Beyond Sunday: Intro to Faith, Life & Work

logoI’ve just finished lecturing through a new topic Beyond Sunday: Introduction to Faith, Life and Work.

The unit was introduced in response to reflection on how much of ministry is focused on the gathered church; as well as how much of our understanding of ‘lay’ ministry is likewise focused on involvement in worship services and events. Thinking well captured in this quote from Andrew Dutney in St Mark’s Review:

“Of course the church’s witness is partially located in ecclesiastical settings…. But the church witness is primarily located elsewhere: in the witness of Christian people, being obedient to Christ in their daily lives and occupations in the world.

The church is mostly in the world, where most of its members spend most of their time. And, consequently, that is where the church is mostly at witness.

Moreover, the church is more eloquent in its witness through the daily lives of its members: lives of service, courage, compassion, and honesty lived in obedience to Christ; Christian lives lived in homes, factories, offices or universities, on farms, ships, suburban blocks or campuses, among professionals, tradespeople, entrepreneurs or pensioners. Wherever in the world its members are, there is the witness of the church – in the world, through its members.

He further observes that churches can tend to “ecclesiasticise and clericalism” the laity, and in doing so “domesticate the witness of the church”.

The commitment of the Uniting Church to the ‘whole people of God’ means we need to strongly rediscover Christian vocation. This topic hopefully serves that end.

So what did we cover? Well, the weekly lecture topics broke down as:

  1. History of ‘Faith & Work’
  2. Theology of Work
  3. Christian Vocation
  4. Theology of Rest
  5. Cultural Renewal & the Common Good
  6. “Changing the World” & Faithful Presence
  7. Culture Making
  8. The Home
  9. Finance
  10. Rise of the Creative Class
  11. Pastoral Issues in the Life of Workers
  12. Empowering the Congregation

As an introduction, it’s obviously a broad sweep. What did I miss?

During the lectures, again and again students noted that they never hear sermons or teaching on this. It is a vital and significantly underemphasised aspect of discipleship and, for that matter, mission.

One student reflected “this topic has changed the way I cook!”

The topic will be offered again next semester through our NewLife hub on the Gold Coast.

This topic will be complimented by a new upper-level unit Faith at Work offered in Sem 2 2016, which explores more advanced integration of faith and modern work, and will be offered in intensive format the Adelaide CBD.

Consider studying at Uniting College?