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, January 8, 2016

A Workplace Ministry Pastor

Engraving of Jonathan Edwards by R. Babson and J. Andrews. (Public domain)

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a pastor, a missionary to Native Americans, and the third President of Princeton University. Among his descendants came scores of pastors and missionaries, 120 college professors, 110 attorneys, 60 authors, 30 judges, 13 college or university presidents, 3 congressmen, and one Vice President of the United States.

But there's more to the story.

While doing eight years of Ph. D. research on Jonathan Edwards, Dr. David Scott discovered something remarkable:

"One day…I came across the discipleship curriculum that the puritan pastor Jonathan Edwards had been trained in by his church in how to have a God-filled work life. They even had a name for it…'technologia,' a Latin term for their little-known method of teaching the art of God-centered work.... Edwards and his fellow students—future pastors and merchants alike—were tested in it in order to graduate from early Yale. The Puritans knew what it meant for the church to purposely pastor people in their work. We do not.” [For more, see "A Church Without A View: Jonathan Edwards And Our Current Lifeview Discipeship Crisis."]

The English Puritan Pastor George Swinnock said: "The pious tradesman will know that his shop as well as his chapel is holy ground." No doubt this was because the Puritan view of work was systematically built into the minds of "pastors and merchants alike" through the church. This was normative.

Yet today, for the most part, a "systematic worklife discipleship" effort by the church has gone the way of men's powdered wigs.

But things are slowly changing. Though small in quantity, an increasing number of pastors are making "systematic worklife discipleship" a priority. Tom Nelson, author of Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship To Monday Work, the Pastor of Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kansas, is a good example. Tim Keller, author of Every Good Endeavor, and Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, continues to be a leading voice in this matter.   

A local church in our area, Cedar Park Church, has placed a man on staff to serve as a Workplace Ministry Pastor. Paul Graves' total focus as Workplace Ministry Pastor is to help members of Cedar Park Church to discover their calling at work. Paul, a good friend of mine, has created GodWork 360 to restore a "systematic approach" to worklife discipleship through the local church.  

For more, see: http://www.cedarpark.org/ministries/workplaceministry/.

Paul Graves, Workplace Ministry Pastor at Cedar Park Church, Bothell, Washington, USA, heads up GodWork 360. The hair is different than Edwards', but the heart is the same.