Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Soma Faith and Work Summit | Putting Your God-Given Imagination to Work

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Kingdom Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities

Soma Faith and Work Summit 2015 | Creatively Fostering Vocational Discipleship By Putting Your God-Given Imagination to Work

Pastor Jim Mullins


Previous posts include:

2015 Soma Faith and Work Summit Main Session 1

Vocation in the Biblical Story


2015 Soma Faith and Work Summit Main Session 2

Fighting Against Being a Cynic in the City


This unique and needed summit with a focus on faith and discipleship in the contexts of our God-given work environments continues to help me grow in my consideration of how to share with others what God has saved us for in the here and now. 

Soma Faith and Work Summit 2015 | Main Session 3: Creatively Fostering Vocational Discipleship By Putting Your God-Given Imagination to Work with Pastor Jim Mullins



Pastor Jim Mullins

Redemption Church Tempe

Tempe, AZ


You get to live all of life for King Jesus.

But first, how does basketball matter in the world? 
Why would it matter to God in relation to how He created humanity? 
As a recruiter and coach in Europe, how does a Christian answer these questions?

Joy: Feeling God's pleasure and releasing gratitude
Vision: Seeing others' strengths and grace and helping them excel
Imagination: Human bodies in motion, at work, in place, bringing the game under good order and ruling it

(1) How do we ignite our imaginations with others to rediscover the beauty of what God has made them for in their work as we continue to learn and teach the Story of God, the ethics of the Bible, grace, obedience, evangelism, etc.?

We need to master the art of asking good questions.

1) What aspect of God's image and character is reflected in your work?
2) What "garden" has God given you to keep in order and work to grow?
3) Where do you see the brokenness in the place where you work?
4) How does your work serve and love your neighbor?
5) What might your work look like in the new heavens and new earth?

The best questions will ask people to consider how they inhabit God's great story of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. Look for the sweet spot moments when people are asking questions or life takes an unexpected turn, good or bad.

Occupation and vocation rarely align in the broken world, and may never align for some people. Some will need to find how to grow and develop their giftings elsewhere beyond their job. But we can still help people see their place in the Story. 

Eden is not in our current occupations. 
Thorns and thistles are still everywhere.

For example, we are not to find our value in promotions. If this occurs simply because there's more money, not necessarily more effectiveness, than can you see the good work God has prepared you to do regardless? If you're not promoted, do you search to understand His pleasure in doing your best where you are with contentment?

(2) We have pastors offer pre-marital counseling. 
Why not also consider pre-vocational counseling?

There are so many false stories in the American work place that the Gospel will need to counteract.

1) Wealth and success make or break your value.

2) Technology and progress will save us and our business.
3) You can choose to define your importance.

(3) We need to build the celebration of good work that reflects God's work into our liturgies and gatherings. Teach the creation mandate by "show and tell."

Add 3-4-minute story-telling opportunities where people answer the questions in (1) above. And then pray for the people and the industry they work in.

(4) Create "vocation collectives" of people in the same field to ask and answer the questions in (1) above together in one of the places where someone works.

Go to that place and take a tour together if possible. Take in five-minute sections, then ask questions.

(5) Take people to different parts of your city to see and show where God's work is being done in different socioeconomic settings.

Bring people from different backgrounds together and intentionally create a low-grade tension that punches a hole in the heart and creates space for God to fill. Your job is not to resolve the tension. Challenge idols and point to God's grace  both special and common.

(6) Create "All of Life" camps where each part of the Story of God is shared and taught during the week and then take the kids into the city to ask and answer questions in relation to the Story.

1) Fire station
How is God's good work going on here? 
Where do you see brokenness? 
How is God using firemen to address the broken areas in our city?
2) Park
3) Restaurant kitchen
4) Courtroom
5) University, Etc.

7) Make time to send out a text message each day/week to affirm the work of someone in your church, a neighbor, a co-worker, etc.

8) Create "Thank you" cards to send to those who provide goods or services that benefit you and/or your loved ones.

Key Quotes:

Every day is important for us because it is a day ordained by God. If we are bored with life there is something wrong with our concept of God and His involvement in our daily lives. Even the most dull and tedious days of our lives are ordained by God and ought to be used by us to glorify Him. – Jerry Bridges

A cobbler, a smith, a farmer each has the work and office of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops, and everyone by means of his own work or office must benefit and serve every other. – Martin Luther

A job is a vocation only if someone else calls you to do it for them rather than for yourself. And so our work can be a calling only if it is reimagined as a mission of service to something beyond merely our own interests. Thinking of work mainly as a means of self-fulfillment and self-realization slowly crushes a person. – Timothy Keller

No man has a right to be idle. … Where is it in such a world as this that health, and leisure, and affluence may not find some ignorance to instruct, some wrong to redress, some want to supply, some misery to alleviate? – William Wilberforce

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, and all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can. – John Wesley

To every person there comes in their lifetime that special moment when you are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to you and your talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds you unprepared and unqualified for work which could have been your finest hour. – Winston Churchill

The doctrine of vocation deals with how God works through human beings to bestow His gifts. God gives us this day our daily bread by means of the farmer the banker, the cooks, and the lady at the check-out counter. He creates new life – the most amazing miracle of all – by means of mothers and fathers. He protects us by means of the police officers, firemen, and our military. He creates through artists. He heals by working through doctors, nurses, and others whom He has gifted, equipped, and called to the medical professions. – Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

– Sully

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