It’s lonely out there if you’re a pastor who has chosen not to create a consumer experience in the church. You don’t get a lot of credit for that and sometimes nobody understands what you’re doing. So when I first got involved with the network, my wife and I just—we just wept and said, “Finally. We’re home. These are our people.”
—Jay Slocum, founding pastor of Jonah’s Call in Pittsburgh
The way that we thought about the Biblical story was that God was trying to save a bunch of souls and whisk them out. And my time in seminary, really wrestling with the Biblical text, convinced me that that’s really not the story. God’s plan is the “reconciliation of all things” and this idea of “the new creation.” And once you start thinking along those lines, and realize that you can participate with God in the healing of creation, the work of your hands just becomes so important.
—Andrew Arndt, Lead Pastor of Bloom Church in Denver
Faith, work, and economics integration is one of the most strategic things you can invest in as a pastor. We all spend more waking hours at work than in any other single activity, so to put that off to the side is beyond unstrategic; it seems like almost a dereliction of duty as pastors. That’s where people live and Jesus has a plan for that. I’ve found that by talking with people just once a month about integrating their faith and work, they grew more spiritually than they did in small groups that met every week.
—Dr. Chip Roper, Director of Marketplace Engagement at New York City Leadership Center
Integrating faith, work, and economics is considered to be cutting-edge ministry, and it is challenging to be out on the “front lines” by yourself. It is good to know that there are other individuals, either locally or around the nation, that can encourage and help you to work through challenges and problems.
—Zachary Ritvalsky, Pastor of Sweet Union Baptist Church in Philadelphia
The first thing God did was work and build and create. The first thing He commanded us to do was to work the garden. As soon as you frame work as a sacred task, that changes everything. At that point, your work can be done as worship to God and love for your neighbor!
—Chris Neal, Associate Pastor of Student Ministries at NewSong Church in San Dimas
As pastors, we don’t have time to learn a new set of skills. But being a part of a network enables me to get what I need, to hear how it can best be applied, and then to get right back into the game and see these ideas come to fruition. Our people are hungry for these concepts and these ideas, so it’s imperative that we support one another and figure out how to do this.
—Case Thorp, Senior Associate Pastor of Mission & Evangelism at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando