“Work is not evil, a product of the Fall, but part of God’s good creation and part of the purpose of our human existence.”
Gordon Preece, Al Miyashita, Willy Kotiuga of the Lausanne Workplace Network
Where do you spend the majority of your time – at work, home, church, with leisure activities? If you’re like most people, a significant amount of your time is spent at work.Do you see your work as a necessary evil (bills to pay, kids to get through college, retirement funds to build) or is it the place where God wants you to serve Him?
The Cape Town Commitment challenges believers to see the significance of their work, regardless of what they do, because,
“Most Christians spend most of their time in work which they may think has little spiritual value (so-called secular work). But God is Lord of all of life. ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,’ said Paul, to slaves in the pagan workplace.” (Colossians 3:23)
“We encourage all believers to accept and affirm their own daily ministry and mission as being wherever God has called them to work. We challenge pastors and church leaders to support people in such ministry – in the community and in the workplace – ‘to equip the saints for works of service [ministry]’ - in every part of their lives.”
In their lead article, “Truth and the Workplace,” Gordon Preece, Al Miyashita, Willy Kotiuga of the Lausanne Workplace Network, turn our focus this month to workplace ministry. The authors emphasize the need for Christians to recognize their work as a calling from God. Unfortunately, they say, many churches are not equipping and training believers to view their work as a place for ministry, a fact they believe points to a failure to disciple Christians for the workplace and, “an overall lack of commitment to whole-life disciple-making in general. Jesus did not come to redeem our leisure time, but all of our time, including the place where most of most people’s time is spent, at work.”
They go on to explore what’s been called the “sacred-secular divide” which falsely divides our lives into secular and sacred, when in fact all of what we do (whether it’s from 9 am to 5 pm or 5 pm to 9 am) should be committed to Christ. The authors challenge the church with a, “call for a radical change of mission strategy, from seeking to recruit church members to use some of their leisure time to support the ministry and mission of paid professionals (whether local or cross-cultural), to equipping the whole people of God for fruitful mission in the whole of their life, including their daily work – whatever and wherever that may be.”
Read the Article from Gordon Preece, Al Miyashita and Willy Kotiuga Here
In his response to the article, D. G. Elmore believes the problem isn’t so much a sacred-secular divide but rather a problem of commitment of Christ. He says, “The issue is whether the men and women who attend church truly have Jesus as Lord of their lives.” He goes on to challenge believers to submit to Jesus as Lord of every aspect of their life – including work.
Read D.G. Elmore’s Response Here
Larry Peabody says it’s time to rediscover why we gather at Church. In his view the secular-sacred divide is compounded by what he believes is a mistaken focus on the purpose of coming together as believers. He says, “we are to gather to build up, encourage, and spur on one another,” including preparing people to do the work in which God has called them.
Read Larry Peabody’s Response Here
What are your views on this matter – as a pastor or a layperson? How does your church address people and their work?
Join the Conversation on this topic today. Additional articles, resources and videos will be shared in the next few weeks as a part of our focus on Workplace Ministry. See below for the full list of resources as they are added throughout the month.
Next month we’ll explore the relevance of proclamation evangelism in today’s world.
Week 1: The Sacred - Secular Divide
Truth and the Workplace - Gordon Preece, Al Miyashita, Willy Kotiuga