Written by Dr Angelo Cettolin
How Does Theology Influence Our Work as Christians?
As Vice Principal of Eastern College Australia and on behalf of our Executive Principal Tim Meyers, it was a privilege to host Mark Greene, Executive Director at London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC).
On July 11th, 2019, Mark spoke at our Public Lecture on “How Does Theology Influence Our Work as Christians?”, hosted in conjunction with Melbourne School of Theology (MST).
Mark urged us as Christians to consider how to live each moment of our life as a witness for Christ, whether in our studies, relationships, ministry, or work. It was encouraging to see a good number of people of visitors interested in this topic and come join the conversation with Mark Greene.
Mark Greene grew up “Jewish and joyous” in North-West London, spending a decade in advertising before he decided to study God’s word at London School of Theology. The career break turned into a career change and Mark experienced numerous roles before he joined the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity as Executive Director. Mark desired to see all God’s people empowered to live their whole lives – Monday to Saturday, as well as Sunday – in dynamic and fruitful relationship with Christ. He has spoken and written widely on the topic and on work all around the world. His published work includes, “Thank God It’s Monday”, “Supporting Christians at Work”, “Pocket Prayers for Work”, “Christian Life & Work”, “(Probably) The Best Idea in the World”, and “Fruitfulness on the Frontline”
At this public address, Mark invited us to revisit the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and challenged us to think about what kind of disciples does Jesus want to send out into the world? And what kind of church will help to make those kinds of disciples?
He proposed that it’s critical to equip the people of God for mission together in all of their life. The LICC research in the UK indicates that 98 % of Christians have neither been envisioned nor equipped for mission in 95% of their waking lives.
“In nothing has the Church so lost Her hold on reality as Her failure to understand and respect the secular vocation. She has allowed work and religion to become separate departments, and is astonished to find that, as a result, the secular work of the world is turned to purely selfish and destructive ends, and that the greater part of the world’s intelligent workers has become irreligious or at least uninterested in religion…But is it astonishing? How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life?” (Dorothy Sayers)
Mark promulgated the case that there is a desperate need to breach the sacred-secular divide. He referred to one churchgoer’s lament that: “I spend an hour a week teaching Sunday school and they haul me up to the front of the church to pray for me. The rest of the week I’m a full-time teacher and the church has never prayed for me”.
Mark called us to seriously adopt a Whole-Life Mission Consciousness and also a Disciple-making Culture in our churches. One way we can move towards this is to ensure the layperson is the hero on Sunday. We can begin to do this by interviewing people from time to time about their work life and having them share one thing that they are good at in the Lord at their work. This helps make their story valuable, it affirms others in their work situations and triggers new conversations between believers.
Leaders must enable individuals to read their own lives through biblical lenses. The three foci needed are, eyes to see what’s already happening, eyes to see what might be, and eyes to see what God is already doing. He finally listed 6 Ms or measurements of fruitfulness at work: Modelling godly character, Making good, Ministering grace and love at work, Moulding culture, being a Mouthpiece for truth and justice, and being a Messenger of the gospel. He left us with this challenge from these words of Jesus…
I am the vine;
you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me
you can do nothing. (John 15:5).
The message of bringing one’s faith into their work really meets the heart of what we do here at Eastern. As a Christian Higher Education Provider and Vocational Education Provider with courses ranging in the areas of Teaching, Educational Leadership, Counselling, Transformational Community Development, and more, we are passionate about seeing individuals equipped to pair their faith and vocation. Blessed to bless the world. We hope that Mark’s message will encourage you in your work and life. A link to the full recording of his message is found here.
Dr Angelo Cettolin
Vice Principal Eastern College Australia
More information on Mark Greene’s ministry can be found on Website www.puttingyourfaithtowork.com.au.