Reframing Pastoral Work

2013 The Gospel Coalition Faith at Work Conference


In this 37-minute session from the 2013 TGC Faith at Work Conference, Bob Doll and Tom Nelson share with pastors what congregants need to hear from the church to be equipped and encouraged in their vocations.

Bob Doll is Senior Portfolio Manager and Chief Equity Strategist at Nuveen Asset Management. Tom Nelson is Senior Pastor of Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kansas and the author of Work Matters



Bob encouraged pastors to initiate relationships with business leaders. Do you practice this? Why or why not? Who in your congregation might you need to get to know?
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Bob shared seven ways pastors can better equip business leaders:

  1. Teach them to depend on God alone.
  2. Teach them to integrate their faith and work. 
  3. Teach them to prioritize God and family.
  4. Encourage them to seek out accountability partners.
  5. Help them understand that their work is a calling.
  6. Help them understand that the 9-5 window is just as important as the 10-40 window. 
  7. Teach them to be generous.  

Looking at this list, which do you do well and which could you do better? What will be your first practical step?
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Tom shared three ways pastors can better encourage congregants in their work:

  1. Teach a robust vocational theology that informs their work.
  2. Embrace a liturgical regularity that affirms their work. 
  3. Cultivate a respectful relationship that applauds their work.  

How do you weave a theology of vocation into your sermons and illustrations? What messages might your congregants be hearing about the value of secular work? What do you think could be done differently during worship services to better inform and affirm the vocations of your congregants?
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Tom described five ways pastors can cultivate respectful relationships with marketplace leaders:

  1. Make time to get to know them. 
  2. Read what they are reading.
  3. Visit them at their workplaces. 
  4. Find simple ways to creatively and thoughtfully encourage them. 
  5. Be devoted to prayer and Scriptures.  

How are you cultivating relationships with marketplace leaders? How could you rearrange your current schedule to build time for these relationships?
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Tom concluded with the words of Charles Spurgeon: “To wash feet may be servile, but to wash His feet is royal work. To unloose the shoe-latchet is poor employ, but to unloose the great Master's shoe is a princely privilege. The shop, the barn, the scullery, and the smithy become temples when men and women do all to the glory of God! Then ‘divine service' is not a thing of a few hours and a few places, but all life becomes holiness unto the Lord, and every place and thing, as consecrated as the tabernacle and its golden candlestick.”



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