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A high level of involvement in your church can help you have higher job satisfaction and commitment.

That’s what Baylor University sociologists discovered in a recently published study.

Describing the results in the ABP News/Herald, Terry Goodrich writes,

A congregation’s beliefs about work attitudes and practices affect a churchgoer’s job satisfaction — but how much depends in part on whether that person is a frequent attender, not merely an occasional participant.

Goodrich continues:

What seemed to make the difference, researchers found, was frequent attendance at a church that stressed a merge of faith and work. Simply being at such a congregation — or just attending any church — did not result in greater work satisfaction or dedication.

These results highlight the importance of churches that are actively helping their congregants integrate their faith and work. The study found that “a congregation that emphasizes integrating their faith at work” was the common thread between churchgoing, full-time workers who reported higher job satisfaction, higher job commitment, and a higher readiness to self-identity as entrepreneurial.

A church’s willingness to address the integration of faith and work impacts how its members approach their work and do their jobs. Here are five things church leaders can do to communicate the importance of faith and work to their congregants.

Watch your language

One top Christian leader referred to his work of training pastors as equipping people for a “higher calling.” When someone objected, “We don’t believe that,” he apologetically admitted that the pastoral calling was not intrinsically higher than that of a doctor, lawyer, government worker, carpenter, music teacher, etc. It’s easy to fall back into this kind of hierarchical thinking (pastoral ministry being higher than other work) even if we ought to know better.

Pray for people in professions

Make it a regular part of pastoral prayer (or “Prayers of the People”) to pray not only for those who are sick, but for doctors, homemakers, business executives, construction workers, etc., that they might do excellent work that gives glory to God.

Interview workers

For instance, call three lawyers to come forward and interview them about how they see their faith being expressed in their work. Then pray for them and any other lawyers in the congregation. You could do this with different professions – say, once a month, or on another regular cycle.

Commission people for ministry in their work

Periodically call all the practitioners in a particular vocation to come up, have the elders lay hands on them, and commission them just as you would do for someone entering the pastorate or going as a missionary overseas.

Stress that you can have a ministry at work

In Romans 13:4, Paul twice calls government workers “ministers.” They are ministers not just when they evangelize or lead Bible studies at work but also when they practice their calling in government. The same could be said for any other valid profession. Emphasize that on Sunday we are the body of Christ gathered, and on Monday we are the body scattered to work in the world bearing witness in what we say and do.

These are just suggestions of ways pastors and churches can regularly communicate that they value the connection between faith and work as well as the validity of various callings. There are some churches already implementing some of these ideas. As the Baylor study reveals, this can have a significant impact on how Christians interact with their work.

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Dr. Art Lindsley

About Dr. Art Lindsley

Art Lindsley, Ph.D. is Vice President of Theological Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics. An esteemed author and teacher, Dr. Lindsley received his B.S. in Chemistry from Seattle Pacific University, an M.Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Read More...

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  • Etstory

    I am excited to read this because as a Bible study writer and teacher, and a coach, I help women discover the integration of their faith and work. One little point I’d like to raise because perhaps you can influence this issue I see in many churches and Christian talks. I appreciate the fact that you mention other occupations in your lists than “doctor, lawyer, homemaker…” etc. That being said, I really really wish that these lists could be broadened to janitor, housecleaner, ice cream truck driver…etc. My husband is a doctor, and he deserves a lot of respect, but does he deserve more honor than a janitor?

  • http://www.gospelcenteredwork.org Rob Alexander

    Knowing that our work is being used by God in expanding his kingdom, helps workers in pursuing creative solutions that otherwise stymie them on a daily basis. It helps them get out of the box as it applies to personal problems and helps them look at things more globally…. something we all need help in every day!

    http://www.gospelcenteredwork.org