This sponsored post was prepared by Made to Flourish, which is a pastors’ network for the common good.
When we stop to think about it, it is significant that the majority of church members spend most of their time not at church activities, but at work. Yet churches often have a hard time knowing how to equip their people for this important sphere.
In fact, the issue has been overlooked for so long in our churches that one might ask: Is it really the responsibility of pastors to teach their people how to connect their faith and work?
There are two pressing factors that indicate that the answer is “yes.” In fact, this is both an urgent and important need.
The Biblical Mandate
Since the lordship of Christ is holistic, pastors are called to equip their people to follow Christ in all of life–not just part of life. The workplace is a central aspect of most people’s lives. In fact, most of us spend more time at work than in any other single activity.
For that reason alone, pastors need to help people understand what it means to follow Christ at work. Is work just a means to evangelism? Or does it matter in itself? Is the work of an engineer less significant than the work of a pastor? Or do all occupations matter equally? How do you go about your work in a way that is informed by your faith?
People need to have answers to these questions, and part of the church’s task of discipling people for all of life includes providing those answers. Further, the Scriptures have much to say about our work (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-4:1; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Genesis 1:28; etc.). People need to know how to apply these truths in their own work.
As pastors and churches do this more fully, they begin to find that they are not simply being faithful to their call. They are also bringing great benefit to their people. For as congregants begin to understand that their work matters to God, it transforms their perspective on how they can serve God and others in their daily work.
When people realize that work is one of the chief ways that we partner with God to love our neighbor carry our faith into the world, it gives great meaning to the things they do every day–even the most mundane. Work becomes a form of worship, love, and greater fulfillment.
The Cultural Moment
We are also at a unique cultural moment. Tim Keller writes:
In the West during the time of Christendom, the church could afford to limit its discipleship and training of believers to prayer, Bible study, and evangelism because most Christians were not facing non-Christian values at work, in their neighborhoods, or at school. ….In a missional church today, however, believers are surrounded by a radically non-Christian culture. They require much more preparation and education to “think Christianly” about all of life, public and private, and about how to do their work with Christian distinctiveness. (Tim Keller, Center Church, 330)
In other words, because we are now largely in a post-Christian culture, people need to be equipped all the more intentionally for how to think about all of life from a biblical perspective.
Beyond this, more and more people are feeling the need to learn how their faith relates to their work. There is a growing movement of Christians who are hungry for this. As Greg Forster has said, “Work and economics will be at the forefront of the church’s attention in the coming generation.” The church is in a unique position to help.
However, this can only happen if churches themselves first understand the relationship between faith and work, and learn how to weave this understanding into their discipleship and their life as a church.
That can sound like a tall order! Yet, it is a biblical responsibility and called for by our unique cultural moment. Which leads to the question:
So, How Do You Do This?
That’s why Made to Flourish exists. We are a nationwide membership-based organization which aims to provide pastors with relationships and resources to strengthen their ministries and help them connect faith and work for their people.
We do this through our monthly newsletter, online workshops and webinars, training events, and city network gatherings where you can meet with other local pastors. We currently have 12 city networks, 1,118 network members, and more than 1,008 network churches.
We know you are busy, so we aren’t seeking to add one more thing to your plate. Rather, our aim is to help you do what you are already doing more effectively.
If you are a pastor, would you join us? We invite you to apply to join the network on our site. Membership is free, and by joining, we’ll send you some of the best resources we know of on this important subject.