Equipping churches encourage everyone to take responsibility

Article / Produced by TOW Project

This article has been produced by a mixture of pastors and marketplace people and homemakers. We are very aware that, even as we seek to live more seamless lives that integrate faith better with our daily work, we are still guilty of living unintegrated lives that accentuate the gap between Sunday and Monday in many ways. We have not done as much as we could to bridge the gap between pastors and workplace Christians so that we can explore and express our faith together rather than being isolated in separate worlds. We have not done enough to initiate dialogue that transforms energy currently dissipated by frustration at the workplace into enabling energy that changes workplace environments. Nor have we done enough to transform energy consumed by frustrations within churches into positive movements towards more effective mission. We are on the same team, but we will only become effective when we learn from each other. We have to both educate each other and to be educated by each other in a spirit of humility.

Peer Groups

Create small groups where people in similar jobs (for example, a group of architects, or moms, or teachers, or CFOs) share what is happening in their work and seek guidance from a Christian perspective. The point is that members have enough in common to actually help improve their abilities on the job.
Meet for 4-5 hours once a month, including dinner. Each month two people share a situation in their work, and other members ask clarifying and seeking questions. Then they ask, Does this bring to mind anything from the Bible? In addition, Bible or occupation-related readings, prayer, and personal sharing may occur. Groups like this have been developed by C12, Redeemer Presbyterian Church (NYC) and others.

Billions of people go to work each day to earn their living. Most church-goers are part of that workforce but many are not exercising their calling. They are not effectively using their gifts and the call God has given them to transform their workplace into an environment where God can move freely and change lives. The challenge facing the church today is to equip, encourage and enable workplace Christians to live out that calling effectively. Workplace Christians want to change their world and to be active in God’s plan to do so. They want their pastors to be an integral part of what God wants to do in their workplaces. However, until workplace Christians and pastors move proactively together to bridge the current gap between church on Sunday and work on Monday, this gap will remain. The cultures represented in the Bible (and those in many places still around the world) see humans more holistically as combining body, soul and spirit and all life activities as sacred. The idea that one goes from a sacred into a non-sacred activity or environment is alien to these groups. We need to learn from the Bible and more holistic cultures how to live life seamlessly. We confess that we have much more to learn about living seamlessly. We cannot expect others to do this for us. We must take responsibility ourselves. We can support each other better and work to start changing the environment within our own spheres of influence.[1]

The wording of this last section borrows extensively from a piece written by Dr. Willy Kotiuga who was an invited member of the discussion group that helped to birth this article. Willy Kotiuga is Senior Director of the Power Systems Consulting Group in one of the world’s largest engineering firms and also an active participant in the Lausanne Workplace Network.