Every Christ-follower plays an important role in the mission of God. However, many Christians struggle to connect the dots between God’s mission and their Monday to Saturday everyday lives. Some common perceptions include:
- My work doesn’t matter to God.
- Work is something to be endured in order to pay the bills and get closer to retirement.
- My church seems to see my ministry as only what I do when I am at church or serving in a church-run ministry. The influence and opportunities I have the rest of the week don’t seem to register.
- My service to God seems limited to giving faithfully, praying when I can and volunteering where I can in the church.
- Besides privately praying for my co-workers and trying to work with integrity, I don’t see how to make a connection between my work and faith.
Since Christ-followers spend one hundred plus waking hours every week living, working and serving on the frontlines of their communities, it is essential to help them steward this time and opportunity. Here are seven practical next step ideas to help make a stronger connection between the Church gathered on Sunday and the Church scattered Monday to Saturday:
1. Invest time reading and thinking about call, vocation and the integration of faith and work. Recent books include Every Good Endeavour (Tim Keller), Imagine Church (Neil Hudson) and Entrepreneurial Leadership (Goosen and Stevens). Os Guinness’ The Call is a classic on call and vocation.
2. Plan a teaching series around vocation and the integration of faith and work.
3. When we welcome new members to our church community, my local church asks each person to publicly share the primary places where they are Christ’s ambassadors. This simple question reinforces their ministry roles as the church scattered on the frontlines across our community.
4. Review the focus of your church leadership development strategy. Is the primary focus to equip leaders for service just when the church is gathered? Is there an emphasis on growing God-honoring leadership when the church is scattered?
5. In Imagine Church, Neil Hudson shares the simple idea of briefly interviewing a member of the congregation during each service in a segment called “This Time Tomorrow”. The three simple interview questions are: 1. What will you be doing this time tomorrow? 2. What opportunities and challenges will you face? 3. How can we pray for you? This simple interview demonstrates the value of everyone’s Monday to Saturday contribution in God’s mission.
6. Instead of just highlighting missionaries in the church bulletin who are serving oversees or vocationally, why not also highlight church members who are seeking to extend God’s Kingdom everyday through their vocation?
7. Pastors could set the goal of visiting one church member each week in their setting – workplace, coffee shop, etc. The purpose isn’t to recruit a new volunteer or to talk about the church gathered. Instead, the purpose is to listen, learn, encourage and pray for the church member as they live out the mission of the Church on their frontline.