“I GET UP EVERY DAY and go to work because I have to earn a living. I come home frustrated and exhausted, only to get up the next day and do it all over again. Then the weekend comes and I have a break. But by Sunday evening I have knots in my stomach when I think about doing it all over again on Monday morning. Is this all there is to life?” a friend messaged.
How can we find meaning in our work? Is it just about making money, buying stuff, keeping up with the neighbors?” Recent research by the Barna group states, “It’s no surprise that 75% of adults are looking for ways to live amore meaningful life.” In The Message translation, Paul asks, “How do I take my everyday, ordinary life—my sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking around life—and place it before God as an offering?” (Romans 12:1,2)
Since 2008, STCH Ministries has been offering jobs and life skills classes to men and women. The goal has been to strengthen families by helping people discover God’s principles for their life and work. Throughout this time, the curriculum, location and target audience has changed, as they sought to develop a more effective program that could be implemented in partnership with the local church. Joanna Berry, Vice President of Family and International Ministries stated, “The church has always been God’s Plan A. Our ministries are joined in a type of symbiotic relationship with local churches in their ministries to families.” This vision has fueled the recent development of a new curriculum called Faith & Work.
Faith & Work is a Bible based work-enhancement course which guides one to discover God’s purpose for their life and how to fulfill that purpose through their work. Participants are provided the opportunity and tools to achieve their full potential as they become more confident in their ability to succeed at work, become leaders and positively influence their work environments. Using biblical and practical insights, the new eight week course is designed to sharpen student skills and deepen their understanding concerning each Christian’s responsibility to be leaders in the workplace while serving the world with excellence and integrity.
The curriculum itself best explains, “We can develop our gifts in virtually any job or position in which we find ourselves, for working on God’s behalf requires many different giftings and vocations. I Corinthians 7:17 says, ‘Each person should continue to live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God called them.’ In the Old Testament, Ezra was a priest and Nehemiah was a civil engineer and city planner. God used both of them mightily, along with countless other men, women, and even children, to accomplish His purposes. And He continues to do the same today.”
Faith and Work provides a framework which enables learners to fully embrace the truth that work is a blessing and an opportunity to serve a higher calling while supporting their families.
The topics covered in the curriculum begin teaching identity and purpose allowing participants to assess their own strengths and abilities through personality and spiritual gifts assessments. They can learn practical skills like setting goals and writing resumes. They will better understand their unique role, how to build healthy relationships and even overcome issues that sabotage success. During the sessions, the student is challenged to see themselves as created in God’s image with purpose and potential.
Darrell Jackson, Director Faith & Work/Faith & Finances at the Houston location, led a group of men at a non-profit ministry called Agape Development through the new study in the Fall of 2018. Agape Development and Restoration Community Church are partners in the mission of rebuilding the lives of individuals, families and the community. Ten men, including employees and supervisors of the Agape ministry, commented on how much the Faith & Work curriculum helped to strengthen their relationships with one another and taught them a biblical understanding of their individual roles at work and as kingdom men. “As I taught these men, I could not help but to reflect back to when I pastored a church in a community filled with needs. I would have loved to offer a course like Faith & Work that helped people learn about God’s view of work, while assisting them to increase their job skills,” Jackson reported.
For every Christian, work needs to be more than a job, more than a title or a profession. There is no division between the secular and the sacred when work becomes a calling to reflect God’s love and glory in every action, in all of our roles. As a successful doctor recently shared, “My life was changed when I decided that all of my work would be a form of worship to God.”
STCH Ministries has Faith & Work/Faith & Finances offices in Houston, Corpus Christi and San Antonio. The staff at all three locations are excited to bring this dynamic curriculum to the churches of South Texas. “Because of the benefits we have seen in the lives of individuals, families and in communities throughout our cities, we believe that God has given us a tool that will help individuals succeed, and bring glory to God!” stated Darrell Jackson.
Faith & Work is a companion ministry to our Faith & Finances program, a curriculum which teaches biblical principles for money management. Both programs are offered by STCH Ministries staff in and for local churches. If you, your church or ministry are interested in offering either of these studies to your organization, please go to www.stchm.org/faith-work for more information. STCH Ministries is faith-based and entirely supported by donations from God’s people, and does not charge for our services.