It is my belief that as Christians we need to use our gifts, talents, passions, and abilities to do everything we do for the glory of God. Last week I took a class focusing on Film, Theology, and Ministry where we talked about the need for Christian influence in the realm of storytelling and film in order to engage culture with themes that display Christian principles in action to thinking and resolving real-life dilemmas. Yesterday I started my class on Theology of Cultural Engagement. I was reflecting earlier on places where Christians should strive to invest influence in (besides the local church). This list of five isn’t conclusive, they are just areas that I have thought about and wrote on in the past.
My Masters project, Shared Justice articles, and current involvement in church and school partnerships as a mode of support and relationship-building with members of our community have been very informative in my advocacy for Christians being involved in all areas of education (public, private, collegiate, etc.). Kids need teachers, administrators, and support staff with a Christian worldview and attitude to help them learn and develop better systems for overall wellness and support of each child and their family. These are very difficult tasks, but collaboration and creativity are main ways that Christian educators (and believer’s families) can shine the light of Christ in the classroom through compassion, grace, and presence. I’ve even set up a scholarship to help teachers at Multnomah University who are in the graduate program in honor of Jennica to help with a small aspect of the financial burden of being educated to become an educator.
2. The Arts
Since I mentioned film at the beginning of this post I want to condense film, music, and other artistic expressions (photography, painting, sculpting, architecture, etc.) under a broad category. While it is not bad to create Christian music or films, it also isn’t a negative thing to be a Christian who creates works of art that are respectfully wholesome, have redemptive themes, and require people to ask deep and meaningful questions of themselves. U2, Switchfoot, and Bruce Springsteen are all examples of musicians who have used their Christian worldview to present songs that have influenced and changed people. We need to be careful to not become culturally distant from the arts, but we need to be careful to not over-consume it to the point of not having any boundaries about what we do watch and listen to.
3. Social Work
My experience in working with adults with developmental disabilities has taught me that there is a much-needed demand for caring, compassionate, and Christ-centered people in the field of social work. The reason for this is because of the unique doctrine of imago Dei (people being made in the image of God) helps us to see people less as a consumer or client, but as a person who is loved and wonderfully made by God. This field requires people who are spiritually, emotionally, and physically up to the challenge of helping with other’s holistic needs.
Lobbyists, staffers, congressmen and women are just a few example of Christians who are needed to promote fairness, justice, and equality in the government sector of our nation and world. While we should all pray for the peace of our land and world, it is also important that we take our Christian convictions and work through all spheres of ethical, political, and moral dilemmas that impact the officers and politicians of our land. I think that it is possible and necessary for us to engage in changing structures so that we can show that God has given us wisdom for how we should operate in our legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government- not that we should allow party lines to determine our loyalty- but that we can stay loyal to our calling as citizens of God’s kingdom to see, even in small ways, God’s kingdom of love, goodness, and grace set up.
5. Hospitality Industry
An area that many people don’t often think of as a ministry opportunity is the hospitality industry- such as catering, barista’s, and restaurant experience- are very important aspects of life. The Bible is pretty clear that we should be hospitable to others and give genuinely good service, care, and well-done work as a way to love God and love others (Heb. 13:2). I challenge you that if you are a consumer of these goods to be more thankful the next time you go to a restaurant or your coffee place to make it your mission to put a smile on their face by blessing them. Likewise, I challenge you that if you’re in this field to do everything you do as you are working for God, not man- because that is a way of storing up your treasure in Heaven. I know from experience that it is hard to always be on top of your game, but it can be a great opportunity to witness to your customers and fellow employees when you are.
This list is by no means comprehensive, it’s just a list of a few areas that have struck me as important for Christians to engage in. What areas can you think of and why?