Category: Blue-Collar Work

Review: Workers on Arrival

By David Gill, reprinted from The 313. Workers On Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America by Joe William Trotter, Jr.(University of California, 2019) Joe William Trotter, Jr., is distinguished professor of history at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Workers on Arrival is a superb, meticulously researched account of the contributions and challenges of black workers throughout American history. The focus here is not all…

The ServiceMaster Story

Excerpt from Chapter 1, The ServiceMaster Story: Navigating the Tension between People and Profit by Albert M. Erisman, copyright 2020 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Dave Aldridge had earned his MBA degree, and was working as a manager at ServiceMaster. Like other leaders, he participated in We Serve days, during which senior company leaders…

MLK on Work

To honor Martin Luther King’s contribution to the faith and work movement, we are reposting this article from our archives. It was originally part one of a series. Many in our movement have heard some version of Martin Luther King’s famous “street sweeper” illustration, which calls on workers to pursue excellence in their work and find dignity and meaning in…

Helping that Helps: Six Principles for Poverty Alleviation

By Brian Fikkert; reprinted from Made to Flourish, by permission of The Chalmers Center. At the Chalmers Center, we long to see people who are struggling with material poverty restored to all that God has created them to be as his image-bearers. That’s why we work to equip churches and related ministries to more effectively walk alongside people living in…

Seminary Spotlight: Denver Seminary

By Dan Steiner, reprinted from the Oikonomia Network. Artwork: Light the Lamps, Justin Reddick, mixed media on canvas, 30” x 40”, private collection (used with permission) Justin Reddick wears many hats. He is a husband, father, artist, seminary student and the religious services assistant and creative arts platform facilitator at the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. I first met Justin after a lecture I…

Just a Christian

By Matthew B. Harper, a resident in a Virginia prison. Reprinted from Living God’s Mission. “What is your ministry?” As I have worked my way through the church’s discernment process, I have struggled when someone asks me this. And it gets asked a lot. It is a good question because it seeks to understand my role in community, and how I…

No, Really: We Don’t Have an Adequate Way to Talk About the Meaning of Work

I have an essay about work and meaning in the current issue of The Hedgehog Review. The essay has elicited some good responses from friend and stranger alike; I’m grateful for all. I always have mixed feelings when people write to say my essays about work resonate with their experience. On the one hand, my entire goal is to put words to the experience…

Vocational Faithfulness as Public Discipleship: A Video from the 2016 Faith at Work Dallas Summit

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 next Summit will be in Chicago on Oct. 11-13, 2018. Go to to sign up for updates and to learn more about the Summit. Register for the Summit here!

Vocational faithfulness is not only about individual character but also about applying a biblical-theological lens to the work of the institution in which one labors. (“Institution” here refers to the social sector in which the organization where one works is situated.) We are called to image-bearing in our vocational sectors, which involves practices of both personal discipleship (e.g., prayer, functional dependency on the Spirit) and public discipleship (in love, advancing justice and shalom for the common good).

The public expression of vocational image-bearing is at least threefold:

  • Cultivating within the vocational sector all its creational intent and possibilities; aligning it with what it “was meant to be” in God’s original design
  • Restoring the sector to righteousness (“set-right-ness”) where it has been corrupted
  • Imagining the work of this sector in “the age to come” and offering a foretaste of those future Kingdom realities now


1. Most vocational expressions of public discipleship have focused on white-collar professionals. In what ways can/do blue-collar workers bear Christ’s image for the common good?

2. One way of “going deeper” in vocational faithfulness is the progression from individual to institutional thinking. What other shifts or progressions mark a “2.0” understanding of “faithful presence” in various vocational sectors?

Dr. Amy L. Sherman, a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute, was named by Christianity Today in 2012 as one of the 50 evangelical women most influencing the American church and culture. She’s the author of six books and over 80 articles in periodicals including First Things, The Public Interest, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Books & Culture. Her most recent book is Kingdom Calling. You can read a reflection on her talk at TGR here.