relevant and the “gospel” actually good news. ”—Andrew CampbellOwner of Beaverhill Woodcrafters, Plain, WA
“A machinist with a doctoral degree—you don’t meet one of those every day. Nor will you often find a book that so effectively demonstrates the hand-in-glove relationship between faith and everyday work. In Good Work, David Hataj has given us a wide-open window into his years of experience in the “real world.” Hataj meshes making gears with serving God—not merely in theory but in actual practice. His story traces the painful path he traveled to make that faith-work connection. Good Work will expand your outlook on family health, meaningful work, integrity in business, mentoring, and bridging the generation gap.”—Larry PeabodyProfessor, Theology of Work, Bakke Graduate University; author, Job-Shadowing Daniel: Walking the Talk at Work
“You will want to pass Dave Hataj’s Good Work on to every small business owner, especially those in the trades. Kingdom impact is possible in blue collar business. Dave’s secret sauce to integrating faith in the workplace is “DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO!!!” I could not put the book down, reading it all in two sittings. I resonated with what Dave has to say—my father was a machinist and also a pastor, both in church and in the machine shop. It felt like Dave was in the room with me all the time reminding me that God is infinitely more concerned with who we become than with what we accomplish.”—Willy KotiugaChair, Bakke Graduate University Board of Regents
“As a business professional, church elder, men’s ministry leader, and personal friend, I can testify that Dave is a man that truly lives the words of Jesus, “You are the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world . . . that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:13–16). Dave and his life story in Good Work is the application our men’s ministry has spent years trying to teach men; our workplace and business is the mission field and not a secular job. Good Work is now our handbook.”—Greg KingChief Experience Officer, ExponentHRElder, Trinity Bible Church, Richardson, TX
“Get ready, Good Work is going to challenge who you are not only in the workplace, but in your community, family and in all your relationships. Good Work is good stuff . . . God stuff.”—Scott HammondElder at Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, IL and Business Development in Technology of a large corporation
“Inspiring to learn how doing the right thing ethically and morally can equal success. A great story of how life’s challenges were overcome by faith and ethical business. As a twenty-year employee, I was blown away to learn the goal of the business was not money. ”—Brent SchroederTeam leader, lead mentor, and customer service at Edgerton Gear “Dave Hataj’s book, Good Work, tells the story of how the constant application of “inner goodness” to business decisions and business relationships can drive excellence, meaning, and superior business performance. Every business leader will be inspired to change and improve using the mindsets and frameworks he describes. His stories of struggle with a small manufacturing business are captivating, engrossing—I wanted to turn the pages to see what happens. As I was reading the end of the book about “business as love,” I found myself crying when considering how many of the broken people I have seen in difficult positions could benefit from the culture of Dave’s business and the Craftsmen with Character course he describes. If only every business could be as successful and personally uplifting to its employees and customers as Dave’s company Edgerton Gear.”—Michael JonesManaging Director, Investment Banking
“Dave Hataj loves Jesus and this book is a testament to a life lived in pursuit of Him! It is the story of Jesus’ faithfulness, gentleness, and heart cry for each and every person made in His image, including those of us who find ourselves in a blue collar world. This is a unique and essential contribution to the “faith and work” conversation that, if ignored, is done so at the peril of the Christian church around the globe. Finally, and somewhat less obviously, it is proof that behind every married man, there is a strong and loving woman. Without Tracy, the pages of this book would lie empty.”—Josiah WarrenCarpenter
“An unapologetically Christian guide to fulfilling our life’s purpose in the workplace. The book is written with a degree of honesty and practicality that would benefit anyone looking for direction in life, especially at the workplace. Business is so often associated with greed and money, however, it can also be a source of love and purpose. Dave concisely lays out how to align our values with a greater purpose than money, and I would recommend this book to Christians and non-Christians alike who wish to do the same.”—Cole SamuelsonTemporary Worker at Edgerton Gear
“If wisdom is the insight distilled from a lifetime of experience by a thoughtful and faithful practitioner, then Dave Hataj’s book, Good Work, is a veritable pearl necklace of practical wisdom.”—Randy FranzProfessor of management at Seattle Pacific University
“Dave Hataj does a wonderful job explaining how God’s righteousness extends to every aspect of our lives, including the business world. This is a must read for every business owner.”—Keith CampbellChairman of Mannington Mills, Inc.