After reading books on vocation, attending “faith and work” conferences, and committing to “cultural renewal,” most pastors will begin to ask, “So what?”
Now that we’ve decided work is crucial for both discipleship and mission, what difference does all of this make in congregational life? How should it influence our Sunday gatherings, prayers, sermons, songs, small groups, readings and pastoral care?
Leaders in the faith and work movement ask similar questions: “Why are there so few models for congregational implementation? And what do we do about it?”
Though Christians in the past decade have latched onto the importance of work, very few churches actually build into their Sunday services and annual calendar the habits and rhythms that affirm the idea that, as Steve Garber has said, "vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission of God."
Perplexed myself, I took these questions to our church advisory council and local leaders a few years ago.
I asked: "What do faith and work 'liturgies' look like in your congregation (either actual written liturgies or liturgies in the sense of regular habits and rhythms)?" I sent out an email plea for wisdom to this group — urban pastors and suburban pastors, seminary professors, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, non-denominational evangelicals and even Baptists (yes, there are are few of us in the faith and work movement). We gathered experiences, ideas, and practices from the churches of Denver.
Here is some uncut, unedited insight from church leaders in Denver that other pastors can use to plan “work rhythms” into Sunday worship and congregational life. Please comment on this blog post with any good ideas from your church, congregation or experience.
For further discussion and encouragement, all worship leaders, pastors, and ministry leaders are invited to join us for "Bridging Work and Worship," a conversation with singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken on May 19. Sandra will share about her work as a worship leader and perform selected songs from the new Porter’s Gate: Work Songs album. Guests will explore practical ways to bridge work and worship through practices including prayer, liturgy, vocation-themed songs, and worship experiences.
In the meantime, here are 10 ideas for faith and work liturgies, as shared by Denver-area pastors and leaders.
Jeff Haanen is a writer and entrepreneur. He founded Denver Institute for Faith & Work, a community of conveners, teachers and learners offering experiences and educational resources on the gospel, work, and community renewal. He is the author of An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life and an upcoming two-book series on spiritual formation, vocation, and the working class for Intervarsity Press. He lives with his wife and four daughters in Denver and attends Wellspring Church in Englewood, Colorado.