Most people will spend the vast majority of their lives at their job. As pastors, we must thoughtfully shepherd our people to see how their faith in Christ impacts the way they handle the weekly demands of work. In his book Fruit at Work, Chris Evans provides a helpful resource that gives insight from his own experience in the workplace and his study of Scripture.
Evans started three successful businesses, served on the board of multiple companies, and was awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He began asking, “What does it mean to be a Christian in the workplace?” and has determined that beyond sharing the Gospel, we must develop and exercise the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in the workplace. The sad reality he has observed is that for many who claim to be Christians, the fruit of the Spirit is not evident in their lives at work.
Some Christians would state that the reason for this is because demonstrating these traits in the business world would be professional suicide. Evans writes that “Kindness can be seen as kissing up, patience as weakness, and peace as passivity.” Yet he argues these very traits are often beneficial to your work.
Evans gives an important reminder to those who might think that they must work hard by their own efforts to produce these traits in their life.
“Some people may get the impression that by trying to exercise the fruit of the Spirit on their own, they can somehow earn God’s favor or forgiveness…The more you look at the fruit as some sort of to-do list that you can use to earn God’s favor, the more you are moving in the wrong direction. It’s only by accepting God’s grace that we have access to His Spirit and the real fruit can be produced.”
Evans challenges Christians in the business world to see their job as much more than a place to climb a ladder or earn a paycheck. Instead, a job should be seen as an ideal opportunity to grow in Christ: “Few other areas in your life offer the kind of environment that will challenge your character, faith, and relationships with others or that can show you where you need to grow.”
In the book, Evans reviews biblical examples of each fruit, provides real-life situations where the fruit can be demonstrated in the workplace, and challenges readers to seek to cultivate that fruit in their life.
As a pastor, it is very helpful to have a resource like this for those in the church who spend their week in the business world. This book will help them see that their work is an essential part of their growth in Christ-likeness. Along with its study guide, I can see this book being utilized successfully in a small group setting of believers. If Christians will begin to see their job as a place to display Christ through the fruit of the Spirit, there is no limit to the impact it will have on their lives and their companies for the glory of God.
NOTE: The Kindle version of Fruit at Work is available now through Sept. 14 for $3.99 and all proceeds of this sale will be donated to Door International and their mission to equip deaf believers and churches.
B21 is honored to once again have Dr. David Platt on our panel at the SBC 2011. Platt is husband to Heather, father to Caleb and Joshua, and Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. He is a gifted expositor and devoted student of the Scriptures. His passion for the Word and commitment to reaching the lost and making disciples is evident in both his sermons and his life. He is leading his church to surrender their lives to God to accomplish the Great Commission and impact the world. In addition to being a pastor and preaching at numerous conferences, Platt spends a significant amount of time each year oversees taking the Gospel to unreached peoples, with an emphasis on training and equipping students, missionaries and pastors all over the world.
Platt is the author of the bestselling book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, and recently released Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God. He also has provided Christians with a tremendous resource in Disciple Making International (http://www.disciplemakingintl.org). DMI provides sermons, study guides, and materials from Secret Church (a stout six-hour theology course) as well as many other resources to equip and encourage churches all over the world. We encourage you to utilize the resources of DMI, as well as attend the panel this summer in Phoenix to hear what Platt and the other men on the panel have to teach us about living on mission.
About the B21 Panel SBC2011:
When: June 14th, during the SBC lunch break (roughly 12pm-1pm)
Where: Phoenix Convention Center (PCC), West Building in Room 301A
What: A lunch panel discussion on Mission, the SBC, and more…
Who: Danny Akin, Kevin Ezell, Albert Mohler, John Piper, and David Platt
- General Registration (April 26th – June 10th) – $15
Note: This $15 will include a lunch. We understand that $15 may seem high, but it is an average price at convention centers. We are not doing this to make money. In fact, we are attempting to raise money with sponsors to keep the cost at $15. Lunch in Phoenix downtown area will be costly, why not spend the time at a lunch listening to men like John Piper and David Platt talk about critical issues for the church. Thanks for considering this and we hope to see you there!!
