By Jeff Haanen & Dustin Moody; reprinted from the Denver Institute for Faith and Work
Living out our faith at work looks different for doctors, lawyers, accountants, and professionals in various industries, and ministry leaders often struggle to fully understand the challenges their members face in the workplace. At a recent event for our Church Partnership Network, Jeff Haanen shared seven practical ways to disciple the professionals in our pews.
1. Visit your members in the workplace.
“Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
One of the easiest ways to learn how church attendees spend the majority of their time is to visit them where they work. It’s also the best way to understand the challenges they face in their respective jobs or industries, which will enable ministry leaders to pray for and encourage them in relevant and specific ways.
Frequency: 2-4 times per year
2. Host a commissioning service for church members in the workplace.
“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
Many churches formally commission missionaries and mission teams prior to field assignments. The same attention can be given to lay members of the congregation as they go “out” to their work.
3. Use workplace illustrations in your sermons.
Most of us spend about 90,000 hours at work, but only 5,000 at church on Sundays. Relate to church members with relevant examples and sermon illustrations from their jobs or industries that connect with each week’s teaching. Even better: use examples right from your congregation.
4. Pray for people in different industries.
“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field…” (Matthew 9:38)
If we believe in the power of prayer, why not pray specifically for church attendees during tough or busy times? Pray for teachers in the fall, retail employees during the holidays, etc.
5. Feature worship music that affirms work and creation.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Church attendees will experience a deeper sense of connection when they see their work affirmed through corporate worship. Check out the new Porter’s Gate: Work Songs album, or attend our upcoming workshop for pastors and worship leaders to learn more about bridging work and worship.
Frequency: 1-2 times per month
6. Select small group curriculum that focuses on work, calling, and culture.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37–39)
Many believers struggle with feelings of isolation at work. Address this growing frustration through industry based small group curriculum that explores issues of calling, cultural engagement, and the challenges unique to a variety of industries. Take a look at Scatter and download a free lesson plan to get started.
Frequency: 1-2 times per year per group
7. Host “all-of-life” interviews in your worship services.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 5:13.
Find an attendee who is fully living out the gospel in their unique work context and share their story. Redemption Church in Tempe provides a great example.
For more resources for churches and ministry leaders, take a look at our Church Partnership Network.
Jeff Haanen is the Founder of Denver Institute for Faith & Work and the 5280 Fellowship. He contributes to various magazines and publications, including Christianity Today. He has previously served as a school administrator, a pastor and missionary. He holds a B.A. in International Economics and Spanish from Valparaiso University and a Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary. Jeff attends Littleton Christian Church with his wife and four daughters. Jeff has written for The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, The Gospel Coalition, and Christianity Today.
Dustin Moody oversees the marketing, publications, social media, and website as the director of communications for the Denver Institute of Faith & Work. He has previously served with the University of Colorado Boulder and Wycliffe Bible Translators. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida and is pursuing his M.A. in Communication from the University of Colorado Denver. Dustin also serves on the board of the Colorado Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He and his wife, Laura, attend Storyline Fellowship in Arvada.