Imagine the scenarios:
- a CEO successfully negotiates a corporate merger, avoiding hundreds of layoffs in the process
- an artist completes a mosaic for public display at a bank, showcasing neighborhood heroes
- a contractor creates a work-release program in cooperation with a local prison, growing the business and seeing countless former inmates turn their lives around
- a high-school principal graduates 20 percent more students than the previous year, and the school's average scores go up by a similar percentage
Now imagine a parade in the streets for each event. That's the vision of Proverbs 11:10, in which the tsaddiqim--the people who see everything they have as gifts from God to be stewarded for his purposes--pursue their vocation with an eye to the greater good.
Amy Sherman, director of the Center on Faith in Communities and scholar of vocational stewardship, uses the tsaddiqim as a springboard to explore how, through our faith-formed calling, we announce the kingdom of God to our everyday world. But cultural trends toward privatism and materialism threaten to dis-integrate our faith and our work. And the church, in ways large and small, has itself capitulated to those trends, while simultaneously elevating the "special calling" of professional ministry and neglecting the vocational formation of laypeople. In the process, we have, in ways large and small, subverted our kingdom mandate.
God is on the move, and he calls each of us, from our various halls of power and privilege, to follow him. Here is your chance, keeping this kingdom calling in view, to steward your faith and work toward righteousness. In so doing, you will bless the world, and as you flourish, the world will celebrate.
Steven Garber is the principal of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture, which is focused on reframing the way people understand life, especially the meaning of vocation and the common good. A consultant to foundations, corporations and schools, he is a teacher of many people in many places. The author of he is also a contributor to the books and He lives with his wife, Meg, in Virginia.
To me, this book is at the core of what kingdom living and engagement are all about. When the church in the West gets this, we are going to see transformation on an unimaginable scale. Solid theology, good stories and lots of practical application.
-Bob Roberts Jr.,
senior pastor, NorthWood Church, and author of Real-Time Connections and Transformation
It has been my experience that very few believers deal with one of the most significant issues of the Christian life: the relationship between what they do vocationally and what they are called to do by our Lord and Savior. It is impossible to live as a kingdom servant without considering your kingdom calling. Amy Sherman has articulated extremely well the theological foundation of a kingdom calling and then shown how to practically exercise that calling. It is a privilege for me to endorse this book wholeheartedly as a book that is not only well written, but more importantly one of immense importance.
president of Kingdom Advisors
Filled with careful research, inspiring examples, heroic people and epic stories, Kingdom Calling introduces the reader to the reality that William Gibson identified: 'The future is already here; it's just not evenly distributed.' This book will go a long way in helping us fast-forward that future.
Leadership Community Director for Externally Focused Churches, Leadership Network, and author of To Transform a City
Amy Sherman's carefully researched and theologically grounded work will serve as an inspiration and resource for churches needing to discover and deploy the passions and gifts of their people to faithfully serve the world outside the church. While targeted at pastors and church leaders, this book is also accessible and encouraging for the average congregant who has come to desire a more robust integration of faith and work, which extends from 'blooming where planted' to leading change initiatives within their existing workplaces and by starting new entrepreneurial ventures. Kingdom Calling captures and adds to the equipping and mobilizing 'how-to' we have discovered at Redeemer and would love to share with churches around the world.
-Katherine Leary Alsdorf,
founder and executive director, Center for Faith & Work, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
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