A few months ago, I had the privilege of hearing J. D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in North Carolina, speak about making work Christian. Unfortunately when most Christians think of trying to combine their faith and their careers, they assume they must work for a Christian company, a non-profit, or—at the very least—a company with a not-so-subtle Christianese name (e.g., a coffee shop called "He Brews"). Or, if they can't seem to find a job at the right kind of company, many assume that combining their faith and careers requires sharing their faith in very direct, even awkward, ways.
But Greear set the record straight. One fact that he shared completely blew me away. Pointing to Acts, he stated that of the three great church planting centers in the ancient world (Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome), not one was founded by an apostle. Rather, the gospel was spread the furthest by ordinary business people on the coattails of commerce. Instead of specially trained missionaries telling people about Jesus, everyday laypeople were living out a holistic faith that included their business endeavors.
Greear's main point was that we church leaders must equip the people in our congregations to live out a similar holistic faith that encompasses every area of their life, including their work. Rather than live out our faith a few hours a week in special places or roles, we must live out our faith every hour of every day. Who better to equip the everyday men and women in our churches than small-group leaders who are living life week-in and week-out with them—and are most likely laypeople themselves?
So I want to point you to a few resources that can help:
Redeeming Work Events from Leadership Journal
These one-day events happening around the country (beginning in Chicago on March 13) will explore the latest research and biblical scholarship on faith and work and how to recapture a theology of vocation. Hear great speakers as they address how to equip people to live out their faith every hour of every day. Register today!
Serving God in Our Jobs, by Amy L. Sherman
This article fleshes out a biblical theology of work. Use it to clarify your own understanding or hand it out to group members to start a conversation about faith and work.
Christians at Work, by J. D. Greear
This article explains five qualities that make work "Christian" and puts to rest many assumptions about what it looks like to combine our work and faith.
Praying for Our Work, by MaryKate Morse
This article features prayer exercises to help your group members connect their faith and work. It's a great way to explore this topic.
Leverage Work for God's Mission, by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison
This article gives practical steps churches and small groups can take to help group members see their work through a new lens of mission.
Redeeming Work, a Video Bible Study
This streaming video study will help your group members understand the connection between their faith and their work. Plus, you'll find helpful materials just for leaders to help you understand the theology behind work and calling.
As a small-group leader, you are perfectly poised to help your group members understand this concept and begin living out a more holistic faith. Let us know how you're equipping your group members in the comments below.