What if our churches become clearinghouses for good work in our neighborhoods, facilitating connections between employers looking for good workers and good workers looking for good jobs? What if our church communities became incubators of small businesses, nonprofits, and volunteer associations built on the assets that are already in our community, waiting to be nurtured and to grow?
In her challenging book Kingdom Calling, Amy Sherman describes the movement of local churches orchestrating the skills and talents of their members for the reconciling work of the kingdom in their particular places as "vocational stewardship." Sherman urges churches to equip their members to recognize and use the broad range of their skills and talents (not just a limited range of "spiritual gifts") in helping their places to mature and flourish into healthy communities. At my (Chris's) church, vocational stewardship has meant starting businesses around the beneficial skills of its members, including my experiences in publishing/bookselling. It has also meant connecting people in the congregation with other neighborhood nonprofit and for-profit groups that could use their skills. With the assumption that everyone has talents that God wants to use for the kingdom, we get to know our members and their God-given gifts and then watch for opportunities for them to use and deepen their skills in ways that benefit the common good of our neighborhoods.
—Taken from Slow Church by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison. Copyright 2014 by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426.