Dec 23, 2010

Work matters?

When was the last time someone was interviewed at church about the work they do who was not in some form of full-time ‘Christian’ work?  I have to confess as a Pastor I can’t remember the last time we heard from someone up at the front of church.

What message does it communicate when we fail to take an interest in the work of those in our churches.  It seems to me that at least three of four things become imbedded deeply in the collective consciousness of the church.

1. The only work God is interested in is gospel work

2. The godly thing to be doing is being in paid Christian work everything else is second best

3. There is a sacred/secular split to our lives. Some things we do are important (sacred) and others irrelevant (secular). Unfortunately the vast majority of our time is spent doing things that don’t matter to God!

The problem is that as a Bible-believing Christian I don’t believe any of those things.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free – Ephesians 6:7,8

The problem is that unless I take steps to correct the assumption that most of what I do doesn’t matter to God the way we  do church communicates that in practise that’s what we do believe.

Mark Green, in an article for the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, gives some great advice on how in just a few minutes each Sunday for a month or so you can change the culture of the church to show that work matters to God.

TTT time.

Why not try, he suggests, interviewing a member of the congregation for just a couple of minutes focusing on questions about what they will be doing ‘This time tomorrow’ or TTT-time; eg What do you do? What are your challenges/joys? How can we pray for you?

Green suggests that this can have the impact of subtly changes things in the church.  He highlights four;

1. It makes the ordinary person the hero in the life of the church rather than just the missionary or Bible-college student.

2. It communicates to the congregation in a powerful way that work matters to God because the church has taken time out to think about it.

3. It creates new conversations. As we discover more about someone and what they’re involved in during the week we find new ways to talk to them.  For example how their situation mirrors ours, etc.

4. It triggers different kinds of conversations.  Green suggests ‘Issues that are often considered to be off the spiritual agenda – work, futility, failure, success, daily relationships, mission in daily life – issues that people feel that they can’t really talk about at church are validated as legitimate topics for conversation and prayer.’

So why not give it a try in the new year.  At City Church we will be teaching a short series in January on work and why it matters.  I think we’ll try to interview as we learn together and from each other.

1 Comment

  • I especially think point 3 is really key. There is no split to our lifes, work or home or church life are all the same. When Adam was created he was placed on earth not only to have relationship with God but to manage his surroundings. Even then a sense of purpose and a need to be active in something was an important part of life.

    There definately is no divide, everything is spiritual, even going to work. I think the key is learning to live with integrity in the workplace and church life, thats the challenge.

    Work is not simply a means to an end (a place to earn money) it’s also a place to grow and learn too as God can show us alot about ourselves in workplaces.

    Thats my little thought.

    Happy Christmas

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