“To be missional today requires that lay Christians be equipped by their churches to do three things: (1) to be a verbal witness to the gospel in their web of relationships, (2) to love their neighbors and do justice within their neighborhoods and city, and (3) to integrate their faith with their work in order to engage culture through their vocations.”
– Timothy Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
from Center Church, p.272
What is my church doing to equip our members to serve God in the context of their daily work?
Today more than ever, work is a critical opportunity for Christians to follow Christ in their daily lives, to bear witness to the gospel in a secular age, and to serve the most pressing needs of the world. At a practical level, consider that most people spend 50-60 percent of any week engaging their work. Yet work also tends to be the area of our lives that receives the least spiritual direction.
Denver Institute for Faith & Work (DIFW) is an educational nonprofit that provides theological education on work, calling and culture to laity and pastors in the city. Our mission is to form men and women who live with Christ in all of life, bear witness to the gospel in all of culture, and serve the needs of the world with the work of their hands.
We exist to come alongside churches and pastoral leadership in their own contextualized efforts to engage culture through the vocations of their congregants.
Through the church partnership network, DIFW serves local churches at a variety of levels in their efforts to equip the saints for works of service (Eph. 4:12).
How will partnering with Denver Institute for Faith & Work benefit my church?
Most churches maintain a portion of their budget for generous local and overseas mission support, though they expect little in return from those individuals and organizations which would benefits their own church needs. DIFW would like to partner with local churches in order to advance their own mission and that of their people.
Partnership with DIFW benefits both your pastoral staff and your congregants on their journey toward all-life discipleship and Christian mission in a secular age.
Each year, DIFW leadership crafts a customized plan in consultation with your church’s leadership to best meet your discipleship/mission goals for your congregation. As a DIFW partner church, we provide:
For Pastoral Teams
- Complimentary, quarterly Church Leadership events for pastors/staff that focus on theology, work, vocation, cultural engagement and faithful pastoral practice
- E.g., The Role of Shame in our Vocational Impact, a seminar with Dr. Curt Thompson, Sept. 2016
- Complimentary tickets to annual public events for pastors featuring some of the world’s best voices on theology, work and culture.
- E.g., Thriving Cities Symposium, October 2015
- One-on-one consultations with the Director of Cultural Engagement on connecting the gospel with the work of their congregants through sermons, liturgy, Sunday services, small group content, and church programming
- E.g., Discussing John 20 and Jesus’ resurrection and its application to work & vocation with Brian Gray
- A voice in forming future DIFW public events that will benefit both your congregation and the city
For Your Congregation
- Complimentary tickets to DIFW public events and forums for key leaders in your congregation on vocation, culture, and industry-specific issues (the number of tickets depends on your need/size of your church)
- A DIFW staff member teaching or preaching at your church (e.g., sermon, leadership development forum, men’s/women’s breakfast, etc.)
- E.g., “The Church in the World” Jeff Haanen, Cherry Creek Presbyterian
- A multi-church vocation event, organized by DIFW, which includes a speaker, conversation, and food, focused on the shape of redemption in workplaces that your congregants partake in
- Small group discussion and Church ministry resources on work, calling, service, spiritual formation, and culture (Over 20 discussion guides ready-to-be-used by your group leaders, accessed via the online Church Partner Hub)
Can DIFW help produce customized content my church can use on work, vocation or culture?
Yes, on a contract basis (apart from partnership), DIFW leadership can create for your pastoral team:
- Custom sermon research for a series on work, calling or cultural engagement
- Custom prayers/liturgy for your congregation, ranging from industry-specific prayers to liturgy affirming the mission of God’s people in the world
- Custom video of one of your people “on mission” at their work, to be used on Sunday for an illustration or commissioning service for laity
- Custom small group materials on work or vocation
- A customized “commissioning service” format affirming the daily work of congregants as a “missionary endeavor” in secular North America
- A vocational matrix survey for your congregation, revealing the types of work they do, their vocational opportunities & gifting, and how that might impact your external mission strategy
- DIFW staff can lead for your congregation:
- A 24-hour retreat for your congregation on work, vocation or culture
- A multi-week Sunday school class or small group facilitation on work, calling, or Christian engagement with culture
*If you’re interested in contract services beyond partnership, please email: [email protected].
How does our church support DIFW?
Promotion DIFW opportunities within your church:
- We host 8-9 public events each year, along with our 5280 Fellowship – a nine-month intensive discipleship program for working professionals. We ask partner churches to advertise these opportunities to their people as they see fit. This could mean a select email to four or five doctors and nurses on a “Redeeming Medicine” event, a general church announcement for events with wider appeal, or a web/bulletin ad.
- We create editable advertising copy for your website, bulletin, and/or social media platforms, and we offer a few complimentary event tickets for you to offer people as invites from your church staff.
- Financial support as a local mission partner. DIFW partner churches give at a variety of levels, according to church size, budget, and the scope of work DIFW does with your church. To date, monthly giving ranges from $100/month to $833/month. Some partners prefer offering annual support. When deciding how much to give, we simply ask churches to contribute (1) as a partner in mission to the people of the Denver metro area, and (2) as the Lord leads them to give outside their walls, and (3) in proportion to their overall budget.
What outcomes from our partnership should I expect for my church?
Through partnering with DIFW, we strive for five outcomes for your pastoral staff and your church. We want participants to: (1) Think theologically about how Scripture, the historic church, and the gospel of grace influence their work and cultural engagement. (2) Embrace relationships and build long-term relationships with peers in their church, workplace and city. (3) Create good work as a reflection of God’s own creation that contribute to a flourishing community. (4) Seek deep spiritual health and embrace an all-of-life walk with Christ. (5) Serve others sacrificially in word and deed in their work, communities, culture and city.
Ultimately, our prayer is to that churches and laity across the metro area become faithful to God’s call into a non-believing world as the participate in His healing of a broken creation.
How do we get started?
To inquire more or to join the church partnership network, please contact Brian Gray ([email protected]).
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This post was published January 3, 2017
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.