A Theology of Cultural Engagement (Vocation)

This post is a part of the series I’m doing on A Theology of Cultural Engagement. Today’s post will focus on the role of vocation (working) in cultural integration.

I sense that in today’s churches many view pastoral leadership as the pinnacle of Christ following.

I like how Steve Bishop put it in a post I read over the weekend: “All Christians are involved in full-time Christian ministry. There is no such thing as part-time Christians. Never use the term ‘full-time Christian ministry’ to describe only those with a role in the church or a church-related activity.”

Gabe Lyons says, “For decades, many Christians have thought the only place they could impact the Kingdom was through serving in their local churches…But the faithful are coming alive as a new generation of Christians are making the real connections between their faith and their work…Imagine what is possible when Christians throughout the church recover this sense of vision for their work in the world.

This framework sets up our discussion on vocation and how it relates to the missio Dei (The Mission of God). Our world doesn’t need more pastors, it needs more disciples who as teachers, doctors, lawyers, athletes, and entrepreneurs are living out the missio Dei.

Frederick Buechner is well known for saying that our calling is where “our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” As Christians find this calling within their vocations, we’ll see more churches reach a new level of “success” because it is no longer just the pastor pursuing faithful Christian calling.

I believe we must start with a healthy understanding of giftedness and value within the Body of Christ. 1st Corinthians 12 speaks directly to this issue as it shares on the various gifts given within the body. Paul also shares that each part makes up the whole body and is dependent on the other parts. This values each person and each gift as vital, not placing certain gifts and people above others.

We must see ourselves, not as working at jobs, but rather we are being called to serve in the missio Dei with our gifts through our vocations.

No longer is the church the center of disciples serving, the world is.

Christianity has often been thought of as something valued for an hour or two on Sundays, but the people making a difference with their faith understand their vocation to be integral to their faith.

(Next post: Restoration)

  • http://robrash.us Rob Rash

    Good Stuff Tyler.

    Always looking for thoughts on moving folks towards a missional lifestyle. Out of the ‘pews’ and into the ‘world.’

    I heard this quote from Ed Stetzer, ‘The Church wants to act arrived rather than sent.’

  • http://visiodeicommunity.org David Zook

    I saw a statistic in a Christian magazine a few years ago that stated that 85% of business people would rather talk to a co-worker about a spiritual problem than a pastor.

    Couple that with this quote from Latourette’s “The History of the Expansion of Christianity.” :

    “The primary change agents in the spread of faith … were the men and women who earned their livelihood in some purely secular manner and spoke their faith to those whom they met in this natural fashion.”

    and we get two pretty convincing pieces of evidence that the mission field is in our own backyard. God has sent his people, who he has gifted and we shepherd, into a broken world through vocation. How cool is that?

  • Ric Wild

    I don’t know where the concept of Missio Dei comes from, but for me its been a revolutionary way of understanding how one participates in the Kingdom of God. The idea that God is already at work in the world, and that the church joins in the initiatives of God, is truly profound.