God’s people are touching every area of our cities through their daily work. As people who know and value the work of Flourish San Diego, you know we are helping churches embrace their privilege and responsibility to help their people be agents of healing through their vocations. To do this well seems likes it requires so much change in thinking before even trying to change our practices. Thankfully, different practices may actually lead us into new thinking (I’m especially thinking about James K.A. Smith’s book, You Are What You Love.)
Along with other leaders in the faith-and-work movement, I recently had the privilege of learning from Matt Rusten, Executive Director of the Made to Flourish Pastors Network. Rusten and Jeff Haanen, executive director of Denver Institute for Faith & Work, discussed the possibility of leaders and churches agreeing upon a set of common best practices for the integration of faith and work in local congregations. They discussed that “faith and work” isn’t an “add on” ministry, but instead a vision for the sending of God’s people that should be integral to every church’s philosophy of ministry.
Rusten presented a compelling list of four practices that I believe could be a common starting point for churches that embrace historic teachings about vocation. As presented by Rusten, the four practices intersect with four distinct areas of congregational life: corporate worship, pastoral practice, discipleship/spiritual formation, and mission/outreach.
An Outline of the Four Practices:
- Corporate Worship: Pastoral Prayers for Workers (1x per month)
Pray specifically for congregants’ working lives.
- General liturgical prayers
- Vocation-specific prayers
- Commissioning prayers
- Pastoral Practice: Workplace Visitation (1x per month)
Visit parishioner’s workplaces.
- Onsite – non-participatory
- Onsite – participatory
- Sermon preparation
- Discipleship/Spiritual Formation: Vocational Interview in Small Groups (regularly)
Interview congregants about their daily work. (Use the following sample questions.)
- Give us a picture of a day in the life of your work.
- What unique opportunities do you have to love your neighbor through your work?
- Where do you experience the brokenness of the world in your work?
- How can we pray for you?
- Mission/Outreach: Asset Mapping Exercise (annual)
Conduct a congregational survey about the varying assets a congregation has that can be deployed for community benefit.
- Physical/space assets
- Financial assets
- Human capital
We at Flourish San Diego heartily commend each of these practices in our network, and eagerly look forward to working with local churches to better equip the saints for works of service.
- If you’d like a peek into the conversation that I get to have with leaders like Jeff and Matt, here is a link to the presentation. Matt Rusten’s comments run from about 4:18 to 19:00.
- For the readers out there, this is the accompanying transcript of the City Gate call.
- Here is a simple asset mapping survey that local churches can use. We use this in our Flourish Collective Academy. Here are the results for the seven churches in this year’s 2018-2019 cohort.