Discipling people with Monday in mind

By 4 a.m., I’m up teaching English online. By 8:30, I’m full-time momming two toddlers. As they nap in the afternoon, I may grade exams, review lesson plans, or work on a professional development course. And occasionally I write or translate. Every day, I balance the demands of my work and my family from within the walls of our home. And despite the fact that every moment is crammed with little girls and other parents and toys and books, I can feel like I live on an island, wondering if my work matters.

Though I daily engage with students from the far east to my home of rural Alabama, it’s easy to feel disconnected. Not disconnected from the world, necessarily, but disconnected from my purpose in the kingdom of God. It’s easy to feel like my income-generating work exists for only that purpose: the paycheck. If only I didn’t have to worry about money, I could spend more time focused on my “calling,” I think. And, “When our children are independent, then I can get serious about “true” kingdom work again.” For me, the confrontation of faith and work is tense — and isolating.

This is the tension I feel, and I’m not the only one. That’s why it’s addressed explicitly by Discipleship with Monday in Mind: Connecting Faith and Work. The second edition of the book, written by Luke Bobo and Skye Jethani, is a resource for pastors of churches full of members like me, struggling to see how their work fits in God’s kingdom.

Kingdom work and our work

This short book (99 pages) is accessible and inspiring. The authors interview 16 pastors and present a wide scope of what their churches are doing to engage faith, work and economics (FWE) in their congregations. Though they pastor churches distinct in geography, ecclesiology, context and experience, these pastors share the desire to show their members that their daily work not only matters to God but is essential in his plan for the world. And these churches are all doing something. Essentially, that’s the point of the book: for pastors to see that each of their churches, with their unique characteristics, can (and should) start somewhere.

Bobo and Jethani organize the book in four chapters, addressing areas in which churches can be deliberate in connecting faith and work for their congregants. The first explores starting points. The authors share ways pastors can enter the faith and work conversation, both within the church and out in the community. These include strategies for learning about the major industries in their communities and staying informed about what’s going on in their local marketplaces — and even visiting church members at their workplaces.

The following three chapters launch from those starting points and offer examples — more like case studies — of what the 16 churches are doing to connect faith with work in three spheres: corporate worship; spiritual discipleship and formation; and mission and outreach.

Faith and work, for everyone 

I’m not a pastor, but I loved this book. I loved it because this is exactly the kind of thing from which I’d benefit in my own local church. Discipleship with Monday in Mind reached my island and reminded me that there is no sphere of life over which God does not say “mine.” As a church member, this book helped me to consider my daily work as means of living in obedience by loving my neighbor. And the book’s pastoral focus showed a vision for what this obedience could look like in the life of a church community. I plan to share Discipleship with Monday in Mind with my pastor, and you should share it with yours, too.

Topics: Christian Life, Common Good, Issues Facing Workers, Meaning in Our Work

About the Author

Hannah J. Hanbury has taught Spanish and Hispanic studies at the university and high school levels, and her writing translation work appears in Misiones para todos and Coalition por el evangelio (TGC). She lives in Florence, Alabama.