Discipleship with Monday in Mind: How Churches Across the Country Are Helping Their People Connect Faith and Work by Skye Jethani and Luke Bobo. Made to Flourish. 100 pages. 2017
This short, but very helpful book from the Made to Flourish organization, shares information from interviews conducted about what pastors across the country are doing to help their people connect Sunday to Monday. I found many helpful ideas in the book.
The interviews identified three recurring pathways being followed:
- Pathway One: Through the Marketplace
- Pathway Two: Through the Millennials
- Pathway Three: Through the Scriptures
The authors look at three of the most frequently cited pastoral practices. These are activities an individual pastor or church leader may begin independently – with no new programs to create or budgets to approve. For that reason, these practices may be the best place for a pastor seeking to integrate faith, work, and economics into their congregation to begin.
- Pastoral Practice One: Curiosity. Although rarely identified as a pastoral characteristic, curiosity is an essential quality of any person called to shepherd and equip God’s people.
- Pastoral Practice Two: Workplace Visitations. Regularly visiting people at their work was by far the most cited, and most transformative, pastoral practice that was uncovered in the interviews. Workplace visitation is a practice that simultaneously informs the pastor as it affirms the member.
- Pastoral Practice Three: Prayer and Counseling. Having a fuller understanding of church members’ vocation and workplaces also shifts the way pastors pray for their people. Some of the church leaders interviewed reported a shift in their counseling practices as well.
Among the many ideas I picked up from the book were:
- To communicate the sacredness of work, many churches have “Faith at Work” interviews during the worship service. One church has also incorporated a version of this in their children’s ministry. The aim is to get children thinking about faith and work at an early age.
- Commission people to specific vocations in the same way you would pray for pastors or foreign missionaries. One church has commissioned those in finance, law, the arts, and the health industry, thus far. Commissioning services have a powerful ability to affirm people in their work.
- Instead of a traditional adult Sunday School, one church hosted a seminar series called Vocare. The purpose of the seminar was to explore the intersection between the gospel culture and vocation, thinking through how we live out our call as God’s people in the world in light of the challenges and opportunities of our cultural moment.
- One church, in place of Vacation Bible School, started an “All of Life” camp. The church takes children who attend the camp to various workplaces where adults are working, and they talk about their work. The goal is to give these students a rich experience within that particular work context.
- Some churches have started vocational affinity groups. The idea is to place Christians who serve in the same industry in a small group for mutual encouragement and instruction.
- One church launched industry roundtables, which were organized around vocations. These were mid-size communities, organized around a particular industry. The purpose of the groups was to explore “theology, ethics, best practices, tensions, and networking.”
- Many pastors found that the most effective way to promote faith and work integration was by starting a nonprofit.
- Many churches are addressing the “E” in FEW (Faith, Work and Economics) faith by coming alongside and assisting those interested in being entrepreneurs.
- One church sponsored a BIZ Camp. Young people were taught how to develop business plans. Business leaders served as sounding boards to help the aspiring teenage entrepreneurs fine-tune their business plans and, eventually, launch new businesses.
The authors write that integrating faith, work and economics theology into the life of the church can be methodical and frustratingly slow, but also rewarding. Pastors interviewed are prayerfully seeking ways to integrate this theology into four areas in their local bodies: corporate worship, pastoral practice, discipleship/spiritual formation, and outreach and missions.
Throughout the book the authors shared stories of people who has imbibed the particular theology of faith and work integration and lived it out.
I highly recommend this book for church leaders interested in helping their people connect their faith with the work.