Theology of Work

Featured Resource

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles. This unique Feature Film Version was created to enjoy all seven episodes in one viewing experience. Explore how God’s purposes are woven into every area of our lives: family, work, art, charity, education, government, recreation and all creation! The Bible calls us Strangers and Pilgrims, living in “”the now and not yet”” of God’s Kingdom Come on earth. We are also called to be salt and light, to have a transforming presence among our neighbors. Rediscover the role of the church and how our lives lived on earth matter in God’s plan for the world.

“For the Life of the World” is a stunningly well-produced, 7 part short film series produced by the Acton Institute. This is an ideal resource for churches, college groups and even youth groups who are longing to live “in the world” but not be “of the world.” You can rent it or buy it here.

Suggested Resources

  • Reframe, by Regent College and The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture. The ReFrame Film Project “is a dynamic and thought-provoking discipleship course that helps everyday people connect the Gospel with all aspects of life—everywhere.” Indeed, this 10 session video series promises to be one of the best curriculums available for recapturing a holistic gospel that touches all of life – including your work.
  • Redeeming Work Curriculum,  by Christianity Today. This six part series is a great place to start with any group exploring God’s purpose for work.
  • A Public Faith Curriculum. Put out by New City Commons, this curriculum is based largely on JD Hunter’s fantastic book To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. For those with deep questions and a bent toward academic dialogue, this is the way to go.
  • Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, by Timothy Keller. There have been few more integral to the contemporary faith and work movement than Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work is theologically rich and philosophically informed, yet accessible and filled with practical wisdom. Drawing on decades of study and ministry, Every Good Endeavor is probably the best introduction to a theology of work available today.
  • Why Work?, by Dorothy Sayers. An insightful essay by one of the 20th century’s best thinkers on theology and work.
  • Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, by Amy Sherman. For good reason Kingdom Calling won Christianity Today’s 2013 Book of the Year award. Theologically rich and filled with practical examples, Kingdom Calling is the perfect book for a small group or class interested in vocation, work, and communal well-being.
  • Laborem Exercens: On Human Work, by Pope John Paul II. The papal encyclical is a great summary of Catholic social teaching on the relationship between economics, work and labor relations.
  • Creation Regained, by Al Wolters. A mercifully brief introduction to Reformed Theology and Christ’s call to participate in the redemption of all of creation.
  • Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work, by Miroslav Volf. A foundational contribution to a theology of work. Volf’s focus on the Holy Spirit’s role in work stands in relief to Luther’s focus on the theme of calling. A great resource for students of theology.
  • When the Kings Come Marching In, by Richard Mouw. A short book that illuminates the presence of human work on the renewed heavens and earth.
  • Work Matters, by Tom Nelson. One of the best lay-level introductions to why work matters to both God and your community.
  • Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God, by Michael Wittmer.  A good introduction to why everyday life – including work – is so foundational to the Christian faith.
  • Work: The Meaning of Your Life, by Lester DeKoster. Work, says DeKoster, are things that we do for the good of others. This short book (95 pages) shows why finding meaning in work is so important for the Christian life.
  • Work Matters: Lessons From Scripture, by R. Paul Stevens. A Scripturally rich overview of work-related passages in the Bible.
  • Working, by Studs Terkel. Although this book isn’t explicitly Christian, it’s a profound work on the lived experience of work in the 20th century.
  • Closing the Sunday to Monday Gap, by Tom Nelson. A 5-part course that provides a framework from which church leaders can help their people close the gap between Sunday worship and Monday work.
  • Faith at Work, by Dr. Robert Harp. These five lessons will help you reflect on your life purpose to bring glory to God and the topic of calling and giftedness.