If the boomer generation tired of dividing their lives between secular work and sacred faith, the Millennial generation never intended to make such a division. In the past decade, the proliferation of books, materials and organizations devoted to the integration of faith and work bears witness to its growing importance.
At the Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism in 2010, Mark Greene, Director of John Stott's London Institute for Contemporary Christianity outlined a significant problem stating: “The 98% of Christians are who are not in paid church work have never been envisioned or equipped for mission in 95% of their waking lives.”
James Davison Hunter voices his warning about this neglect in To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. He writes, “When the church does not send people out to these realms and when it does not provide the theologies that make sense of work and engagement in these realms, the church fails to fulfill the charge to ‘go into all the world.”
As we continue to engage with young professionals, we find that many lack the confidence or are ill-equipped on how to connect their Sunday worship to their Monday mornings.
In fact, the Bible speaks more about work than about formal worship. Work, in its different forms, is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible. Seventy-five percent of the Bible’s heroes were employed in the workplace and much of the Bible’s teaching is workplace centered.
The workplace provides the greatest opportunity for Christians to express their God-given gifts and have a spiritual influence for God’s Kingdom.
Bill Peel, from the Center for Faith & Work, argues that "the scope of a church’s influence is not its Sunday attendance, but the sum total of its congregation’s relationships—most of which are with co-workers and colleagues (over 25 per person) with 1000 Adults influenced for Christ on Sunday vs. 25,000 influenced for Christ Monday - Friday."
The Potential for Cultural Influence
Our society is driven by values of the workplace—power, possession, and position—rather than justice, mercy and humility. Too often, the workplace becomes the dominant influence in one's spiritual formation. Equipping others how to navigate these influences is one need, however, the greater task at hand is to exhort Jesus followers to lovingly challenge the culture of the workplace through faithful presence.