Faith at Work Summit Spotlight: Randy Pope and Serving God in Law & Government Service

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 still open for registration!

In anticipation of the upcoming Summit, I had the opportunity to interview Randy Pope, City Attorney for Hattiesburg, MS and Partner at Pope & Pope, P.A. Though he has practiced law for over 35 years, it is only in recent years that Randy has wrestled with questions of faith and work in private and public legal service. He demonstrates a heart to shepherd others in intentionally integrating their Christian faith with their work, joining God in what He is already doing in the sphere of government service.

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

RP: I’ll be leading two panel discussions particularly for people engaged in the workplace—practitioners, if you will. The first is entitled “Joining God in the Practice of Law,” and we’ll be hearing from several attorneys who are now or who have been in the practice of law—and are Christians.  I’m convinced that God can use attorneys in a key way in his mission of reconciliation, and we look forward to exploring some of the ways that attorneys are doing that.

The second panel discussion I’m leading is called “Serving God in Government Service,” and it’s particularly geared to people who are working for the government—whether that is federal, state or local.  I’ve been representing public bodies—school districts, a public university, and, most recently, the city where I live—and I’m looking forward to learning from other Christians who work in government service about the ways they see themselves serving God in that sphere.

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

RP: Perhaps the most exciting thing about the Faith and Work movement is seeing people begin to apply their faith to their workplaces. This movement is not only in the areas you might traditionally think of like ethics and evangelism (which are certainly important), but in evidencing a commitment to quality in our work.

One of my favorite authors is the British writer Dorothy Sayers.  She wrote perhaps 75 years ago, “The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays.  What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.”  I think many Christians are seeing that the so-called Sunday-Monday divide is not biblical.

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

RP: I’m concerned that many pastors and other church workers are not getting any training in seminaries in understanding the connection between their faith and work, and so are unable to provide much pastoral support to their parishioners who may be dealing with workplace issues.  I think there needs to be a recognition by seminaries that pastors need significant training in this key area of people’s lives: most church members spend perhaps three or four hours a week in “church activities,” but they spend ten times (or more) that much time in their workplaces. Is God as interested in a person’s workplace as he is a person’s church activities?  I think so.

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

RP: I’m looking forward to learning, particularly from workplace practitioners, how God is using them in his mission of reconciliation and restoration—in their workplaces.

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