Blog - Supporting Believers

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A friend of ours works in a department that raises funds for a large hospital. While helping her to develop a workplace testimony, I visited her office. She mentioned how a Christian janitor had noticed she seemed exhausted. How could he could pray for her? Might he share her need—without her name—with other believers in the hospital? She agreed. Hearing this much, I wanted to learn the rest of the story. So, with her help, I arranged a meeting with the janitor.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Have you heard a “workplace testimony”? Like diamonds, such testimonies are rare but valuable. A workplace testimony is a report from one Christian's work world that encourages other believers to see and carry out God's purposes in their own work world and lives. If you were to develop a workplace testimony, where could you use it to encourage? Wherever Christians gather—in church assemblies, small group meetings or even over coffee with one or two others. The impact of such reports often amazes me.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Over coffee, a Christian friend recently told of his fear he was beginning to think and talk like the unbelievers in his workplace. So far as he knows, no one else in his job-related circle has made any commitment to follow Christ. Although he meets with other believers evenings and weekends, most of his prime-time hours isolate him from other members of Christ's body.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

How can you intentionally identify other believers in the workplace? Doing so will probably take you out of your comfort zone. That's true in just about any work-world environment. But connecting with believers in a military setting can present even greater challenges—challenges the rest of us can learn from.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

1543: The sun orbits the earth. Really? 

2009: The church meets to worship. Really?

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A few days ago Debbie LaFever, a woman in the small group that meets in our home, brought us up to date on her adventures as a Christ-follower in a public school. Her workplace testimony encouraged us all. So I asked her to write it up for this website.

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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.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010
Wow! None of my blogs has ever received as many comments as the one last week. In it, I asked: "How can pastors and church leaders incorporate workplace-preparedness into the DNA of their church life?” The responses would, I hoped, help me create a pastor-oriented seminar. Did they ever! read more...
Friday, September 03, 2010

"Mind the gap!” Those recorded words warn passengers in London's subway not to step into the void between the platform and the train car. In its paper on marketplace ministry, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization quotes those words as "an apt analogy for the gap between Sunday and Monday.” What can close the Sunday-Monday gap?

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Saturday, September 11, 2010
We had heard from our friend, Jackie, how she was seeing God at work in her government job. I asked if she'd care to develop a front lines report. She agreed, so I prompted her thinking with a few questions. read more...
Saturday, September 25, 2010
One of the responses to last week's post came from a dear friend and brother, Henry Paasonen, who recently "retired” after years of missionary service in both Germany and France. He commented on this quotation I had inserted from my book, Job-Shadowing Daniel: "In your so-called ‘secular' work, you can do what no pastor or missionary could ever do.” read more...
Saturday, October 02, 2010
A month or so ago I wrote that reports from the front lines offered one way to close the gap between Sunday and Monday. In this and the next several posts, we'll explore more ways to bridge that chasm. read more...
Saturday, October 09, 2010

This week the U.S. Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate has stagnated at 9.6 percent. Despite small gains in the private sector, we lost 95,000 jobs last month. Especially hard-hit: public schools. The news triggered countless stories in the media. How many sermons will refer to it?

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Saturday, October 16, 2010
Think back. When did you last hear prayer in a church service for those in so-called "secular” work? I can recall many publicly offered prayers for missionaries in other countries or for pastors who were ill or traveling. But rarely, if ever, have I heard such prayer in a gathered congregation for.... read more...
Sunday, October 24, 2010

When Daniel Rooney arrived in Ireland as the U.S. Ambassador, what would always remind him of the importance of his work?

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

This continues a series suggesting a number of ways to relate what happens in our church services on Sundays to life in our workplaces on weekdays. This post proposes another way to shrink that distance—pastoral visits to the workplace.

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Friday, November 05, 2010
In the October 2 post, I suggested a two-pronged strategy for meshing Sunday and Monday. The second part called for "encouraging believers to gather even when scattered.” One way to carry that out: promoting the formation of workplace groups. read more...
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Hands that work well require a fit body. In a similar way, believers who work well need a healthy church. The other day, I dusted off a book I had read years ago, one that drove home that point. read more...
Friday, January 07, 2011

George Peck’s father, a "devout Christian,” worked as an Australian coal miner. According to Peck (in the first chapter of The Laity in Ministry), his father "brought to bear upon his life in the mines the Christian faith that he professed.” But troubling thoughts kept nagging at him.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Can you help me with a project? I am seeking to identify difficulties believers encounter in living out their faith on the job. What dilemmas, stresses, or unanswered questions do Christians face in the world of everyday work? What do they struggle with?

