Vocational Stewardship

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Four Pathways

Regardless of your vocational calling, there are exciting ways for YOU to steward your talents to advance God’s Kingdom.

In Kingdom Calling, I describe four pathways of deployment:

PathwayKeywordDescriptionChurch TypeTemptations
1"Bloom"Promoting the Kingdom in and through your daily workAll: any size, any outreach strategyPietism
2"Donate"Volunteering vocational talent outside your day jobSmall-Mid; those with outreach strategy emphasizing partnershipsImpatience; arrogance towards volunteer/nonprofit organizations/staff
3"Invent"Launching a social enterprise Mid-Large; those with high percentage of leaders & “halftimers”Reinventing wheels; failure to partner; vainglory
4"Invest"Participating in the church’s targeted initiativeMid-Large; those with narrow & deep outreach focusFailure to do “ministry with”
Failure to recognize mutuality of ministry

Pathway 1: “Blooming” in your current job. This means creatively and strategically advancing Kingdom values in the work itself (e.g., in the products you choose to make or the topics you choose to research); through your work-based relationships (e.g., in the way you relate to superiors, co-workers, vendors, customers, stakeholders); and in how you do the work (e.g., your management style, the ways you influence employee care and the organization’s internal justice, the degree to which you seek to protect the environment or guard worker safety in production processes, etc.). Read more about Pathway One.

Pathway 2:  Donating your skills to churches, nonprofit ministries, or agencies that can make good use of your particular vocational skills and experiences as they advance Kingdom purposes about which you are passionate. Read more about Pathway Two.

Pathway 3:  Drawing upon your skills, knowledge, expertise, influence, and networks to launch a new social enterprise that seeks to advance the Kingdom in a fresh way or on behalf of an underserved group. Read more about Pathway Three.

Pathway 4:  Participating in your church’s targeted initiative to serve a people group, neighborhood, country, or cause, in ways that make strategic use of your particular expertise, skills, and networks. Read more about Pathway Four.

Vocational Stewardship In Action

  • Cliff Nellis: Combining Law and Urban Youth Ministry

    Cliff Nellis: Comb...

    Cliff Nellis: Combining Law and Urban Youth Ministry by Amy Sherman and Kelly Givens Cliff Nellis, a graduate of the University of Chicago’s School of Law, became a Christian near the end of his clerkship for a federal judge in Colorado. He took some time off to bike cross-country, studying the bible with all the delight of the brand-new believer. During the trip, Nellis reports, “I started feeling called to ministry. I started thinking about whether I’d stay in the law or not.” Looking back, he sees that as a young believer, he “had this very narrow view: ministry is …

  • Anne Hughes and Jenny Oliver: Realtors Going the Extra Mile

    Anne Hughes and Je...

    Anne Hughes and Jenny Oliver: Realtors Going the Extra Mile By Kelly N. Givens December 7, 2011 As anyone who has tried to buy or sell a house in the past half a decade knows, the housing market is currently in a state of crisis. In the aftermath of the burst housing bubble, we’ve seen investment banks going broke, the government bailing out companies, and the U.S. economy in recession. Foreclosures have steadily risen since 2006, draining wealth from consumers and eroding the financial strength of banking institutions. Home prices have tumbled, and it’s unclear if they’ve hit their lowest …

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NEW! Great short video on Work as Worship
A new perspective on work.

Discussion Questions for Use by Vocational Guilds
Does your church gather members into small groups by profession (e.g., law, medicine, business, art)? If so, invite them to try out these discussion starters.

Ten Ways to Encourage Vocational Stewardship in Your Church
Here are some doable action steps you can take right now.

Small Group Discussion Guide on Vocation
Use these questions to enliven your small group’s ability to support members in living missionally through their daily work.

Annotated Bibliography
Short summaries of helpful books on vocation, for pastors and individual believers. Check back frequently as this list will be updated regularly.