Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Out On The Playing Field

How can a church help congregants to cultivate a God-centered approach to the workplace?

Before I answer my own question, let me distinguish between the church gathered and the church scattered.

When I ask, "How can a church help congregants to cultivate a God-centered approach to work," I'm first thinking about how the church gathered might do this.

I'm coming at this question with the fundamental understanding that the purpose of the church gathered on Sunday is to prepare, equip and encourage the body of Christ to be effective as the church scattered throughout the city on Monday through Saturday.

Whether or not this is what every pastor sees as the purpose of the church is another question. Perhaps you've heard the statement, "The most important thing happening this week in our city is what's happening right now, here in this sanctuary!"

Dr. Vic Pentz, Senior Pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian, in Atlanta, used to see it that way. But no longer. In fact, he says he doesn't even believe it any more.

Does this sound like he has lost his mind? Take 1 minute and 16 seconds to hear Pastor Pentz explain himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YboJIUVm8Cc

Can the gathering of a church with its pastor on Sunday be likened to the players of a football team gathering at half-time in the locker room with the coach before returning to the playing field again?

While the analogy isn't perfect (there's more to the church gathered than the pastor's message), I think Pastor Pentz is on to something significant.

Of course the 'playing field' is more than a person's workplace. But since work occupies about 1/2 of a working person's waking hours, it's a pretty important chunk of life.

So what could happen on Sunday that might prepare congregants for engaging in their daily work on Monday as a "sacred task," whether swinging a hammer, driving a truck, running a business, or being a homemaker?

Next week we'll start exploring some specific ways in which a local church can cultivate a God-centered approach to life in the workplace, "out on the playing field."