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, February 5, 2016

Continually Rethink

Recently I blogged about the work of Paul Graves, Workplace Ministry Pastor at Cedar Park Church, in Bothell, Washington. As follow up, I did a phone interview with Paul about his God-Work 360 program. Highlights from this call are below. 

Christian Overman: How can churches help members to live out their faith in the Monday-through-Friday workplace?

Paul Graves: The church must be ambitious and courageous in making internal adjustments and creating innovations that equip members to make the God-Work connection. By "internal adjustments and innovations," I mean creating opportunities within the church’s culture — its processes, structures, routines, governance – in short, its orientation to pastoral practices, liturgy, discipleship, etc. For followers of Christ to become mature disciples in the “outside world” of the Monday-through-Friday workplace, the “inside world” of the local church must have a fully integrated approach toward nurturing faith-at-work skills in intentional, repeatable and sustainable ways. 

Christian Overman: What is the most important internal adjustment a church can make?

Paul Graves:  Most churches have a variety of internal programs already in place that share common axioms, such as the centrality of the Word of God, the role of prayer, and worship. But the idea of “vocation,” or “workplace calling” is not yet one of the essential axioms of most churches. I’m suggesting that vocation/calling be one of those essential axioms, running like a common, unifying thread through all the church programs.  

Christian Overman:  How are you doing this at Cedar Park?

Paul Graves: Rather than throw a “bomb” into the middle of the room by creating some sort of “new thing” at the church, we are finding ways to build the axiom of vocation/calling into already existing structures. For example, our church has an emphasis toward small-group programs, so we have added small groups that specifically focus on the faith-work connection. Another structure already in place is the Sunday School. By providing classes that specifically focus on the faith-work connection, we are beginning to create an awareness of the vocation/calling axiom upon which we can build.

Christian Overman: Why is all of this important?  

Paul Graves: It is important because most members of churches spend the vast majority of their lives outside the walls of the local church. For most people, this is where our vocational calling is fulfilled. If the church is going to be truly supportive of the church ‘called out/scattered,’ it has to continually rethink how it does the church ‘gathered’ – not just on Sunday, but throughout the week. This was the model for the first century church, and we need to continuously find ways to reintroduce this emphasis.

For more about God-Work 360, click here.