B21 is excited to have Matt Chandler joining this year’s B21 SBC Lunch Panel (REGISTER HERE). After several years serving on a local church staff and as an itinerant preacher, Matt Chandler became the lead Pastor of First Baptist Church of Highland Village, TX now known as The Village Church in 2002. Since that time, Matt has led the congregation through uncompromised Gospel-centered preaching, and visionary leadership. The church has grown from 160 to over 6,000 people, and they now have three campuses. Matt is committed to planting churches, and is involved in planting around Dallas and across the world through The Village Church and other partnerships. He has become a leader in the evangelical world through his ministry at The Village Church, his leadership in the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, and through his preaching at multiple conferences.
Matt will bring a much-needed voice to the b21 panel at this year’s SBC. His church does cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention and he has expressed hopefulness about the future and the GCR, even saying that he would follow Danny Akin, “into the furnace” (check out his 20/20 talk at SEBTS). We are looking forward to the insights he will bring to the table about why he is a Southern Baptist and what he thinks the future of Southern Baptists ought to look like.
On Thanksgiving Day 2009, Matt suddenly had a seizure and collapsed. The prognosis was that he had a malignant tumor in his brain. The doctors were unable to remove the tumor in its entirety, so over the past months he has undergone continuous treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. He has put regular videos with updates online (see latest one above). Through all of this incredibly difficult season, Matt and his wife Lauren have displayed incredible faith in God’s sovereignty and strength in Christ. A quote from a letter that went out to the members of The Village Church expresses their position through this trial: “The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.” The way that Matt and Lauren have handled this situation has been both a challenge and an encouragement to Christians, and to the lost a picture of hope and joy in Christ, which is beyond anything they know. We are thankful for Matt’s passionate Gospel-centered preaching and the testimony of the truth of the Gospel lived out in his life. We are grateful that Matt has graciously agreed to join the Baptist 21 panel this summer in Orlando, and look forward to learning from him and the rest of the panel at this pivotal time in the life of the SBC.
David Platt serves as Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. He holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Georgia and a M.Div., Th.M. and Ph. D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also served as Dean of Chapel and Assistant Professor of Expository Preaching and Apologetics, as well as Staff Evangelist at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans until he and his wife had to evacuate after Hurricane Katrina flooded their house. In addition to serving as Pastor of Brook Hills, Dr. Platt preaches regularly both nationally and internationally, teaching from God’s Word in churches, seminaries, the underground church or even under a shade tree in Africa or Latin America. He is passionate about God’s Word (of which he has much memorized) and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that passion is obvious to anyone who has heard him preach. He is one of the B21 guys’ favorite preachers, and if you don’t already podcast his sermons, you can find them at http://brookhills.com/media/default.htm.
We are so glad that Dr. Platt will be able to join the panel for the B21@SBC event. What he brings to the table is primarily a love of the Gospel, missions and a passion for the primacy of the local church. David is married to Heather and they are the parents of two sons, Caleb (2) and Joshua (born December 2007).
In this interview, Dr.’s Reid and Liederbach address several issues that we at Baptist21 believe are urgent for Baptists in the 21st Century. In this portion of the interview they touch on the issue of the social gospel, which has become increasingly popular with young evangelicals in recent years. They address the failure of both “mercy ministries” that don’t involve sharing the message of the gospel (Yes, using words!) and those ministries that ignore physical needs, paying attention only to “witnessing” with tracks or a conversation about the need for salvation. They see these models converging into ministries that care for physical needs as well as involve proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, resulting in what they label “convergent evangelism.”
Also discussed in this interview is the failure of what many churches have called discipleship, though often it is nothing more than “a rather mundane Sunday morning classroom experience sprinkled with a touch of behavior modification here and dash of spiritual checklists there,” which fails to produce disciples. They speak to their perspective on the right way for a church to engage in the process of discipleship.
They also highlight some very practical ways for a church to transition from being what they have labeled “a conventional church” into being a convergent church. It would serve us well to read this book and heed the advice of these two men in a time when we are plagued with churches that are anything but convergent. We appreciate the opportunity to sit down with these men and hear what they have to say about serving King Jesus in a way that is faithful to the Bible and winsome to the culture for His glory.
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