What role should church leaders play in this process of restoration?
My primary audience is pastors and church leaders. But the book is saturated with stories of individual laypeople and the creative ways they are living out their callings. Many believers have begun figuring this thing out without much help from their churches. Individuals in a variety of vocations are asking the right questions about what faith-work integration looks like and how it can go beyond just being a nice person at work.
There is a bottom-up dynamic to this revolution, but we still need to have more pastors helping their congregations think theologically about vocation. We need pastors to remind people that Sunday is indeed connected to Monday, that what you do through your vocation is central in your discipleship and your walk with Christ.
How are churches redefining the notion of vocation?
There is a renaissance unfolding in the evangelical church about being intentionally "missional." What I'm calling vocational stewardship could provide rocket fuel for the missional movement. This movement is trying to get churches joining with Jesus in this comprehensive mission of cultural renewal and the restoration of all things. That's a great vision—how do we implement it? Improving our sense of vocational stewardship could be the primary strategy.
Can a well-intentioned integration of faith and work end up promoting a works-based righteousness?
If anything, the pendulum has swung to a point where we talk too much about how you can't earn your righteousness. That's true, but as Dallas Willard has warned, we confuse earning with effort, and don't try hard enough to be righteous.
But the most dangerous pitfall, in putting vocational gifts to use, has to do with pride. The danger is failing to recognize that the proper stewarding of vocational power—of any kind of power—is always coupled with profound humility. Power untethered from dependence on God, deep humility, and commitment to one's neighbor is a dangerous thing.
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Previous Christianity Today articles about vocation include:
Working on Eternity | Ben Witherington sets earthly labor in kingdom context. A review of 'Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor.' (June 15, 2011)
The Meaning of Business | Christians in the marketplace, says Jeff Van Duzer, are not second-class citizens of the kingdom. (January 14, 2011)
A Unifying Vocation | Why development work and gospel work cannot be put asunder. (September 3, 2009)