Looking Forward to the 2018 Faith at Work Summit: An Interview with Al Erisman

The purpose of the Faith@Work Summit is to gather active participants and leaders in the faith at work movement from every industry sector to learn from each other and work together to extend Christ’s transforming presence in workplaces around the world. The 2018 Faith at Work Summit, held in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare on October 11th-13th, is now open for registration! Early registration is now available at $239 per ticket, so be sure to purchase soon.

In anticipation of the upcoming Summit, I had the opportunity to interview Faith at Work Summit Steering Committee member Al Erisman, Executive in Residence Emeritus at the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. With over 30 years of marketplace experience at The Boeing Company and 16 years in higher education, Al brings us a seasoned optimism for the future of the Faith at Work movement.

AK: What will you be addressing at the Faith at Work Summit this year?

AE: One of the criticisms leveled against the faith and work movement is that it has been focused on senior business leaders.  This important area has received a great deal of attention, but the reality is that God has been at work in the work lives of people in diverse areas. Faith matters at work for doctors, lawyers, and government workers.  Faith matters at work for people at entry level positions. Faith matters at work for machinists and carpenters working in labor unions. I am eager to be a part of spreading this bigger message and broadening the conversation.  We are doing this at the Faith at Work Summit through the opening plenary, and through a series of workshops that bring in a diverse set of voices and work experiences.

AK: What inspires you about the Faith and Work movement today?

AE: When I see people getting excited about the connection between their faith and their work in various places around the world, and in various occupations, it seems clear that the movement is a work of God, not just led by a few people.  Being able to be a part of this work is a privilege. I have also been able to be a part of the Theology of Work Project where we have built a commentary developing what every book of the Bible has to say about daily work.  Faith and work is not a new idea, but one deeply rooted in the Scriptures. 

AK: What do you see as current challenges facing the Faith and Work movement?

AE: As with any movement, there are sometimes attempts for some to try to “own” the movement or to professionalize it. This sometimes results in a regimented way to see things, leading to factions. We need to come together, even with those with whom we disagree, to see God’s work here, and the many facets of this work.  It will never fit into a neat little box. The Faith at Work Summit is a great opportunity for us to come together..

AK: What are you looking forward to at the Faith at Work Summit?

AE: Connecting with old friends is part of it. Hearing some new ideas and meeting new people is another. This will be a great gathering. I have been a part of the two previous summits as well, and am very excited about the opportunity to hear about new things that God is doing.

For Al’s Talk on “Faith at Work at the University” at the 2014 Faith at Work Summit in Boston see:

 

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