information for transformational people

spotlight 246Commissioning people for the workplace

From an article by The Mockler Center for Faith and Ethics in the Workplace

We call forward folk going on 'mission', short-term and otherwise, for commissioning and prayer. We call forward and commission our people serving in church e.g. church staff, deacons, elders. Our marriage and baptismal ceremonies include a commissioning, commitment, and prayer. Joining a local church often is accompanied by a ceremony of the same kind.

Recognising and commissioning people for the work they do during the week is a powerful message that their work matters not just to them but to their brothers and sisters and, above all, to God himself. They are called to serve the Lord in and through their work, to be an ambassador of another way of life and work. It is too easy to slip back into an attitude that my work doesn’t really matter except maybe for my paycheck and the tithes to God’s real work it enables. But this is bad, unbiblical theology. Our work does matter to God. It is our arena of service and love to God and our neighbours. It is not just about money.

Recognising and commissioning people for their workplace discipleship changes them first of all. It is a powerful affirmation from the church leadership and the congregation, hard to forget when you go off to work the next day. It is also a powerful message to our younger people looking on as they are thinking about the meaning and direction of their own education and future work. It can be a powerful message to onlookers in the neighbourhood or those at work who hear about it: “these people worship a God who cares about their work! What an amazing and unusual thing.” Finally, it is a powerful message to church leaders and staff: we are not the only ones doing God’s work full-time.

The suggestion is that maybe one Sunday service every three months we carve out ten or fifteen minutes to include this commissioning.

This is how it worked at one church:

  • Alert the congregation two weeks in advance (by newsletter and announcements in the service) that you are going to call say health care workers forward and pray for them during the service.
  • At the service, call people who work in this field in any capacity and all students preparing for such vocations, forward in order to recognize, commission, and pray them. 
  • Pass round a mike for each to quickly say name, where they work, and what they do in health care.
  • Thank them for what they do.
  • Challenge and encourage them to carry on and be “salt” and “light”, to bring the values and insights of Jesus and Scripture to their workplaces.
  • Ask the congregation to pray and support them in their 'mission'
  • Get church leaders to pray for them for skill, strength, protection, resources, boldness to speak out, keeping from temptation, blessing, spiritual gifts, etc.

Every three months, call up workers from another sector e.g. finance, teachers, engineers/IT, arts, etc. In a small congregation, there may not be enough from one sector so include more groups.

It might make sense some time to invite all those who are unemployed or underemployed to come forward for special prayer.

All of this will acquire a great deal more impact if:

  1. The sermons note the marketplace implications and allusions of the biblical texts being preached on.
  2. Any education program at all levels includes some basic attention to the biblical theology of work, money, calling, and related topics.
  3. Church leaders visit their people in their workplaces once in a while.
  4. Not just our work crises but our work potential achieves a significant place in our private and congregational prayer life,
  5. The church newsletter regular features brief interviews or articles about the faith and work link.

Retweet about this article:



From an article by The Mockler Center, 13/12/2016

To submit a story or to publicise an event please contact us. Sign up for email here.