Interview: Surge Network’s “Faith, Work, and Rest” podcast

I want to recommend a new podcast that is exploring connections between faith, work and rest:

“The mission of the Surge Faith, Work and Rest Initiative is to help people discern their vocations and reimagine their occupations for the good of their neighbor and the glory of God.  We produce this podcast to curate opportunities for people to listen to thought leaders, glean vocational wisdom, and reflect on their own work. See why so many have joined the conversation by listening to an episode below or joining our Monday morning prayer team or keep scrolling to meet the hosts.”

The Faith, Work and Rest podcast is produced by Surge Network and hosted by Jim Mullins, Dennae Pierre, and Loren Kutsko. Jim serves as pastor of vocational and theological formation for Redemption Tempe. Dennae is the executive director of the Surge Network. Loren is the owner of The Entrepreneur Source.

I had the opportunity to interview Jim to learn more about why they started this podcast; their hopes and dreams; why they are talking about rest, and what we can expect in forthcoming episodes.

Chris Robertson: Starting and producing a podcast is a lot of work. What were your initial hopes and dreams for the podcast?

Jim Mullins: The podcast is a part of Surge’s broader Faith, Work, and Rest Initiative which also provides career coaching, facilitates retreats, curates conversations with thought leaders, and mobilizes work-related prayer. Our goals for every aspect of this initiative—including the podcast— are to help people discern their vocations, reimagine their occupations, and establish healthy rhythms of rest for the glory of God and the good of their neighbor.

CR: Unfortunately, I don’t see much discussion about rest in the faith and work conversation. Thank you for making that connection explicit with your podcast. Why emphasize rest? What do you hope people will learn as you discuss this?

JM: We’ve been in awe of what God has been doing through vocational discipleship in Phoenix over the past few years, but I’ve noticed a few areas of deficiency. It seems like our understanding of work has outgrown our understanding of Sabbath. When this is the case, some people tend to use their theology of work as a prooftext for their idolatry of work. Rest, wonder, and celebration are all gifts of the Sabbath; they help us pause to recognize God’s abundance, submit to our creatureliness, and remember our neighbors. Sabbath rest subverts idolatry.

Imagine if our cities were filled with followers of Christ who were committed to both fruitful work and joyful rest. What could be a more counter-cultural witness in our time than being a community of well-rested, unhurried, unworried, people who have chosen to trust in God rather than their own sufficiency?

[WOW! You may have read those last two paragraphs quickly and not really grasped what Jim was saying. Do yourself a favor – stop here and re-read them, then consider the implications for your work and your ministries before moving on. – Chris]

CR: I always enjoy the surveys you put out on social media when you’re looking for information on a particular topic. Is there anything you are looking for concerning an upcoming episode that The Green Room audience could help with?

JM: Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how people integrate spiritual disciplines into the workday. I’m curious about what practices people engage in to help them connect with God throughout the workday. Ideally, I’m looking for things that take about as long as a cigarette break, which seems to be the standard for how long a reasonable break should last.

CR: If a listener came away with only one thing from your podcasts, what would you like them to learn?

JM: I would want them to grow in ability to reimagine every task—especially the seemingly mundane—in light of the Biblical story. I want them to see emails as stewarding God’s gift of language for the blessing of their neighbor, spreadsheets as plots in God’s garden that are waiting to be cultivated, and mopping floors as dramatizing the New Creation.

CR: If you’re willing, please tease us with speakers or content from forthcoming episodes.

JM: Of course. There are two that I am really excited about. We have an interview with Amy Sherman, author of Kingdom Calling, where she takes us on a verbal “magic school bus” tour around the world to tell us stories of vocational faithfulness. I’m also excited about our interview with Oye Waddell, the founder of Hustle Phoenix. He’s going to talk about how they equip urban entrepreneurs to hustle for the common good.

You can check out the podcast at Faith, Work, and Rest.

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