Center for Faith & Work www.CenterforFaithandWork.com
Special to Inside The Pew
DALLAS — Do faith and work mix? And if so, as America’s workforce increasingly wants meaning beyond a paycheck, do pastors help? From a recent national study commissioned by Dallas-based LeTourneau University’s Center for Faith & Work, answers are, “Yes,” and “Not enough.”
“Ninety-three percent of pastors say they want to help members of their congregations integrate faith and work but fully two-thirds of them admit their efforts fall short,” Bill Peel, Center for Faith & Work executive director, said. “People work more, and better, when their labor carries a sense of calling. But most employers can’t give it, and most pastors don’t.”
The church-work gap emerges in data from two surveys commissioned by the Center and conducted by the Barna Group.
• Nearly all (93 percent) pastors said helping people integrate faith into daily work is “very important”
• A third (32 percent) of those pastors claim an “excellent understanding” of workplace issues
• Half (49 percent) of churchgoing, employed Christians “strongly agree” that their church gives information, guidance, and support to live out faith at work
• 26 percent of pastors say their sermons address faith at work
• 8 percent of pastors provide prayer support for workplace issues
• 3 percent of pastors report they visit their members at work
The LeTourneau Center for Faith & Work, founded in 2011, reflects a burgeoning “faith at work” movement to help the employed — and unemployed — find God beyond church doors.
The Center’s web site assembles resources, tools, and curriculum for churches, students, and the global Christian community to equip and connect them to live out their faith in the workplace. Foundational to the Center is the notion that God values good work well done.
“From Genesis to Revelation, work is essential to human flourishing,” Peel said. “Pastors and pew populations too often default to esteeming ‘church work’ over traditional business. But God doesn’t draw that line.”
In 1946 R.G. LeTourneau, industrialist and inventor, founded LeTourneau University; and his refusal to separate faith and business formed “the DNA of the university.” Bill Peel, founding executive of the university’s Center for Faith & Work, is an award-winning author of seven books, including Workplace Grace, What God Does When Men Lead, and Discover Your Destiny.