Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- How Can I Get a Better Work-Life Balance? On this episode of his StoryChanger podcast, David Murray talks about what he has learned from Tony Schwartz, who is known for saying that we cannot manage our time, but our energy.
- Can Your Work Colleague Also Be Your BFF? Art Lindsley writes “Only a friendship of virtue can be trusted to rise to the heights and last throughout the challenges of life.”
- Faith & Work: How Can Pastors Encourage Congregants in Their Work Life? In this episode of The Gospel Coalition Q&A podcast, the second in a six-week series on faith and work, Matt Rusten discusses four ways pastors can encourage congregants in their work life.
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
- More links to interesting articles
- The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- My Review of Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson
- Snippets from the book Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore
- Recognizing the Invisible Worker. Russ Gehrlein writes about the significance of the invisible worker and how God sees their work. He addresses those who believe they belong to this special group, as well as those who may encounter them occasionally.
- Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
- Act As One. In this short video, Mark Miller discusses the 2nd move of High Performance Organizations, “Act As One”.
- Resetting Your Career in Midlife. Jeff Haanen writes “I’ve observed that some take an alternative path in midlife that acknowledges our limitations, pursues interior freedom, and embraces failure as the only pathway to growth.”
- What You Should Say After Every Week of Work. Trevin Wax writes “God delights in His work, one day at a time. As those who reflect His image, shouldn’t we also delight in what we’ve accomplished?”
- Love at Work. Howard Graham writes “In order to lead organizations into the future, leaders will need to value people over profit, relationships over tasks, and coworkers over customers.”
- Patience in the Workplace. In this installment in his series on applying the fruit of the Spirit in the workplace, Joshua Nangle discusses the characteristic of patience.
- 2 Ways Jesus is the Solution to Being Swamped. In this excerpt from his book Redeeming Your Time, Jordan Raynor writes “Increasingly, it feels like time happens to us – like we’re running a race that’s impossible to win. We feel beholden to our calendars, watches, and to-do lists, rather than having dominion over these tools which promised to make our lives easier and more productive. We have too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it. In short, we’re swamped.”
- 7 Ways to Work Hard at Rest. Gavin Ortlund writes “Over the last several years I’ve been through busier seasons, and now God has kindly provided more of a sabbatical kind of season. Here are some specific lessons I’ve learned along the way. Maybe they’ll help you to endure amid busyness and fatigue.”
- Gratitude and Life-Long Flourishing. Mark D. Roberts writes “Giving thanks is good for the “thanker,” not just the “thankee.” This is true throughout the seasons of life. Gratitude in the third third, however, has particular power to help folks flourish in ways that are especially relevant to the challenges they face in the third third of life.”
- The Word Before Work. Check out The Word Before Work, a weekly devotional helping you connect the gospel to your work by Jordan Raynor (author of the new book Redeeming Your Time).
Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- We all work for an audience, whether we are aware of it or not. Christians look to an Audience of One, our loving heavenly Father, and that gives us both accountability and joy in our work. Tim Keller
- With some obvious exceptions, whatever job we have, and whatever job anyone has, is significant, has value, and contributes to what God needs done in the world. Russ Gehrlein
- In America, what matters most are the results we produce. In Jesus, what matters most is the kind of people we are becoming. Scott Sauls
- You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you will lose yourself if you say work is the meaning of your life. Tim Keller
- Our vocations are one avenue for doing God’s work in the world. Tim Keller
- Finding your vocation, has to do, in part, with finding your God-given talents (what you can do) and your God-given personality (what fits the person you are). Gene Veith
- Next to faith this is the highest art: to be content with the calling in which God has placed you. Martin Luther
- All our work for God should be done thoroughly, and especially that part of it that lies lowest and is least observed by people. Charles Spurgeon
- Whether our work is paid or not paid, our work is to glorify God, honor others, and add value to their lives. Tom Nelson
Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson. Baker Academic. 304 pages. 2020
This well researched volume is unlike any book I’ve read previously. I’ve read many dozens of books about integrating our faith and our work. This is the first book I’ve read about integrating our work with our worship, and the authors tell us that there exists a profound separation between work and worship in the lives of many Christians today. Their goal is to explore how these separated worlds of labor and liturgy might actually come to be reconciled. They write that theologies of work matter, but they need to be sung and prayed.
The authors state that in light of the modern West’s struggles with worship and work, their research intentionally looked to other times and other cultures for wisdom. To this end, they primarily draw insight from premodern, non-Western, and nonurban contexts to learn from their collective wisdom. Ancient Israel, early Christianity, and the global and rural church serve as the primary guides throughout the book.
As Reformed scholars, the authors worked hard to highlight important insights from Catholics, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Baptists, and Eastern Orthodox. They also sought to learn from racially and culturally diverse worshiping communities across the United States and around the world. The purpose of the book is to explore how faith and work can be reconciled through gathered worship. The book aims to articulate a vision for worship that is “vocationally conversant.” By “vocationally conversant” the authors mean forms of worship that engage work and workers in a divine dialogue. Worship that is vocationally conversant facilitates an honest exchange between workers and their God. This book is focused on paid work, and is primarily focused on reexamining Sunday worship in the sanctuary. The author’s primary goal is to explore how gathered worship on Sunday can help reconcile the modern divorce between faith and work.
