Faith at Work Summit Spotlight: Brian Fikkert and Reimagining Work

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 open for registration!

In anticipation of the upcoming Summit, I had the opportunity to interview Brian Fikkert, President and Founder of the Chalmers Center at Covenant College, a research and training center equipping churches to walk alongside people who are poor, breaking the spiritual, social, and material bonds of poverty. Best known by many for his work When Helping Hurts (co-authored with Steve Corbett), Brian is one of three authors collaborating to produce the recently published Practicing the King’s Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give.

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

BF: I’ll be part of a plenary session that focuses on “reimagining work.” It’s hard to think of a more timely topic. While Western civilization has enjoyed economic growth that is unprecedented in human history, we are clearly not flourishing. Psychological disorders are skyrocketing, families are in crisis, and our social fabric is tearing apart. While there are many factors at work, one can make a strong case that the materialism and hyper-individualism at the heart of the Western marketplace is a major contributing factor. We desperately need to reimagine our economic lives—including our work—around the narratives and practices of the kingdom of God.

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

BF: Like all believers, I long for God’s kingdom to come. I’m sick and tired of persistent racial injustice, of little girls being sold into brothels, and of grinding poverty. I just want it all to end—immediately. As restored image bearers of King Jesus, our work is an opportunity to bring His kingdom to bear on a broken and hurting world. I’m excited to see God’s people recovering the biblical mandate to use our work to represent our King as far as the curse is found.

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

BF: I think one of the biggest challenges is to be “in the marketplace but not of it.” As we recover the biblical truth that work is meaningful and an offering to God, we also need to recognize that the dominant narratives, practices, and institutions of the global marketplace are antithetical to Christ and His kingdom. The kingdom of God and the American Dream are simply not the same thing, but many of us can’t tell the difference. There is a desperate need for believers to be re-discipled in biblical ethics about the goals and practices of God’s economy.

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

BF: I love to learn, so I’m looking forward to being part of a community of believers who will teach me how to be a more faithful kingdom servant.

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