DIFW Founder to Turn ‘God of the Second Shift’ Into Two Books on Vocation and the Working Class

Recently Jeff Haanen, the CEO and Founder of Denver Institute for Faith & Work, and Intervarsity Press announced a deal to turn “God of the Second Shift,” Christianity Today’s second most-read cover story of 2018, into two books. Al Hsu, the senior editor for Intervarsity Press, says, “Our team responded positively to him and appreciated our call. We came away from the meeting even more enthusiastic about Jeff and his work. He very much aligns with our kind of thoughtful book and author, especially in the vocation and work categories that we have done with authors such as Steve Garber, Andy Crouch, Amy Sherman, Gordon Smith, and Tom Nelson. We see him making a fresh contribution to our understanding of work and vocation for a broader segment of the Body of Christ.” Expected publication date is 2022. 

Below is an overview of the book. If you’d like to stay informed about the God of the Second Shift book project, fill out the form below. Do you have a story about living out your faith in a working-class role? We want to hear from you. Email us at hello@denverinstitute.org

Over the last 50 years in the U.S., there’s been a growing divide between professionals and working-class communities. Since 1970, though professional wages have increased dramatically, the inflation-adjusted wages of those without a college degree have barely budged. For the majority of children in working-class households, that home is now a single-parent home. And those children face a widening education gap between them and children raised in professional homes. As inequality in America deepens, the Church has slowly become a haven for the college-educated, professional class, yet has struggled to grow in working-class communities.

Today, professional and working-class communities are largely segregated from each other, leading to growing ignorance of how “the other half of America” thinks and lives. The recent pandemic exacerbated this divide: while professionals work from home with their laptops, many working-class men and women have borne the pain of exposure to contagion, longer hours for “essential work,” or mass layoffs. Moreover, many leaders in the “faith and work” movement have emphasized the power to “change the world,” yet have unintentionally focused on influencing the powerful rather than everyday laborers.

In a time of growing class divide and partisan politics, pastors are searching for new ways to reach working-class communities, business leaders are struggling to hire — and understand — the labor that staff the low-wage jobs in their companies, and a wide range of professionals have a heightened desire to address the growing inequities in American life, from racial to socio-economic. Increasingly, working-class men and women themselves are feeling left behind and longing simply for respect.

God of the Second Shift: Vocation, the Working Class, and the Power of the Gospel to Heal the Growing Divides in America, developed from the second most-read Christianity Today cover story of 2018, is written for Christians concerned with the growing disparities in our culture, and who wonder if volunteering and donations alone can heal the chasm. Haanen begins by taking an honest look at modern American society, the growing opportunity gap in the last 50 years, and how 20th-century Church history parallels the current crisis. Second, the author explores how reframing our theology — from the doctrines of creation and fall to the doctrine of vocation — is a necessary precursor to widespread engagement by the Church. Finally, Haanen explores the power of the Body of Christ — women and men in diverse industries from finance to philanthropy to education — can work together to overcome a deep-rooted, systemic issue.

God of the Second Shift makes a valuable contribution at the intersection between secular books on class, Christian books on poverty, and “faith and work” books that generally overlook working-class motivations. God of the Second Shift gives readers an integrated vision of work, business, and social justice rooted in Christ’s love. The author draws together extensive research, dozens of personal interviews, and theological reflection to help readers understand, respect, and serve working-class congregants, neighbors, and coworkers.

“God of the Second Shift,” says Seattle Pacific University business professor Kenman Wong, referring to the 2018 cover story, “is starting to have a similar impact to Every Good Endeavor when it came out.” God of the Second Shift promises to shift the conversation around faith and work from influencing the powerful to the power of the gospel to heal the growing divides splitting America.

Exclusively for DIFW readers, we’re offering a free download of the original Christianity Today cover story. Please fill out the form below.