By Lisa Slayton

Faith & Work 2.0: From Theory to Practice, September 20-21, 2013
Sponsored and Funded by The Coalition for Ministry in Daily Life

For more than 10 years, Serving Leaders has been working with leaders in all sectors, but especially in the marketplace, to understand that the work they do every day matters to God and the advancement of God’s reign. Many who come to us, often in state of confusion and even pain, have learned and integrated a misunderstanding of God’s view of work. They question whether running a business, holding public office, leading an organizational team, educating and caring for children or laboring in a factory is as important as the work of the “real” ministry people who serve in local churches and Christian non-profits.

Jubilee Professional gathering in Pittsburgh

Jubilee Professional gathering in Pittsburgh

Through our equipping initiatives such as the Leaders Collaborative and connecting opportunities such as Jubilee Professional, we have sought to help people in all sectors learn and integrate a biblical theology of work; one that embraces all work as God-glorifying work and that does not value  some vocations over others.

One of the common laments we hear after our conferences sounds like this,

“I love participating in these conferences that help me to think biblically about my work/calling/vocation but I feel like this just scratches the surface. What I yearn for is a place to work through real challenges specific to my industry with like-minded practitioners that can produce some real solutions that are biblically grounded and theologically supported. I need a vocational community.”

As I shared this lament last fall with Gideon Strauss, he reflected that it might be interesting to gather some of these practitioners into some kind of a learning laboratory where they could work collaboratively to help each other. I began to consider this idea and a few weeks later shared the concept with colleague and friend Will Messenger, executive editor of the Theology of Work Project. He expressed interest in the idea and I agreed to keep him posted as it developed. Soon after, Will came back to me to let me know that he had a potential funder for the gathering and so we birthed the idea into an experimental gathering scheduled for September 20 & 21, 2013, in Pittsburgh.

We will gather 75-80 people in four distinct vocational tracks; those under consideration include finance, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and design. Each track will consist of one facilitator, two to three Lead Practitioners, one Theologian/Scholar-in-Residence and 15 practitioners who will bring their real life business challenges into the laboratory. Each track will identify 3 issues/challenges for which they will generate biblically grounded solutions and then spend a day-and-a-half refining those solutions into experiments that can be taken back into their workplaces and field tested. Approximately three months after the gathering, we will ask each practitioner to report back the results of their field-testing so that we can build a body of case studies as references to be shared with others.

PNC Park, Pittsburgh

PNC Park, Pittsburgh

There will not be any plenary sessions other than some brief comments and framing during shared meals. There will be a great field study—an evening at PNC Park which will include a private tour by lead ballpark designer/architect (and Fieldnotes Magazine contributor) David Greusel. We will also enjoy a Pirates game from the “all-you-can-eat-seats.”

This is intended to be a learning and collaboration experiment for practitioners to get truly practical. We are seeking applications from practitioners interested in participating and submitting their challenges. We are also actively engaging Lead Practitioners and Theologians and have early commitments from Stephen Grabill and Dwight Gibson of the Acton Institute as well as several additional Lead Practitioners.

For more information on the event and to apply click here.

Check in often on our site, as we will frequently update with information about venues and vocational tracks. We hope you will consider participating in this experiment—we expect to learn a lot, invest time together building community, and enjoy some of the great things Pittsburgh has to offer!

Lisa Slayton is President of Serving Leaders. She loves to help leaders of small to medium sized businesses Awaken their Great Purpose and the Great Purpose of their organization. She also loves to learn from the wisdom of other leaders and is great at passing that wisdom along to everyone she meets.

Fieldnotes Magazine is a publication of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. We would love to hear from you about people, businesses, or other organizations we can interview or feature. Please email The Editor at Fieldnotes Magazine.

 

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