Teaching Vocation at Trailhead Church

By Trevor Lee

This year Trailhead had the opportunity to participate in a Vocation Infusion Learning Community. It was an amazing experience and is shaping the way we think about discipleship and a number of practices we’re implementing. Trailhead is committed to being low program, so our goal as much as possible is to work at infusing ideas and practices of vocation into the things we already do rather than creating new programs. Here are some of the ways that’s happening.

Vocation Interviews

We’ve created a space in our weekly liturgy for an interview or story. Our plan is to do a vocation interview at least half the time, and as much as 75% of the time. At Redemption Church in Phoenix they call this an “All of Life” interview. These interviews highlight the specific types of work people do. Our first three weeks have been with a guy who flips houses, a teacher, and a stay-at-home mom. After the interview we ask everyone who works in the same field to stand and we say a prayer specifically for their work. Here are the four questions we ask.

  1. Tell us about the work you do.

  2. As an image bearer of God, what is one way your work reflects God’s character and his work? (In other words, how is the work you do the same as the work God is doing?)

  3. What is one way your work gives you a unique perspective on the brokenness of the world? (Sin infects everything–how do you see this specifically because of the kind of work you do?)

  4. God calls us to love others as he has loved us. What is one way you are able to “love your neighbor” through your work? (In other words, what’s a practical way you bless people through the work you do?)

Vocation and Kids

We are working on a number of ideas in regard to vocation and kids. We want our kids to grow up understanding the concept of vocation as much as they are able and feeling like it is an important part of what it means to follow Jesus. In other words, we want to make disciples who would find it strange not to see every part of their life as touched by the gospel.

One of the first ideas we’ll implement is giving parents a resource to engage their kids on the area of vocation, and specifically work, in the home. Many families do some kind of conversation around the dinner table. In our family we share our high and low for the day. So we’ll give parents a list of questions (similar to the four above but with language that helps kids get it) and encourage them to share this with their kids once a week. Then, as the kids start getting it we’ll encourage parents to have their kids answer these questions at least once a week.

Apply Vocation to Preaching

We’re asking our Teaching Team to consider how the idea of vocation relates to what they are teaching/preaching as they prepare. When possible we want to use real-life examples from people in the congregation to tie what we’re speaking about from Scripture to the life people live throughout the week. Sometimes this fits better than others, but we are at least looking for those connections.

Vocation Infusion Team

There are quite a few other ideas we have coming away from the Vocation Infusion Learning Community, but we can’t implement them all at once, and some of them will never fit. So we formed a Vocation Infusion Team that will do two things. First, we’ll review the things we’re already doing to see how effective they are and talk about how we can do these things better. Second, we’ll continually be assessing if there are new ways we can infuse understanding and practice of vocation into the things we’re already doing.

Trevor Lee is the Lead Pastor of Trailhead Church. This post first appeared on Trevor's blog.