There have been a number of comments made in reference to the Barna Group’s research that suggests younger adult Christians are having trouble connecting their faith with their work:

“In particular, 84% of Christian 18- to 29-year-olds admit that they have no idea how the Bible applies to their field or professional interests.” (Barna)

(Both Dylan Pahman of the Acton Institute and Joseph Sunde of the American Enterprise Institute have written interesting commentaries on this.)

Barna talks of this as a generational issue.  I see it differently, however.  From the group discussions and interviews I have conducted on behalf of the CFE, I would have to say that this issue cuts across all working age cohorts.

The real problem is that many churches do a generally poor job of helping people connect their faith with the value of their work, especially as pertains to commercial vocations.  From my discussions with Christian business people, it seems clear that the only time that many of them hear their business vocations mentioned in sermons is when an example of sin is needed to make a point.  Ten years ago it sounded as though many preachers could not mention business without mentioning Enron; today Enron has been replaced by Wall Street wrong-doing, as though this is emblematic of the way most of us do business.

For most of us our work, and the goods and services it provides for others, represents a central part of our life and our contribution to human well being.  A church that cannot affirm the value of our work (when properly done) is going to have trouble keeping many of us engaged.