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Stories & Blog

Epilogue: For Pastors and Church Leaders

Epilogue: For Pastors and Church Leaders

Read the series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Equipping People to Serve

What’s the goal for pastors and church leaders in their church ministry? With Ephesians 4:11-12 as a guiding text, it’s to equip “the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”

The “work of service” in New Testament times had little to do with the multi-faceted opportunities of service in the Western, institutionalized church of our day where the building is the center of ministry. Rather, Paul’s instruction was to equip the saints to carry out the commands of Christ to love each another and their enemies in the societal and work cultures in which they lived. So, Paul addresses slaves and masters in Ephesians 6:5-9 and Colossians 3:22-25. He also addresses the church in general as they lived in Roman society under ungodly leaders in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13-17.  
This distinction between New Testament church culture and ours is significant, and it’s skewed our understanding of God’s design. Our workplaces are the primary venues, besides our homes, where we are called to live out our faith — compared to the two to four hours that we spend in the church building each week. It is incumbent upon you as a pastor or church leader to apply your preaching and teaching of God’s Word to the life situations your people face at home and at work.

Possible Action Steps

  1. Prepare a sermon or Sunday School series on these Theology of Work themes and/or the workplace. Seek to integrate applications to the workplace in all teaching and preaching.
  2. Provide small-group options and other resources for faith and work conversations. Check out these two excellent studies: Reframe and Everyday Works Curriculum.
  3. Proactively recognize the various workplace professions in your midst. Some churches commission their marketplace professionals the same way they commission a missionary or a short-term team. This practice helps affirm that all of God’s people have been sent into the places where they live and work.
  4. Provide opportunities in worship services and other venues for marketplace believers to tell their story about how they live out their faith in the workplace.
  5. Organize regular gatherings for workplace people for mutual encouragement and dialogue. Many churches have groups or classes around marriage, parenting, divorce, grief counseling, addictions, etc. A regular workplace gathering is another affirmation of workplace people and the ministry to which God calls them in their work setting.
  6. Offer periodic seminars on integrating faith at work. Below are several:
    1. Workplace Grace workshop offered by the Center for Faith and Work at LeTourneau University.
    2. Saline Process Training, a workplace witness training for healthcare professionals offered by IHS Global.
    3. Global Marketplace Impacta faith-at-work seminar offered by Crossworld for the global potential of the marketplace.

Recommended Websites

  1. Made to Flourish | A community of pastors that provides resources to help you connect with your congregation about work
  2. London Institute for Contemporary Christianity | Resources of all types to equip believers for life, church, and work
  3. Institute for Faith, Work & Economics | For believers “to live out a biblical theology that integrates faith, work, and economics”
  4. Theology of Work Project | “Connecting the Bible to everyday work”
  5. Oikonomia Network | “Helping pastors equip people for whole-life discipleship, fruitful work, and economic wisdom”
What would the advance of the kingdom of God look like in America and around the world if God’s people embraced God’s perspective on work as a reflection of God and means of His work? It’s our prayer that He may empower and equip His church through us for this high calling.
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