The purpose of the Faith at 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 available at $239 per ticket until September 15th, so be sure to purchase soon.
In anticipation of the upcoming Summit, I had the opportunity to interview DeLano Sheffield, Pastor of Discipleship at Macedonia Baptist Church in Kansas City. DeLano co-directs the Linwood Fellows, a discipleship arm of Macedonia Baptist that seeks to integrate faith, work and economics in practical ways throughout the body life of the church. He also serves as the Co-City Network Leader for Made to Flourish– Kansas City, a pastor’s network for the Common Good. Delano brings to his tasks the heart of a pastor who desires to shepherd his congregation well in integrating faith and work.
AK: What will you be addressing at the Faith at Work Summit this year?
DS: This year, I will be speaking about the concept of shepherding as a worker. In our time together we will tease out how the Gospel inclines us to a certain type of hopeful presence in our daily activities. We will explore some practical examples about being good shepherds in the fields of our day.
We will delve into the nature of faith and work in practical terms. What does it mean to be a representative shepherd in the course of our day? How do we do this well? What could be concepts and people next to us that we are missing? My hope is that the talk will really push us to think right along with our heart, head, hands and feet; that we all walk away from this conference and the good things we learn from the speakers and especially one another thinking about our Shepherd.
AK: What inspires you about the Faith and Work movement today?
DS: I am always rooting for the proverbial underdog in the church. There is always a need to keep reshaping our understanding of what it means to follow Christ and to be in community with one another. I am inspired by the increased diversity of voices that are speaking into the faith and work movement. I am especially hopeful that this movement ultimately affirms the priesthood of all believers and every disciple’s relevance to making something of the day.
If every person is of value, then every part of the body that speaks into this concept of living out calling in every context brings clarity to what it means to see faith integrated with work. I believe that when we find dignity in all types of work in very practical terms, we will begin to recognize why the people who occupy the calling in that occupation are of great value. And we will also (perhaps) begin to see better why those occupations matter or how they can be done better.
AK: What do you see as current challenges facing the Faith and Work movement?
DS: One challenge facing the movement is intimately tied to the issue the church finds itself dealing with in this era: how do we elucidate transcendent value and meaning in an era where immediate satisfaction appears to pay out benefits that feel transcendent? The movement must find the faithful balance between grace and truth and hold them tightly in tension so people will neither assume all of their work is the meaning they have been searching for or treat their work as a hiccup in the day.
AK: What are you looking forward to at the Faith at Work Summit?
DS: I am looking forward to all the events but I am especially looking forward to what the church gathered has to say. When the corporate body gathers, we possess a lot of potential for answers and hope and direction and perseverance in variegated answers. I am excited about all the attendees laying their ideas in their contexts on the table for others to pick up and take them with them, affirming both the ideas and the person that the idea came from. The Summit is really a place where faith can be put to work. I’m especially humbled at the opportunity to participate with all the others who will attend.