A high level of involvement in your church can help you have higher job satisfaction and commitment.
That’s what Baylor University sociologists discovered in a recently published study.
Describing the results in the ABP News/Herald, Terry Goodrich writes,
A congregation’s beliefs about work attitudes and practices affect a churchgoer’s job satisfaction — but how much depends in part on whether that person is a frequent attender, not merely an occasional participant.
What seemed to make the difference, researchers found, was frequent attendance at a church that stressed a merge of faith and work. Simply being at such a congregation — or just attending any church — did not result in greater work satisfaction or dedication.
These results highlight the importance of churches that are actively helping their congregants integrate their faith and work. The study found that “a congregation that emphasizes integrating their faith at work” was the common thread between churchgoing, full-time workers who reported higher job satisfaction, higher job commitment, and a higher readiness to self-identity as entrepreneurial.
A church’s willingness to address the integration of faith and work impacts how its members approach their work and do their jobs. Here are five things church leaders can do to communicate the importance of faith and work to their congregants.
Watch your language
One top Christian leader referred to his work of training pastors as equipping people for a “higher calling.” When someone objected, “We don’t believe that,” he apologetically admitted that the pastoral calling was not intrinsically higher than that of a doctor, lawyer, government worker, carpenter, music teacher, etc. It’s easy to fall back into this kind of hierarchical thinking (pastoral ministry being higher than other work) even if we ought to know better.
Pray for people in professions
Make it a regular part of pastoral prayer (or “Prayers of the People”) to pray not only for those who are sick, but for doctors, homemakers, business executives, construction workers, etc., that they might do excellent work that gives glory to God.
For instance, call three lawyers to come forward and interview them about how they see their faith being expressed in their work. Then pray for them and any other lawyers in the congregation. You could do this with different professions – say, once a month, or on another regular cycle.
Commission people for ministry in their work
Periodically call all the practitioners in a particular vocation to come up, have the elders lay hands on them, and commission them just as you would do for someone entering the pastorate or going as a missionary overseas.
Stress that you can have a ministry at work
In Romans 13:4, Paul twice calls government workers “ministers.” They are ministers not just when they evangelize or lead Bible studies at work but also when they practice their calling in government. The same could be said for any other valid profession. Emphasize that on Sunday we are the body of Christ gathered, and on Monday we are the body scattered to work in the world bearing witness in what we say and do.
These are just suggestions of ways pastors and churches can regularly communicate that they value the connection between faith and work as well as the validity of various callings. There are some churches already implementing some of these ideas. As the Baylor study reveals, this can have a significant impact on how Christians interact with their work.