Surge Network is a movement of local churches putting Jesus on display in our cities. Over the last decade, we have had many opportunities to gather as local churches and work together to make disciples for all areas of life. Regular time to dialogue, learn from one another, and pray together is an essential part of our fellowship with one another.
This month we wrapped up our regional gatherings before our summer break by gathering for a citywide lunch at New City Church. Pastors and ministry leaders came together to discuss and imagine how we can better equip and resource members of our church towards faith, work, and rest.
In a world that has become increasingly exhausted and sleep deprived, Jim Mullins invited the leaders around each table to imagine how they might equip their congregations towards seeing work and rest as two legs - both required for walking - that disciples must be aware of to walk faithfully in the path God has laid out for us.
In his talk, Jim encouraged pastors to consider how their preaching, ministries, and discipleship have been instrumental in awakening church members to engage their vocation with greater thoughtfulness and intentionality; however, he also emphasized the felt need ministry leaders have shared with one another to grow in moving the conversation on vocational discipleship from the head to the hands and heart. Jim suggested four areas that will be important to press into as we continue on this journey with one another:
- Develop prayer liturgies to integrate into the workday.
- Recover the gift of Sabbath.
- Reimagine how even seemingly mundane tasks might point to our Creator.
- Combine theology with wise counsel to discern how our work might benefit and bless our neighbors.
In addition to Jim’s teaching and table discussions, we announced our Faith, Work, and Rest Initiative. This new initiative is our commitment to continue to engage the faith and work conversation, emphasizing particular areas that at times can be neglected in the broader conversation around vocational discipleship. Some of these new emphases that you might notice are:
It can be easy to use the growing discussion around faith and work to validate an American idolatry of work and so as our network presses into developing resources and tools to help equip disciples for all areas of life, we find it important to emphasize sabbath rest as a key aspect of our discipleship. In coming months, you will begin to see more from Surge that fleshes out the theology of rest and what that means for daily practices- both as individuals and as a community.
It is not uncommon for the Faith and Work conversation to emphasize examples around certain types of work (professional, creative, white-collar, etc) over others such as trades, those who cannot access jobs due to systemic injustices, manual labor, administration, etc. Our network has been blessed with a beautiful diversity of congregations and we believe this will benefit the tools we are able to create to serve the church in Arizona to consider vocation in light of the larger community they belong to.
Individual vs. Corporate
We will be the first to say we have a long way to go in this. It is easier to approach the faith and work conversation in light of individual discipleship; however, we believe this matters on a corporate and systemic level. We hope to continue to bring resources to provide church members opportunities to engage their work and vocation not just as individuals, but as part of a community that is aware of the ways structural and systemic sin embeds in our communities and effects our neighbors.
To start, the Faith, Work, and Rest Initiative will be focusing on 3 things: Career coaching, curated conversations, and Monday prayer.
Surge is offering three to four one-on-one sessions with a career coach to help members of your congregation develop a vocation plan. This includes everything from resume writing to long-term financial security planning. Our desire is for people to walk away with a fuller understanding of themselves.
These are conversations with church members and thought leaders designed to encourage and resource men and women to steward their work for the sake of glorifying God and loving their neighbor. In each episode, we’re curating discussions that give others an opportunity to glean vocational wisdom and reflect on their own work.
It’s all in the name. Surge Network is building a prayer team whose ongoing focus will be to pray for work-related issues.
Commit to pray or submit prayer requests on the “Pray With Us” portion of this page.
We look forward to getting feedback from our pastors and ministry leaders and to designing tools that support your work to equip and release God’s people to participate in his mission through all areas of life.
For more information on the Faith, Work, and Rest Initiative, visit our website or contact us.