Sent To The Workplace is a 8-session program designed to apply faith & work integration principles to our profession, and connect us to resources that help us pursue our calling from God in the workplace. The program combines Scripture, good books, and helpful videos which give a broad view of how faith and work can be integrated. There are also application points at the end of each meeting guide that help you implement the principles learned here. This is best done in groups of 6-10 professionals who are committed believers and wanting to take an important next step in their discipleship.
Meeting 1: God Created Work
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God was at work. He created humankind and gave them work to do. This all happened before the Fall, which means that in our perfect existence pre-Fall, we had work! This should dispel any notion that having a job is some sort of necessary evil. We were created in the image of a God who works. We were all created with gifts and a purpose to cultivate God’s world. In this first meeting, we’ll explore God’s design for our work in light of his design for creation. We’ll draw lines from the way God first established human work to aspects of our current professions, and discuss the practical ways that our specific work plays into our stewardship of God’s creation.
- Read Genesis 1-2
- Read Chapters 1-4 of Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller & Katherine Alsdorf
- Watch Bruce Ashford’s talk on Gospel & Work at the Summit Institute
Meeting 2: Work and Toil
Despite God’s good design for work, there are so many frustrations that prevent us from being really fruitful at work. Keller’s book helps us by naming the brokenness in our work: selfishness, idolatry, alienation, fruitlessness, pointlessness; all of which can lead to despair. We all know these challenges intimately, but what can we do about them? This meeting will give us some ways to understand how our work culture differs from the values of Christ’s Kingdom. We will also look at how idolatry and sinfulness can infect our own attitudes and behaviours at work. Once we identify how sin and Satan are negatively impacting our work and our life, we can begin supporting each other and looking to God for his redemption..
- Read Genesis 3 and James 4:1-12
- Read Chapters 5-8 of Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller & Katherine Alsdorf
- Watch Jon Tyson’s talk “For Restoration” from Praxis
Meeting 3: Work and Our Identity
We are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), but we were dead in sin and our works had no power to do anything meaningful. Christ brought us back to life, and put us on a new trajectory when he saved us. Now our “works,” done in his name, can be meaningful and have eternal value. Where better to do good “works” than at work? We can stifle our productivity, however, if we do not know how to rest in the work that Christ ultimately accomplish for us. When we work hard to justify our own existence or our own worth, we will exhaust ourselves and end up empty. But if we understand our identity in Christ, we will know where our source for true refreshment and fulfillment lies. The work beneath the work is done .… Glory in that fact and work out of a grateful heart because of it.
- Read Ephesians 2:1-10
- Read Chapters 9-12 of Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller & Katherine Alsdorf
- Listen to Tim Keller’s sermon “Work and Rest”
Meeting 4: Work Transformed
Christ changed everything when he came to earth, died for our sins, and rose from the grave. Why shouldn’t what we do everyday at work be informed by this amazing story of grace and power? As we look into the gospel, we become inspired to work for our neighbors and co-workers with a self-sacrificial love. As we look into the depth and length that Jesus went to save us, we get an unending source of motivation to do things the way he would do them. As Andy Crouch makes clear, we we will all have opportunities to sacrifice our own benefit, comfort, advantage, and power to the benefit of others. Are we prepared to choose a path similar to the one our Redeemer chose?
- Read Colossians 3:15-25 and Galatians 5:13-26
- Watch Jessica Kim’s talk “For Love” from Praxis
- Watch Andy Crouch’s talk “For Restoration” from Praxis
- Read Fruit at Work by Chris Evans
Meeting 5: Working for the Future
Jesus is making all things new. The story that started in the Garden of Eden ends in the New Jerusalem, the New Heavens and New Earth where God finally dwells again with humankind. During this meeting we will ask the question whether anything we do now has any eternal value in that New Heavens and New Earth. At the very least, we can bring restoration to our communities and neighborhoods that gives people a sign and a foretaste to what comes next in God’s world. But this will take hard work, and the skills that God has given you for your vocation, to bring restoration. We’ll look at the ways that our specific careers and professions are part of God’s work of restoration in the world, both now and in eternity.
- Read Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21-22
- Read “Leaf by Niggle” by JRR Tolkien
- Read Amy Sherman, Kingdom Calling Chapter 2.
Meeting 6: Working for the Common Good
Keller talked at length about the Lutheran idea that God feeds and clothes the world through workers in their work. On a broad scale, businesses and industries can bring tremendous worth, value, dignity, beauty, and flourishing to communities and societies. Joseph saved a significant portion of the middle eastern world through his foresite (well, God’s foresite) and his skillful administration (acting with God’s revelation and wisdom). Businesses can also be tremendous blights on society or the environment. This week, we will ask the question of how our vocations and businesses are shaping society. How do our vocations already serve the greater good? How can we make sure that the culture and effects of our workplaces are heading in redemptive directions? Our small group discussion will help to answer these crucial questions.
- Read Genesis 41:41-56 and Jeremiah 29:7-12
- Read Kenman Wong: Business for the Common Good Chapter 2
- Read Greer and Horst: Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing, chapters 1, 2, 5, and 6.
- Read Tom Nelson: Work matters, chapter 7.
Meeting 7: Work and Mission
All Christians have a part in the Great Commission, which Jesus gave his disciples before he returned to Heaven (Matt. 28:18-20). Your workplace provides an amazing opportunity for you to help fulfill the Great Commission. Perhaps it is simply by building relationships with non-christian co-workers. Perhaps it is by heading overseas to fill an opening with your company in a part of the world that does not have many gospel witnesses. Either way, you spend too much of your life at work to not make sure your work fits into your calling as a Christian. This meeting, we’ll focus on the strategic role that our work plays in the mission of God, and what it looks like to be “sent” into our career field to be salt and light. We’ll identify unique opportunities for kingdom impact that we have through our specific professions. Then using our workplaces as the context, talk practically about evangelism and counter-cultural witness at work.
- Read Matthew 28:16-20, 5:15-17
- Listen to Ashok Nachnani’s talk “How To Share The Gospel Boldly & Winsomely” from the Gospel & Work Conference
- Listen to Andre Mann’s talk “On The Wings of Business”
Meeting 8: Work and Your Calling
This is it! You have made it through 8 meetings. Hopefully, your sense of calling and your ability to communicate how faith and work can be integrated have greatly increased during this time. We hope you have enjoyed praying to God and talking with your fellow Christian workers about what God is doing through your vocation. This is your chance to share, receive feedback, and make deep, God-honoring commitments based on what you have been meditating on in this program. Keep your “Sending Plans” with you and make sure that you choose someone from your group to hold you accountable to the changes you have been making in your work-life as a disciple of Christ.
- Read Hebrews 13:20-21
- Reflect on the questions found on page 181 of Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller & Katherine Alsdorf
- Watch J.D. Greear’s talk “Determining Your Calling” from Summit Institute
- Complete the “workplace sending plan” work
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