Erasing the Line Between Sacred and Secular in the Workplace

Over the past couple of decades, Christian thinking has made tremendous strides in vocational theology. Whereas in the past, there have been times of disconnect between faith and work, there is now a movement back to a good, biblical understanding of vocation. Many books have been written recently on the intrinsic value and goodness of work, from Wayne Grudem’s Business for the Glory of God to Timothy Keller and Katherine Leary Asldorf’s Every Good Endeavor.

A number of institutions have also emerged, including Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Mockler Center for Faith and Ethics in the Marketplace, Princeton University’s Faith and Work Initiative and Dallas Theological Seminary’s Hendricks Center for Leadership and Cultural Engagement. These works and institutions, and others with similar goals, have made significant headway in erasing the line between sacred and secular, tearing down the dividing wall of hostility between Sunday and Monday, at least in theory. 

But there is much more to be done in practice.

While Christian men and women may now charge into work each week, filled with joy and an understanding that their work can be an act of worship to God and a mission field for sharing the gospel, many struggle to know what this should look like. In spite of the numerous policy manuals and codes by which professionals are supposed to operate within their given organizations, there still is no playbook on how to thrive in the marketplace as a Christian.

But how does the biblical story actually inform our work? How should Christians go about submitting to leadership? Hiring and firing employees? Shaping the culture of the office? How can individuals be sure and confident that they are performing their daily tasks faithfully?

As a part of our strategy at Novum, we want to transform the ethics and bottom line of the marketplace by equipping professionals to improvise and contextualize the gospel. We want to prepare these individuals to walk in wisdom and clarity. Christians in the marketplace need renewed imaginations for how to live faithfully in the marketplace, while churches need renewed imaginations for how to disciple individuals in this space.

Mark Catlin