While rethinking Sunday in the light of Monday is the focus of the book, the authors also included a short, but helpful Epilogue “Rethinking Monday”. I also enjoyed the helpful side bar articles and examples included throughout the book.
This book will be most helpful for pastors, church leaders (elders, etc.) and worship leaders. The book is not a quick read. It covers much ground. Take your time with it. Read and discuss it with others. You will find that to be time well spent.
Below are 30 of my favorite quotes from the book:
- Worship gathers workers so that they might offer their working lives to God and so that God might offer his work to them. Worship scatters workers, transformed by the work and Word of the Lord, throughout the city to be salt and light wherever they have been called.
- Worship scatters workers so that they can extend Sunday worship into Monday work.
- Worship does not cease come Monday. Disciples continue to worship God in a new way through their daily work.
- A worker who does not practice being an active and responsible priest in the sanctuary will find it difficult to actively assume this role in the workplace.
- Pastors and worship leaders need to cultivate a hungry curiosity about their people’s work. Learning about their careers and callings will improve the sermons they write, the prayers they pray, the benedictions they offer, and the songs they select.
- It is important for pastors and worship leaders to regularly investigate the joyful and heartbreaking vocations that workers carry into worship.
- The more that pastors and worship leaders immerse themselves in the working lives of their people, the more responsive and conversant worship can become.
- Many workers sitting in the pews honestly believe that the cares and concerns of their working lives are not welcome in the sanctuary. They do their level best to suppress thoughts of work while they sit there.
- Intimacy with God at work can begin when a worker learns to bring their work to God in worship.
- The manner in which workers connect with God on Sunday is going to impact their connection with God on Monday.
- All Christian workers, in all industries, are invited to participate in the multifaceted mission of God.
- The workplace is a critical (if not the critical) space in which workers will either learn to follow Christ faithfully or walk away from him.
- The church’s mission is embodied in the diverse work of the people all over the city—and the church’s worship should name and reflect this.
- All work, when done in faithful service to both God and neighbor, is a priestly act of worship.
- God does not simply mandate human work; God delights in human work. God accepts it with joy, not as mere obedience but as worship.
- Human work must be responsive to God’s work, and that is why worshipers must continually rehearse God’s works in song.
- Within today’s faith and work movement much is made of carrying the biblical lessons of Sunday into Monday. The psalms enable the opposite. They give the worker an opportunity to carry their raw emotions of Monday into Sunday.
- Contemporary forms of worship can sometimes feel like a one-way conversation. Workers sit in the pews and are the passive recipients of sermonic monologues directed at them. The psalms, however, initiate a dynamic conversation, a vocational dialogue between the sanctuary and the streets.
- Work without integrity leads to worship without integrity.
- Work cannot be an afterthought in worship, an ancillary issue, a necessary evil. Work and how workers worship matter deeply to God.
- What would it look like for contemporary pastors, elders, and small-group leaders to actually know the workers they disciple and the industries they engage?
- Workers must carefully examine their work and their week before they approach the table.
- Corporate worship, therefore, must be intentionally designed to encourage workers to humbly offer their work and their whole lives as sacrifices—holy and pleasing—to God.
- Corporate worship can and should gather workers’ vocational requests and petitions. Through prayers and petitions offered in the sanctuary, workers can slowly begin the practice of dialoguing with God about their work.
- Worshipers who regularly carry their life and work to God in the sanctuary are being formed to carry God’s life and work back into their workplaces.
- The sanctuary’s ability to shape and scatter workers is critical to the health and mission of the church.
- The worshipers’ knowledge that they are not alone, that the community prays with and for them, can have a profound impact as they disperse toward Monday. It is from a prayer-filled community that they move toward a prayer-filled vocation.
- Workers need spiritual guidance on how to habitually draw near to God, listen to God, and faithfully worship God in and through their daily work. This requires spiritual wisdom and practice.
- Empowering the vocational mission of the laity in the city through the ministry of the word and sacrament is the pastor’s mission.
- In order for church leaders to serve the priesthood of believers, they will need to become more conversant with the working lives of people in their communities.
Faith and Work Book Club – Won’t you read along with us?
We are reading through Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore.
Discipled Leader provides struggling, stuck, or merely surviving Christian business leaders with a framework to grow their influence through becoming a redemptive (i.e., change for the better), Christlike presence in the workplace and living a more fulfilling life.
This week we read Chapter 2: Love. Here are a few takeaways from this chapter:
- How you serve others can define who you are as a disciple of Christ.
- Jesus’s example demonstrates that sacrifice is the heart of leadership. Jesus modeled the way for you to be a sacrificial leader.
- Leaders lead by serving, and service requires sacrifice.
- Through loving and serving others, understanding the costs of sacrifice, and continuing to do good, you will emulate Jesus’s example and become a sacrificial leader. But if you sacrifice without love, your leadership is worthless.