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Empowered to Influence: Part 2

Lorna Johnston /Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Empowered to Influence is an 8-session video-based course intended to be offered using the normal structures of a local church, e.g. Sunday School, small group Bible study, etc. This blog series looks into the paradigms that are explored in the course.


Paradigm 2: Labour, The Premier Worship

For many, 'work' is a four-letter word, a necessary means to enjoy the desirable. Dolly Parton's song, "9 to 5," encapsulates the sentiments of countless individuals:

"Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin
Barely getting’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it…"

Perhaps that resonates with you?

In this second paradigm shift, Ken Chua suggests that the issue lies in how we perceive work/labour and whether God is involved.

If God is absent from the equation, Christian workers typically fall into three categories:

  • Believers passionate about serving in the church to express devotion to God, seeing work as a necessary evil for sustenance but of low priority.
  • Believers within church communities who view work as a means to provide for their families' security and comfort.
  • Believers who are successful risk-takers in their careers but feel like second-class Christians because they prioritize work over service opportunities in the church.

Work and Worship

However, a fourth category emerges if God is central to our work. With God at the helm, our work becomes a form of worship, expressing Kingdom Values — righteousness, peace, and joy — thereby radiating as salt and light in the workplace (as explored in the article Empowered to Influence: An Introduction).

In his book 'Transformation,' Ed Silvoso1 highlights that in the early Genesis accounts, the Greek word 'avad' is used interchangeably to mean work/serve/worship. Thus, all of Adam's activities in tending to the earth were acts of worship. Silvoso underlines that 'worship is service is work'  when done for God's glory.

In this fourth perspective, Christians at work serve:

  • God, who assigns us our tasks.
  • Others who benefit from our goods and services.
  • Ourselves by earning income and expanding our potential.

These three focal points are reflected in Matthew 22:37-39,

He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love God. Love Others. Love Yourself. 

Love is expressed through service, which is another word for work. If our services and work have God at the centre, then this is the worship that is holy and acceptable to God.  

A secular perspective of work focuses on the fruits of the labour - income, promotion, and recognition. A holy perspective of work centres on God who assigns our labour and empowers us to embody Kingdom Values - righteousness, peace, and joy - daily in the workplace, thereby bringing glory to Him. Through this, we become ambassadors of salt and light, impacting the community around us.

If you are interested in running the Empowered to Influence course in your church, please contact our Simply Mobilizing team by filling out the form on this page:  Empowered to Influence. We'd be glad to help your church congregation run the Empowered to Influence Course!

1. Transformation: Change the Workplace and You Change the World by Ed Silvoso (View on Goodreads)

 


Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams -- Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC) and Loving Muslims Together (LMT). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.



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Empowered to Influence: Part 3

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Empowered to Influence: Part 2

Paradigm 2: Labour, The Premier Worship

For many, 'work' is a four-letter word, a necessary means to enjoy the desirable. In this second paradigm shift, Ken Chua suggests that the issue lies in how we perceive work/labor and whether God is involved. Your 9 to 5 could be your path to worship!