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011
We speak of "going to church.” But if you "go to work” the next day, are you still in church? The New Testament calls the church the body of Christ. Does a bodily part—an elbow, an ankle—slip into the body one day and out of it the next? read more...
Monday, November 05, 2012
It’s time to create a new intersection. Back in 1974 when I wrote Secular Work is Full-Time Service (now published as Serving Christ in the Workplace), I was not aware of any other books on the connection between faith and the workplace. Since then, however, literally thousands have become available. Just this year (2012), for example, quite a number of new books have appeared. read more...
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

After reading my last blog on living out faith in the workplace, a reader emailed me with the following challenge: "If you could create it from scratch, what would a church look like that fully embodied a proper theology of work and really empowered its members to be ministers in the workplace? What would it do? Would it even resemble the traditional church and its meetings, practices, etc.?”

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Monday, November 26, 2012
To build the theology of work into its DNA, a church-from-scratch should settle on the New Testament’s reason for gathering: to build up, spur on, equip, and encourage one another. By contrast, our church traditions lead us to think we assemble to worship. read more...
Monday, December 03, 2012
Good work must be founded on God’s word. So in the from-scratch church, instruction on what Scripture reveals about work would take its proportional place in the menu of teaching about what Christians are to believe and to do. read more...
Friday, December 07, 2012
Friday, December 07, 2012

Leaders of a church-from-scratch don’t have to begin from scratch with the theology of work. A bumper crop of biblically sound resources on the subject is now available. Books by the thousands, videos, websites, magazine articles, and more. In this blog, I’ll include a brief description and a link to just a tiny sampling of resources.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In an email, a reader asked about "the governance structure of the from-scratch church.” No pat answer will do here. The Old Testament lays down precise arrangements and rules for the priesthood. But New Testament directions for church leadership are far less structured and more open to interpretation. Even so, I believe its instructions and practices offer some wisdom for those who wish to build the theology of work into the DNA of a church-from-scratch.

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Friday, December 14, 2012
The from-scratch church would make room in main weekly meetings for those from the workplace to bring reports from the "front lines.” Here, employers and employees would have opportunity to help others in the church family see their jobs as serving God. read more...
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The church-from-scratch should pray publicly for those God has placed in the work world. Think back to your own experience in church meetings. You’ve probably heard prayers for a variety of needs: healing, finances, building projects, pastors and missionaries, church programs, safe travel, and so on. But how often have you heard prayer for those in so-called "secular” work?

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Friday, December 21, 2012
Now and again, to help incorporate the theology of work into its DNA, the newly planted church should sing of God’s gift of human labor. Granted, there aren’t many such songs. To the surprise of some, a few workplace-oriented hymns have been around for a long time. read more...
Thursday, January 03, 2013

The newly planted (or the older) church should promote and help establish networks of believers engaged in similar occupations. Life in the 21st century creates a far greater need for such linkages than in bygone eras. Working Christians in New Testament times knew nothing of the modern forces that isolate those in today’s workplaces.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Whether new or established, a church should prepare its young people to live as Christ-followers in the world of work. read more...
Saturday, January 19, 2013
An appropriate title for the previous ten blogs might be, "Weaving Theology of Work into Church Life.” The theology of work is what God has said about our daily work. Scripture has much to say about it and about its place in God’s kingdom purposes. In Every Good Endeavor, Timothy Keller and Kathryn Leary Alsdorf open Chapter One with . . . read more...
Saturday, June 15, 2013

Earlier this month Roy Costner IV, valedictorian of the 2013 class of Liberty High School (in Pickens County, SC), stunned his audience. He ripped up his prepared speech in front of them and recited the Lord’s Prayer instead. A few days later on CNN, Piers Morgan interviewed the graduate’s father, Roy Costner III.

"Religion is slowly going out of fashion in America,” Morgan said. read more...
Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Estranged. That’s a word we normally use for family relationships gone wrong. But it also describes the gap between the work world and far too many churches. I served more than 20 years in so-called "secular” work and more than 20 years as a church pastor. I love both church and workplace. But like a child with estranged parents, I feel the pain of the separation.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Picture this imaginary scene: Jesus leading a workshop for his disciples on creating sermon illustrations. Now suppose Peter raises his hand and asks, "Where can we find good ones?” How do you think Jesus would answer? I strongly suspect he would say something like, "Do what you’ve seen and heard me do—look for illustrations in the workplaces of those you’re teaching.”

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Monday, August 24, 2015
Years of emphasizing the importance of making workplace-ready disciples has led me to the writing of another book. Not on Christians in the workplace, as such, but on the way we do church. read more...

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