Category: The Role of the Church
Work Life Ministries: The Opportunity for Churches
Many people want to experience a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment in their work; a church-based faith and work ministry can help them achieve this. It can help them develop a more profound sense of God’s presence as they go through their workweek, understand how their work can contribute to the well-being of others, and build community. Churches can also provide spiritual practices that can be integrated into the workday.
This is an opportunity for churches to provide an important service to working adults both inside and outside the church. (Free Reprint)
Noon Prayer Meetings and the Revival of 1857/58: The Workplace Connection
A Case Study: The Fulton Street Prayer Meetings
A powerful revival occurred in 1857 and 1858. Sometimes known as the
“Businessmen’s Revival” by its contemporaries, a distinctive aspect of the revival was the extraordinary popularity of noon prayer meetings organized and led by business people. These meetings built on the pattern established by the Fulton Street Prayer Meetings.
There are important lessons that can be drawn from this success of this movement and the manner in which the prayer meetings were organized.
This is an updated version of an earlier article.
We Need More Silence!
Writing in the Harvard Business Review Online (The Busier You Are, the More You Need Silence), Justin Talbot-Zorn and Leigh Marz lay out the arguments for why busy people need more quiet time.
According to the authors, research shows that “taking the time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us live, work and lead.” They provide selected references from both neuroscience and psychology.
They make a number of concrete recommendations involving ways to build more quiet time into our busy lives. These range from five minutes of meditation and reflection during the work day to longer quiet periods such as an afternoon spent in nature or a weekend meditation retreat.
In this article, Talbot-Zorn and Marz focus exclusively on the secular benefits of intentional silence, not the religious and spiritual. This is understandable given that they are writing for a general business audience; I might do the same.
But I think this exclusively secular approach leaves out an important aspect of intentional silence — the spiritual experience it sometimes evokes. . .
The Quest for the Sacred: The Story of King Herod and the Wise Men
The story of the wise men – – also known as the Magi – – is one of the great stories of the Bible. The late James Dittes of Yale saw in the story a battle between two conflicting aspects of our human nature, a drive for stability and control, and a drive to forsake stability and control in order to pursue a quest for the sacred. In the story, the desire for stability and control is represented by Herod and the quest for the sacred is represented by the wise men.
Both are necessary and contribute to human flourishing.
The drive for stability, in its uncorrupted form, is important to us. It provides the foundation for the coherence that helps us make sense of daily life. It enables us to make decisions regarding our work, our family, and other areas of our lives. Too much turmoil makes it almost impossible to make clear decisions and to build effectively for the future.
But the quest is important too. What I am calling the quest has to do with our search for the sacred, for transcendence, for meaning. We can think of the quest as the natural outgrowth of the intuitive human desire to connect with something deeper than ourselves – to experience a deeper sense of connection with God. It is as though over the course of our lives we are being drawn to God.
Listen on: (Time: 11:37) iTunes / Stitcher / Google Play or
Spiritual Renewal for Your Work Life
What might spiritual renewal mean? In this episode we explore what spiritual renewal could mean for our work life. Maybe it would lead to working with greater purpose, compassion, and equanimity, and help us develop a higher level of collaboration and teamwork. We also discuss how our faith and spirituality might help us find spiritual renewal.
Listen on: iTunes / Stitcher / Google Play or
Nancy Ammerman on Religion in Everyday Life
Scholar and sociologist Nancy Ammerman has spent a great deal of time studying what she has termed “lived religion”, the “embodied and enacted forms of spirituality that occur in everyday life”, including the workplace. She includes beliefs and religious in lived religion, but goes well beyond these to include everyday practice. Ammerman found that religion and spirituality helped individuals find meaning throughout their daily lives:
“Looked at from one angle, what we found in stories of everyday life was that individuals were cultivating a religious consciousness and weaving a layer of spirituality into the fabric of their individual lives, a warp and woof that extend far beyond the institutional domain designated as ‘religious’.”
Retreats: Spiritual Practices for Your Work Life
Please let us know if you are interested in hosting or attending one of a series of retreats we call Spiritual Practices for Your Work Life. It has been a couple of years since our last series, and we are putting together a new version.
In these retreats we expose the participants to a number of spiritual practices that can help them in their work life. We also provide some time for small group discussion and individual reflection, and in general help people see how their faith and spirituality can inform and support their daily work.
Conflicting Grammars of Life
Different spheres of life have different grammars. By this I mean that not only do we use different words in different spheres, but that the logical rules and structural relationships between the words can be quite different as well. This can create a problem when we are trying to connect our faith and our work — two domains with two different sets of grammar. This is especially true when the differences are unconscious.
Compare the grammar of business with that of the “typical” church.
Chaplains in the Workplace
Workplace chaplaincy services are receiving increased attention and appear to be a growing phenomena. An article by Cheryl Hall in the Dallas Morning News (November 25, 2014) reports on the firm Marketplace Ministries, Inc., and its founder Gil Stricklin.
Hall reports that Marketplace Ministries hires chaplains and provides services to businesses and other organizations for a fee. The chaplains provide a variety of services, all at the option and initiation of the employee. These can include counseling, providing a sympathetic ear, and helping the employee find resources for dealing with personal and family problems. Spirituality can be involved — but only at the invitation of the employee.
Vocational Ministry — Interview with Lou Huesmann
Recommended: The current issue (October, 2014) of Leadership Journal (subscription required) has an interview with Lou Huesmann, senior pastor at Grace Brethren Long Beach. In it he talks about how his view of pastoral ministry has changed over the years, and...
The Role of Congregations in Faith/Work Integration
Baylor University sociologists Jerry Park, Jenna Rogers, Mitchell Neubert, and Kevin Dougherty released a new study looking at the role of congregations in encouraging healthy work attitudes. The study found that there tended to be higher ratings for affective organizational commitment and job satisfaction if the respondent’s congregation placed a higher value on work and the respondent had higher involvement with the congregation (as measured by attendance). If either element was missing (less importance placed on work by the congregation or less frequent attendance) then there appeared to be no positive benefit.