Blog - Supporting Believers

Your Help, Please

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Can you help me? Your insights and experience would help me as I create a seminar for pastors and church leaders.

Church leaders are to "prepare God's people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12). Great numbers of God's people do most of their "works of service” where they spend their best waking hours, out there in the work world. We believers are to "do good” to everyone—not only to believers but also to outsiders (Gal. 6:10). How can pastors and other church leaders make workplace-ready disciples? Disciples who understand what "ministry” looks like in the setting of a non-religious job? Disciples prepared to serve Jesus in the spiritual war zone of the work world? 

Unfortunately, in many churches the work world seems to be off the radar ("tending to escape detection or attention”). The world of the working person, by contrast, gets constant attention in TV programs and movies. Recent movie examples include, "The Devil Wears Prada,” "Outsourced,” and "Employee of the Month.” On TV the characters in "The Office,” "House,” and "The West Wing,” all interact within workplace settings.

These films and programs recognize an obvious fact: in our culture, the social center has shifted to the workplace. Typically, people know their co-workers far better than their neighbors.

All of which raises an important question: How can pastors and church leaders incorporate workplace-preparedness into the DNA of their church life? That's the challenge I am seeking to address as I put this seminar together. You can help me do so by using the comments box below to provide me with:

Thank you for any help you may be able to provide. Please pray for me as I continue to create this seminar.

Comments (9)

Tez (7/8/2012 2:23:05 AM)
Okay, next to my family and my kids, this is my Passion topic! It's what gets my juices flowing.First and foremost, I believe that those statistics are proof that the church has fallen asleep. The church has narrowed itself into a corner and unless willing to adapt to some change, this statistic I fear will grow. Churches have been doing what they do because that's the way it's always been done. Some churches hold tight to Tradition. The church can never compete with culture. They will never win. Its just the way it is. But the church can certainly change from "doing" to having a strategy.If You read my "About" section on my blog, you'll see a line where I wrote, "I bleed Orange." I encourage you to check out www.whatisorange.com to learn more about that and to see where my firm stance on what the church should be doing.We (as in Us, Moms, Parents, etc) put So much responsibility on the Church for those poor statistics. I see it as a 50/50 deal. Parents need to wake up and realize that they are the primary spiritual leaders in their kids lives. The church is a "Partner" to you as a Parent. Or at least it should be. There in lies the problem. Churches are failing to see that they need to come along side of us as parents and support us and understand that what happens at home is far more important than what happens at church. I am a product of Christian parents, christian private schools and church all my life. I saw friends come and go within the church. From my experience, The leadership within the church are all on different pages. Nursery, elementary, youth and "big" church are all doing their own thing. There is no strategy. They are silo'd. I beg of the church to align themselves together with parents and have a strategy for how to get a child from birth through college not ever wanting to leave the church! It is possible. It just means people are going to have to adapt to change and let some things go. Sorry for the rant. I warned you that it was a Passion area for me. I could say so much more.... : )
Roger Andersen (8/14/2010 5:50:06 PM)
Hi Larry -
Love what you are doing. I'm the athor of The Executive Calling and have been doing a faith-work seminar series, including Faith@Work 101, The Management Epistles, The Ten Faith-Work Tensions, The Profile of a Leader and others. I'm not sure in what way I can help you, but I just wanted to reach out. Roger Andersen
Don Camp (8/15/2010 7:34:44 AM)
Help: I think regular affirmation of the importance of work and occasional references in messages to our calling to not only do good to all men but to be stewards of the natural world would be an encouragement for all of us to see our work through different eyes.

Challenges: Inattention. It is easy to lose a sense of God's calling in some jobs that seem pretty routine.
Peter Sinclair (8/16/2010 1:25:42 AM)
Dear Larry,
We at After Sunday in the UK are right with you. Have a look at our website www.aftersunday.org.uk . There is a link there to a talk we did at a recent seminar about Joy at Work. We are developing ideas and materials to address this much neglected area of the church.
If you want to talk, send us an email and if would be great to explore more.
All good wishes,
Peter Sinclair
Mark Jarvis (8/16/2010 3:51:54 PM)
Very little has been or is being done to equip or encourage believers in the secular work place. Almost the opposite seems to occur. More of a focus on a call to vocational christian service as the ideal or norm. As a workplace christian a clear message around how that work and our faith are not separate but one. That we are called to serve and live out our faith period. At times I feel like a second class christian since I am not in vocational ministry. Challenges: Ethics, balancing drive for results with compassion, conflicts between biblical principles and business requirements.
Larry Peabody (8/16/2010 5:02:30 PM)
Mark, I've just finished reading a book that speaks to the very issues you've raised. QUESTIONS OF BUSINESS LIFE is by Richard Higginson. Higginson (in Cambridge, England) spent 13 years bringing together people from the church and work worlds in seminars to discuss issues relevant to the contemporary business scene. He delves into ethics as well as the conflicts between biblical principles and business demands. I highly recommend this book!
Heather Baldwin (8/16/2010 6:10:47 PM)
I can definitely contribute some challenges I face at work! A large part of my job is interfacing with clients and providing them with services. This is hard for most people, and I am no exception. It seems like all I do all day is be interrupted by clients who want things RIGHT NOW (regardless of the things I'm working on that needed to be done yesterday). It's hard to continue focusing on God and treating people the way He does (not to mention maintaining a Godly attitude) with this going on all day every day. What makes it harder is that I work with all non-Christians, so I have to wait until after work to look to my Christian friends for support and advice. Encouragement and examples of how to maintain a Godly attitude at work, even while others are not would make for some great sermons for me!
Robb Shaffer (8/18/2010 5:32:04 PM)
This is a great ministry, Larry. I feel that our pastor does a good job of not ignoring the fact that we live in "the world" and his messages are usually directed at how we Christians are waging spiritual warfare. He does his best at trying to equip us, too. That said, I suppose that small group studies that are more specific to the topic (studied over a long period) would be a beneficial addition to the sermons.

The workplace challenge for Christians is to "walk the walk," as once you profess your Christianity (either informally or formally), others are watching. Many times, it is easy to get caught up in jokes or even gossip. Another challenge is knowing how far you can go in professing and living your faith in a world that wants to keep it separated.
Paul Peabody (8/20/2010 12:44:16 PM)
Hi, cousin Larry! On serveral occasions we have discussed the work world in our preaching/teaching times. One of the passages I have used is Genesis 2:15, where God created Adam and put him into the Garden of Eden to tend it. In other words, God's first official act was to put His newly-created man into secular work--for Him! Also, whenever I mention a list of ways to serve the Lord, I mingle "ministry" vocations and "secular" vacations together so that neither of them is honored more than the other.

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