If it is true that God is already at work in the world in places where God’s people have not yet gone (you can read about that HERE, HERE, and HERE), then it’s incumbent upon us to find out where God is at work, and get involved. That’s God’s invitation to us: “I’m doing stuff in the world and in people’s lives! Join me!”
But how do we discover what God is up to? It can’t be only the pastor’s responsibility. The pastor is only one person (maybe two or three people in a multi-staff church). In order to discover what God is doing in the world, the whole church needs to be involved. All of God’s people are invited to discover what God is doing “out there.”In order to discover what God is doing in the world, the whole church needs to be involved. All of God’s people are invited to discover what God is doing 'out there'. Click To Tweet
The question is, how do we help church members pay attention to what God is doing out there? How do we help them tune in to the Spirit of God at work in the lives of the people they interact with every day?
Paying attention to what God is up to requires intentionality. It’s easy for our people to miss God’s activity if they are focused only on meeting their work obligations, hitting their numbers, keeping customers happy, and so forth. To have eyes to see, they need to always be asking, “Where is God at work in this person’s life or in this situation?”
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting there is no inherent value in one’s work in and of itself. There absolutely is! The work we do is our sacred vocation, our calling—even if our work is not specifically in a ministry setting. Our work is the way God has called us to participate in what God is doing in the world. That calling includes, not only the work we do, but also paying attention to what God is doing through, around, within, and beyond the actual work.
So, is there a way for the church to help congregants become intentional about paying attention to what God is up to in their workplace and in the lives of those with whom they interact day in and day out?
Can we help the barrista notice what God is doing in the life of that mom who comes in for coffee every morning? Can we help the salesperson discern the deeper needs of her customers? Can we help the little league coach pay attention to what God is up to in the lives of his players and their families?
The answer is yes! It’s something I like to call Vocational Connection Groups.
Vocational Connection Groups
Vocational Connection Groups can help church members become intentionally aware of what God is doing “out there.” They serve to foster a growing awareness among congregants of how God is at work in people’s lives outside the church. Vocational Connection Groups can help pastors and church staff get a sense of what God is up to in the community and city in which their congregation is located.
How do Neighborhood Vocation Groups work? I’ll be unpacking that in my next several posts.