There’s a lot of talk about vocation these days. The church is waking up to the need to equip parishioners not just on Sundays, but throughout the week. But how can church leaders do this? That’s an ongoing discussion over at The High Calling, and Amy Sherman offers some very practical ideas:
It’s critical for church leaders to become what pastor Tom Nelson (author of Work Matters) calls “language police.” Although our orthodox theology may eschew the notion of a sacred/secular hierarchy of work, statements like, “Did you hear that John left his job at the law firm and went into ministry with Young Life?” betray that, deep down, we’re uncertain whether work in a law firm is ministry in its own right.
Practices such as publicly commissioning missionaries and Sunday School teachers—but not business entrepreneurs and public school teachers—can also send mixed signals to congregants. Pastors in our Learning Community began doing some things differently: praying during Sunday services for individuals in different occupations; celebrating congregants who’d created new jobs; incorporating more workplace illustrations into their sermons; and visiting parishioners at their workplaces. These practices sent a message that marketplace lay people were not “second class” citizens in the Kingdom, but ministers and missionaries in their own fields of endeavor.