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Vocational Faithfulness as Public Discipleship

Vocational Faithfulness as Public Discipleship

December 6, 2017

Several Wheaton faculty joined Opus at the second biennial Faith@Work Summit held in Dallas, October 27 - 29, 2016. There we heard Amy Sherman, Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, speak eloquently on “Vocational Faithfulness as Public Discipleship.” "Righteousness," she begins, "is both about inward character and about outward justice." Watch this short video to see Sherman demonstrate – with memorable anecdotes – how Christians can steward our vocational energy and opportunities in service of justice. We believe the positive vision Sherman presents here can help our students tie their vocational choices to larger communal and institutional considerations.

In this video, Amy offers a three-part vision for Christians seeking to faithfully engage with work sectors and industries:

  • Cultivate the full creational intent of sectors.
  • Restore sectors where they are broken.
  • Imagine what the sector might be in the new heavens and earth.

In addressing these points, Amy unpacks the notion that God’s mission for His people is institutional as well as individual.

Vocational Faithfulness

Amy L. Sherman, Ph.D., who directs Sagamore Institute’s Center on Faith in Communities speaks on "Vocational Faithfulness as Public Discipleship" at the Faith at Work Summit.

If you’d like to go deeper with the themes from this 15-minute video, here are a few discussion questions we used with our staff and faculty vocation seminar after they watched Sherman’s talk:

We set the questions up by asking seminar participants to do the following:

  1. Think of a marketplace sector—e.g. retail, finance, arts non-profits, city government, education, healthcare—where you have had significant experience. Maybe you formerly worked in this sector, or a family member works or has worked in it, or you’ve been involved as a recipient of services.
  2. Now, having watched Amy Sherman’s message in the video about “vocational stewardship for the common good,” reflect on the following questions:

CREATION - How might God's providential, common-good purposes be served through the work people do in that sector? Can you think of one or two specific things people working in that sector could do to serve those purposes even better?

REDEMPTION - What are ways the sector you’re thinking about seems broken and in need of redemptive help to “set it right”? Can you think of one or two specific things people working in that sector could do to bring a redemptive influence in their organizations, practices, or services?

NEW CREATION - How might that sector be already bringing foretastes of God’s future realized kingdom to people here and now? Can you think of one or two specific things people working in that sector could do to bring such foretastes to those they serve?