Church For Monday: Equipping Believers For Mission At Work, by Dr. Svetlana Papazov
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookCrash. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Throughout this book the author talks about the way that Christians have ceased to be an example for many people and ceased to have a voice in a great many of the social and political and cultural issues that this country faces. There are at least two things missing from those frequent comments, though, and they nagged at me as I read this book. For one, the author does not discuss the context in which mainstream Christian voices lost or abdicated speaking about public issues, most notably in a climate where biblical answers to social problems became viewed as hate speech in many countries and where people stopped wanting to hear messages to repent and change but rather wanted to have people tell them that what they were doing and how they were living was acceptable in God’s eyes when it was not. The second thing, related to the first, is that the author is awfully nonspecific about what sort of answers the Bible provides that would be a part of one’s mission at work and in one’s usual life. The author clearly has some sort of social gospel in mind, but the book is remarkably light when it comes to discussing the sort of biblical positions that come from the law and prophets and the example of the apostles.
This book is about 200 pages long and is divided into three parts and ten chapters. The book begins with a foreword by Christopher Benek, a noted transhumanist. After that the author provides a definition of terms and acknowledgements. The first part of the book gives a reorientation to the reader of the goals of evangelizing through one’s work life (I), with chapters on getting a vision for this sort of personal evangelism (1), discussing what a church for Monday is (2), and charting a path forward for the reader (3). After that the author discusses the relationship between culture and the contemporary church (II), with chapters on the context, content, and consequences of a postmodern, post-Christian, and post-truth society (4), a discussion of the spiritual currents present in contemporary Western culture (5), a look at the author’s view of a relevant contemporary mission (6) that is outside of church walls (7) and that invests in widespread cultural transformation (8). Finally, the author discusses the application of this approach to serving as a missionary in one’s work and personal life (III) with chapters on measuring success (9) as well as recovering relevance based on what contemporary thinkers say (10), after which there is a discussion on commissioning, an afteword by Mark DeYmaz, notes, some information about the author, and some last minute actions the author wants the reader to take.
That is not to say that this is a bad book. The author is surely right to argue that believers should have a mission to live their lives in such a way that their work and personal life becomes an evangelistic message, albeit not a showy one. Some of us could stand to do a lot better at making our lives a fit model for others to imitate and to lead others into a respect for God’s ways. That said, the author is not being entirely candid by only urging this and not reminding the reader (although such a reminder is necessary) that if we do preach and live a way that is godly not everyone is going to be happy to see it or hear it, and that it may be obnoxious to a great many people. If we live godly lives, people will respond to us the way that they would have to Jesus Christ, and that has always involved both respect and honor for ways, even where they were too challenging for others to want to imitate them, as well as open and intense hostility for being reminded that they are not in fact the sort of good people that they wish to be seen as. A mission at work, or any other place, that is a genuine biblical one is going to cause problems and will lead people to suffer loss and even martyrdom. How many people are ready to bring that on themselves in a world as wicked and self-deceived as our own?