September 4, 2006

The Church in the Workplace: How God's People Can Transform Society

Though I don't normally celebrate Labor Day except to enjoy a holiday from work, this year I am thinking about the day as something of a sabbath, a time of rest from the five-day routine.

Writing about what he refers to as the "extended church," C. Peter Wagner ruminates about the spirituality of work. He concludes chapter 1 with the thesis, Yes, there is a church in the workplace-we are that church-and what we do in the workplace is just as much ministry, service to God and even worship as what we do on Sunday in our local church.

Perhaps taking cues from Dorothy Sayers, it is refreshing to see more and more Christian writers with view of life that is not defined by compartmentalization, but sees God's purposes in every area. Sayers wrote, is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker's faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God. (Creed or Chaos? Sophia Inst. Press, 1974, p. 73)

This view of work is not intended to elevate one type of work over another, but is simply to recognize that all that is work calls us to function according to the nature of our creation. Having been created in God's image, we are creative beings. As Adam and Eve were purposed to cultivate the Garden, we can appreciate that all work is service to God. In a sense, we can understand work as one of God's communicable attribute. What does this say about our call to excellence?


Bonnie said...

it is refreshing to see more and more Christian writers with view of life that is not defined by compartmentalization

Amen. I've wondered about compartmentalization itself, whether it's at all gender-related. (My casual observation suggests that it is.) But I wonder sometimes whether people compartmentalize in order to not have to deal with the ramifications of not compartmentalizing (that's vague, sorry :-) ).

Anyway, nice blog! I look forward to reading on a regular basis.

Collin Brendemuehl said...

Certainly well-written. Keep it up.

But, alas, I must disagree. :)
Our task is not to transform society. I've still to find any NT injunction to the church for that purpose. So unless you've gone amil on me .... :)


Sarah Flashing said...

I think Scripture is clear that when hearts are changed, lives are transformed....and ultimately society (or parts of it) can be transformed (in part). That's why societal transformation cannot be to the neglect of the gospel proclamation. Anything less than that is an attempt at neutrality on the basis of pragmatism.

David said...

A great place for people to talk about God in the workplace is the Red Letter Believers blog