Why You Should Talk About Labor Day At Your Church


If you lead a church, you’re used to making time in your services to speak into various national and cultural holidays. Beyond the major Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, many of us in the United States recognize and celebrate holidays like Memorial Day, MLK day, or the 4th of July.

One holiday that seems to fly under the radar in most churches is Labor Day. Frequently this is treated as a good week for the senior pastor to take a Sunday off before your fall series kicks off. Given the long weekend and often lower attendance, this makes sense – however, even with a guest speaker, it’s a great opportunity to let your congregation know how important and even sacred their every day work is.

Understanding calling

If you’re working in vocational ministry, you’ve probably referred to your job as a calling, or told your “ministry origin story”. These are meaningful and important stories to tell, but how often do we champion stories of those who follow Christ in their “secular” jobs? And when we do talk about folks’ nine to five jobs, are we encouraging them to be the best they can be in those roles or are we focusing solely on treating their workplace as a mission field. To be sure, as Christ followers, we should see our daily lives as opportunities to share the love and grace of Jesus, but all too often, messages about work begin and end with sharing your faith in the workplace.

Before there was anyone to evangelize, God put Adam in the garden of Eden and put him to work, and his work mattered. Still today, God wires everyone uniquely and equips us to impact our communities and world through our work. Whether you’re a financial advisor, a medical professional, a retail employee, or a construction worker, how you do your work matters to the world around you, and ultimately to God. Let’s start teaching our congregations that God calls all of us to kingdom builders in all the mundane parts of our lives.

Creativity is sacred

We’re created for creativity – it’s one of the ways that God has imbued us with his image. We love to narrow the definition of creativity to the arts and aesthetics, but even those who don’t consider themselves “artistic” still have so many opportunities to express creativity in their work. A customer service representative has countless opportunities to solve problems in fresh and inventive ways. If you manage data and stare at spreadsheets all day, there are opportunities to rethink systems and processes to make them more precise and efficient.

As ministry leaders, we obviously can’t know what each of our congregants’ jobs are like, but we can speak to and challenge them to find the ways in which they can bring their creative energy to their work.

Secular is not secondary

Countless times, I’ve heard pastors and preachers refer to their own calling and life decisions by pitting secular work against vocational ministry. “I could have built houses, but instead I chose to build the kingdom” sounds nice and snappy in a sermon, but whether you realize it or not, can be alienating to much of your church. God may have called you to a career of ministry, but that doesn’t make your choice to follow him better or more noble than any of your church members who work in non-religious industries.

Christ has not called us to simply sit around and wait for his return. What we do in the meantime matters. How we work to create a better world here and now is important to our God. Someday Jesus will return, and all will be made right in the world, but in the waiting, we should be doing everything we can to bring God’s love, grace, and beauty into every aspect of life. Including our work.

Josh Tarp, Author

About the Author

Josh Tarp is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and worship leader from Minneapolis with over 15 years of experience in church & worship leadership. Josh serves as the Director of Marketing at Motion Worship, helping to write various blog posts, managing social media, designing graphics, and handling customer service.

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