We are reading Agents of Flourishing: Pursuing Shalom in Every Corner of Society by Amy Sherman. Sherman is also the author of Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, a book I first read in my “Calling, Vocation and Work” class at Covenant Seminary.
Every corner, every square inch of society can flourish as God intends, and Christians of any vocation can become agents of that flourishing. In this book, Sherman offers a multifaceted, biblically grounded framework for enacting God’s call to seek the shalom of our communities in six arenas of civilizational life (The Good, The True, The Beautiful, The Just, The Prosperous, and The Sustainable).
Here are a few helpful quotes from The Introduction:
- My hope in this book is to help pastors and Christian leaders live deeply and wisely into the call of Jeremiah 29:7: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
- In this book I try to bring together a vision of the church’s missional identity—including its rich, two-thousand-year legacy of advancing the common good—with a holistic, biblical, and sociological understanding of the dimensions of societal flourishing.
- I hope to offer a guide for congregational leaders willing and ready to live into God’s call to seek their neighbors’ thriving.
- This book focuses on local outreach, not overseas missions
- My purpose in this book is to encourage and equip congregations to seek the flourishing of their communities—based on a conviction that this is a central mission of the church in our time.
Chapter 1: All About Flourishing
- The problem isn’t that we want to flourish. God wants that for us too. The problem is our definitions of human flourishing fall short of God’s.
- Shalom signifies spiritual, psychological, social, and physical wholeness.
- God designed us for flourishing.
- True biblical flourishing involves the good of others as well as our own good. Flourishing is meant to be a shared experience.
- Throughout the Scriptures this vocation of flourishing others is described as the work of the royal priesthood.
- We were made for a purpose. Humans were created to image God in the world, offering up our worship to him alone, and to reflect his character in the world. We were made, in short, for worship and mission.
- We were made to be with God and to work in the world as his royal priests, bearing his image.
- What are we made for? Flourishing. How has God designed that to happen? By giving us the vocation of the royal priesthood.
- When we live in Christ as the priest-kings we were always meant to be, we experience flourishing ourselves and we contribute to the flourishing of others.