After reading books on vocation, attending “faith and work” conferences, and committing to “cultural renewal,” most pastors will begin to ask, “So what?” That is, now that we’ve decided work is so important for both discipleship and mission, what difference does all of this make in congregational life? How should it influence our Sunday gatherings, prayers, sermons, songs, small groups, readings and pastoral care?
In a meeting in New York this past January, several leaders in the faith and work movement asked a similar question: “Why are there so few models for congregational implementation? And what do we do about it?” Though Christians in the past decade have latched onto the importance of work, very few churches actually build into their Sunday services and annual calendar the habits and rhythms that affirm the idea that, as Steve Garber has said, vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission of God.
And so, perplexed myself, I took these questions to our church advisory council. What do faith and work “liturgies” look like in your congregation (either actual written liturgies or liturgies in the sense of regular habits and rhythms)? I sent out an email plea for wisdom to this group - urban pastors and suburban pastors, seminary professors, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, non-denominational evangelicals and even Baptists (yes, there are are few of us in the faith & work movement). We gathered experiences, ideas, and practices from the churches of Denver. A few weeks ago, we discussed these ideas on one of our quarterly meetings, and this is what we got.
Here is some uncut, unedited insight from church leaders in Denver that other pastors can use to plan “work rhythms” into Sunday worship and congregational life. (Feel free to comment on this blog post with any good ideas from your church, congregation or experience.)
Jeff Haanen is a writer and entrepreneur. He founded Denver Institute for Faith & Work, a community of conveners, teachers and learners offering experiences and educational resources on the gospel, work, and community renewal. He is the author of An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life and an upcoming two-book series on spiritual formation, vocation, and the working class for Intervarsity Press. He lives with his wife and four daughters in Denver and attends Wellspring Church in Englewood, Colorado.