If you want to preach some material that your church probably hasn’t heard before, do a series on the theology of work. In fact, I can almost guarantee you’ll be stepping into frontier territory with your first sermon. Most Christians have never been encouraged to think about their work–what they spend 40 to 60 hours a hours a week doing–as their ministry. I’m not talking about encouraging them to look for opportunities to talk about Jesus with their co-workers while they work. I’m talking about helping them to see their work as an extension of God’s work on earth.
I did a series of teachings on this once called “Good Work.” Here’s how I broke it down:
1. Trouble at the Office: Why work is broken and the difference the gospel makes in how we view our work.
2. Our Job Description: A theology of work based on the Cultural Mandate from Genesis 1-3.
3. Play to Your Strengths: An exploration of calling and vocation.
4. Performance Review: How do we know if the work we’re doing is “Christian” or not?
5. Take a Break: Why the principle of Sabbath still matters.
6 Meet the Staff: Testimonials from different people in the church who explained how they see their job as an opportunity to do the work of God in the world.
This final message is a key piece. It might have been a better idea to spread these testimonials throughout the series. One obstacle preachers face when talking about work is that there will be some in the congregation who assume the preacher is talking about something he’s never done. No joke. Just assume that when you start this series some will wonder what qualifies you to talk about such a thing, especially if you’ve never had a job in the “real world.”
While some Christians will always think that the preacher only works a couple of hours a week, many others think that the preacher is doing the only kind of work that really matters. This series is designed to help the latter find new meaning in the work they’re already doing.
A few of resources to check out:
Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work by Miroslav Volf
The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective by R. Paul Stephens
Heaven is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God by Michael Wittmer
What other resources or thoughts would you add to this post?