01 Jan A Fresh Perspective on Faith & Work
I’m excited to share with you the launch of the Northeast Indiana Center for Faith and Work. After many months of prayer, preparation and advisory conversations with dozens of individuals, we’re stepping forward this month with an organization that we believe can play a critical role in strengthening both the reach and depth of the Gospel in our region.
You might ask why launch a new organization like this in our community?
Quite simply, we believe that for the Gospel to fully transform individuals (and a region) it needs to enter into every aspect of our lives. This includes our private lives, our marriages, our family lives, our lives in our neighborhoods – but it also includes our lives at work – the place where we spend the vast majority of our time.
While we passionately celebrate the local church as the primary connecting point for the formation of Christian disciples, we also know that many local churches do not regularly discuss the application of faith to work. In fact, according to a 2018 Barna study, 65% of churched adults said it’s been 3 years or more since they heard church teachings on work and career and 84% of Christians aged 18-29 have no idea how the Bible relates to their professional life.
This gap in our Gospel application has ripple effects that spill out into how all of us live and work and the degree to which the Gospel permeates our area. Surveys show that, worldwide, 87% employees are not fully engaged at work. According to Gallup, 8 in 10 Americans are afflicted by stress and they list work as being one of the primary causes. And according to the Pew Religious landscape survey absolute certain belief in God in Indiana declined from 76% in 2007 to 63% in 2014.
Yet, our foundations for this faith and work initiative are strong. According to Colossians 1:20, Revelation 21:5 and elsewhere in scripture, Jesus has staked his claim on all of creation and he desires to redeem everything that was broken in the fall. This includes broken relationships with his people, but it goes beyond that to include the redemption of broken systems, processes, communities, organizations and industries. Abraham Kuyper memorably said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
We believe that as God’s people engage with this broader and deeper understanding of the Gospel, it allows them to see that the purpose of their everyday work has tremendous eternal and redemptive potential. In so doing, they can help bring all of creation back under God’s reign – while increasingly earning the right through their excellent work to give reasons for the hope that they have.
We hope you’ll jump in, invite others, and join us on this journey. We can’t wait to see what God has in store!
Jeff Ostermann, President – Northeast Indiana Center for Faith and Work