The origins of Workship: How to use your work to worship God
The Hebrew root for work (avad) is also the root for service, particularly serving God in worship. I believe the two activities are meant to be integrated. Our work should be done in a way that honours God, which serves God and others, that worships God. By combining the two English words: work and worship, I hope to challenge people to integrate their faith and work.
Workship has three sections: a brief theology of work, spiritual disciplines for working, and practical wisdom for the workplace.
Kara Martin is Project Leader with Seed, MBA Curriculum Developer with Excelsia College, and former Associate Dean of the Marketplace Institute at Ridley College in Melbourne. She has worked in media and communications, human resources, business analysis and policy development roles, in a variety of organisations, and as a consultant. She was Director of the School of Christian Studies for three years and has lectured with the Brisbane School of Theology, Macquarie Christian Studies Institute and Wesley Institute. Kara has a particular passion for integrating our Christian faith and work, as well as helping churches connect with the workers in their congregations. She is married to David, and they have two amazing adult children: Jaslyn and Guy. She is currently under contract to write a two-volume exploration of Workship: How we can worship God through our work.
An Excerpt from Workship
There I was, the opportunity of a lifetime! I was offered my dream job: television reporter for a brand new regional station on the south coast of Sydney. All the university study, the freelance work, the hospitality jobs to help pay the bills, the hundreds of applications… Finally, it all paid off.
I was pretty green as a reporter. Most of what I had learnt was in a lecture room. I had managed to get several stories published, and worked in several radio stations, but the demands of TV reporting were completely different.
There was the difficulty of putting a complex story into a two-minute story, the pressure to come up with 3–4 stories a day, and the difficulty of having to work with others. Then there was the culture of the newsroom. All the stress led to a work culture that was defined by heavy alcohol drinking, lots of swearing and coarse joking to let off steam, and a lot of competition and conflict.
As a young Christian, this was a difficult environment to work in. I felt very underprepared. What was a faith response to this alien world of work?
• Some Christians told me to be good, not to be impacted by what I saw or heard or experienced.
• Some told me to look for any opportunity to share the Gospel.
• Some told me my duty was to use my position to do stories about Christians or the church.
• Some told me to keep my head down and pray.
• Some told me that faith was only for Sundays.
I tried to get my pastor to help me, but he had difficulty understanding or engaging with my world of work. The teaching on Sunday was about spiritual matters rather than everyday issues. The application was usually confined to four options: pray more, read my Bible more, evangelise more, and/or do more things at church.
In my heart I knew this was unsustainable. It felt like a double-life, and it was impacting on my relationship with God, and with others.
I was living a life that was not integrating faith and work. I was dis-integrating!
I had to learn how to combine my faith and my working; to put my faith to work, and to work at my faith.
I had to learn how to worship God through my work.
(From the Preface of Workship)
Tim Lam, Crosslight Magazine, Australia:
"Martin’s journalism background means she conveys her stories in a crisp and accessible writing style that steers clear of theological jargon.
It is a book suitable for both seasoned professionals and young people entering the workforce for the first time.
While it may be an easy read, Workship offers plenty of thought-provoking ideas that will stimulate self-reflection beyond the pages of the book."
Full review here.
Clive Lim, Methodist Message, Singapore:
"I frequently encounter three Christian views that undermine the essence of business. The first is the view that business and church are like oil and water, and cannot mix. The second views business as a place of overwhelming temptation and festering sins; to be avoided as much as possible. The third views business only as a front for missions in countries hostile to Christian missions, without considering the business’ essence or viability. This book highlights and clarifies what constitutes a good business and has useful references.
I enjoyed reading this warm and compassionate book about real people and real workers, and I believe it is relevant for everyone.
Thank you, Kara, for sharing with us the work of your hands."
Full review here.