“Where do I start?” Perhaps you’ve had this thought a time or two when considering how to help us live out the gospel at work. First, there are so many different kinds of work: education, health care, trades, retail, manufacturing, small business, real estate. How can you know enough about these fields to be helpful to us on our vocational journeys?
Second, I’m sure you're busy! Planning worship, prepping sermons, doing weddings, visiting hospitals, organizing small groups, elders meetings, counseling, and a thousand other things battle for your time.
It’s easy to put all efforts to help us live out our vocations faithfully on the shelf of good intentions. But it need not be so.
Here are two simple ideas you can do in 2014 to encourage and equip us in our vocations. And both revolve around prayer.
Simple enough. But from the business leaders I know who’ve spoken to me bitterly – and sometimes longingly – about how they wish their pastors cared about what they did every day, this activity alone would be huge. People want to know that their work has significance, and that their pastor sees and appreciates their daily labor. This year, make it your goal to do this just for 15 people. Take your calendar, write down 15 names, block off 3 days to visit just 5 of us per day, and see if we’re not delighted to hear that our pastor wants to visit us at work. We may even be more effective for the gospel with your help.
Have 5-10 of us come up front and share briefly about how we endeavor to serve Christ through our work, and then have your elders or pastoral staff lay hands on us in prayer. This not only blesses those 5-10 people, but also communicates to your entire congregation that your church isn’t just about your own church programs, but that that you care about our life, our work, and our city's culture, formed in every way through daily work.
Pick a wide array of vocations (check out this great example of vocational testimonies from Comment magazine), talk to these people ahead of time (again, this depends on you knowing what they do each day, so Step 1 would be a good starting place), and put it on the calendar right now. This commissioning service also communicates that you believe, and expect, your people to be missionaries not just on short-term mission trips, but the 45-50 hours per week they spend at work.
As we end 2013 and look into 2014, we thank you. You have labored to bring us the Word of Life each week. Your ministry breathes wind into our tattered sails, and your commitment to stewarding the mysteries of Christ benefits us all. In 2014, as we seek to serve the local church more effectively this year, we ask that you pray for us in our vocations, because Christ himself promises, “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). And for most of us, we could use some divine intervention at work.
Brian is the VP of Formation here at DIFW and also leads our 5280 Fellowship program. Prior to landing at DIFW, he served in pastoral ministry for thirteen years and at Denver Seminary for four years. His vocation includes moving ideas out into life through relationships and conversation – whether that applies to God, work, the Church, good beer, or Liverpool Football Club. He married way out of his league, and spends most of his free-time being parented by his two daughters.