Idea #23: How the Bible Inspired Christian Professionals to be Faithful at Work
Most people spend much of their waking hours at work in the marketplace, whether that’s business, education, government, or non-profit organizations. For those not working in vocational ministry or religious work, bringing biblical values to work is less obvious, or so it had seemed.
Jerry Higgins (in Workplace Ministries: A Return to the New Testament Mission Field) described how much the Bible does have to say about work:
Ministry in the workplace is prevalent throughout the Bible. The term “work” is mentioned more than 800 times and the Hebrew word “avodah” is the root from which we get the words “work” and “worship.”
Forty-five of Jesus’ 52 parables were about work, while 39 of 40 divine encounters in the Book of Acts occurred in workplace settings.
In recent years, an increasing number of Christian marketplace ministries are explicitly making the connection of faith and work, as Ken Walker noted (in It’s Time for Marketplace Ministry, Charisma Magazine, May 2003):
Groups such as Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI) and Christian Business Men’s Committee (CBMC) have proved for years that business and the gospel form a fruitful partnership. Today, more than 900 other ministries have sprung up internationally, many of them in the last decade, with diverse approaches to marketplace ministry…
The Cutting Edge of Marketplace Ministries: How businesses are doing more holistic ministry than ever (Christianity Today, October 2012) summarized that there are primarily four different ways that Christian faith has been brought to the work place. Princeton University scholar David W. Miller, author of God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement, has observed that, “… most marketplace ministries since the 1980s have focused on personal integration. And most model one of four ways of integrating faith and work, what he calls the four Es:
- Evangelism, training members in sharing their faith with co-workers, launching Bible studies, or bringing in Christian chaplains for the company.
- Ethics, providing encouragement and accountability to businesspeople to help them maintain biblical standards of behavior. A few go beyond this to addressing broader ethical issues at the “mezzo” or corporate level and the “macro” or societal level.
- Enrichment, including “healing, prayer, meditation, consciousness, transformation, and self-actualization.”
- Experience, in which groups tackle questions of vocation, calling, meaning, and purpose, and help members explore both the intrinsic and extrinsic value of work.
Several faith and work ministries that are worth mentioning for producing valuable resources:
- At Work on Purpose <atworkonpurpose.org> “guides Christians to find and fulfill God’s purposes for work. Collectively, the At Work on Purpose community embraces a vision of restoring full Christian commitment and contribution to work. From the beginning, we have been mobilizing the work world for Christ!”
- The Center for Faith & Work <faithandwork.com> is the cultural renewal arm of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and its programs are aimed at equipping, connecting, and mobilizing the church to effectively engage the city, emphasizing the importance of meaningful faith and work integration.
- The Theology of Work Project <theologyofwork.org> exists to help people explore what the Bible and the Christian faith can contribute to ordinary work by providing the most trusted, highest quality resources on applying the Bible and other resources of the Christian faith to ordinary work… [their] resources are meant to be theologically rigorous and genuinely practical.
- WorkLife <worklife.org> “We research, we pray, we listen to what people struggle with at work. And then, we plan, we design, and then build and deliver amazing vision and tools to help the body of Christ thrive at work… experience the amazing joy and purpose that God intended through work.”
- Marketplace Leaders <marketplaceleaders.org> “is a voice and agent to create tools that inspire, teach, and connect Christian believers to resources and relationships in order to manifest the life of Christ in their workplace call.”
- Fellowship of Companies for Christ International <fcci.org> “is a global fellowship of business leaders united by a vision that the Lord can transform people, business, cultures, and nations through how we do business.”
Other organizations are listed at godisatwork.org/organizations.html, courtesy of Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. Would you know where there’s a list of those 900+ marketplace ministries or any others that you know of? Please add a comment and share.
This article is part of the blog series, 66 Ideas for .BIBLE Domain Names, with practical ideas for using .BIBLE domain names. Individuals and organizations can now register .BIBLE domain names that are more shareable, memorable, and meaningful at any accredited registrar.