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Preaching to Your People's Vocations

'How will our idea of work impact the life of a church?' An interview with Tom Nelson

Tom Nelson pastors Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kansas. editor Matt Woodley talked with Tom about preaching's relationship with a Christian theology of work. Why the passion for preaching on faith and work?

Tom Nelson: My current passion has come out of my past failure.

I would call it "theological malpractice." It wasn't intentional—I graduated from a very fine seminary. I grew up in a Christian home and loved my tradition. But after being a pastor a while, I realized that I was spending the minority of my time addressing what the congregation did for the majority of their lives. This Sunday-to-Monday gap was theological—how I understood how the gospel speaks into all of everyday life. I missed the integral nature of work in God's story in Scripture.

When I realized this 10 or 15 years ago, I stood up before my congregation and said, "Hey, I want you to forgive me because I have not been the pastor I should be based on the vocation ...

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October 02, 2013  5:14pm

Tom, I'm starting to hear more and more of this from different 'forward thinkers' in the faith and I'm delighted to be hearing it. Unfortunately, my own church (institution) cares absolutely nothing for what I do Monday to Sunday, only what 'ministry' I can serve in on Sunday and whether I'm occupying a seat in the sanctuary at 10:45 am. It's a very sad state of affairs there ... but because there are people like you, there is hope! Thank you for thinking this through and listening to God around this concept.

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