Can you imagine a business where 70% of the employees can’t connect how their daily work contributes to the company’s overall mission? If that were the case, odds are that business would soon be out of business! Yet sadly that’s the state of the church in America today. According to recent research by Barna, “70% of Christians do not see how their work serves God’s purposes.” Yet 93% of pastors have said that helping their people integrate their faith and work is “very important.” So where’s the disconnect?
While progress has been made on this front in recent years, there is clearly much work still left to be done. Simply addressing the topic of “faith at work” is not enough. Far more important is to actively celebrate the work that God’s people are engaged in throughout the week, when they are scattered on their frontlines—on the shop floor, in the supermarket, on the playground—wherever it might be!
When I was a kid, I watched Top Gun too many times and decided that it would be fun to be Maverick and fly planes for a living. So I ended up going to college on a ROTC scholarship, and after 4 years I was invited to be “commissioned” in the US Navy. It was a special moment, as my father, a former Naval officer himself, attached my new shoulder boards to signify my new role. I then took an oath affirming that I was joining a larger mission than the one I had originally set out on—it wasn’t about playing beach volleyball anymore! No, I promised to defend the Constitution against all the nation’s enemies. It was one of the most significant events of my life.
In a similar way, some churches are using this powerful symbolic event as well—“commissioning” their congregants onto their frontlines during a Sunday service. Like my Navy commissioning, such an event signifies to the individual being commissioned, as well as to the witnessing church, that they are serving a larger purpose—that they are now on God’s mission, not their own. While the specific ceremony can vary depending on the background of the church involved, the goal is the same: to publicly celebrate the role that everyday Christians play to advance the Kingdom of God wherever they are, whatever they do, and wherever they go.
Chris Lake co-founded the Vere Institute (Oct 2014 – May 2021) to empower Christians to integrate their faith into everyday life, their “frontlines.” Chris continues to serve pastors through offering transitional coaching. You can find him on LinkedIn. The Vere Institute’s legacy lives on through our Vere Archive, a republishing of many of their written works.