A three-day research conference in Sydney this July will consider the issues of how Christian faith impacts on everyday work. It is the first time such issues have been considered so intensively in Australia, and one of a handful of such conferences in the world.
“We are excited at this opportunity of bringing together theologians, thoughtful work practitioners and church leaders to consider issues of vocation, work, and equipping workplace Christians,” explained conference organiser Andrew Sloane from Morling College.
More than 35 papers will be presented at the conference canvassing issues as diverse as rest, leisure, what churches are doing to integrate faith and work, ethics, the role of the Holy Spirit in our working, leadership and the future of work.
“We are thrilled that we have at least one teacher, nurse, pastor, youth worker, economist, lecturer, parachurch worker, communication specialist, statistician, climate scientist and IT worker presenting on issues relevant to their vocations,” said Dr Sloane. “The breadth is really pleasing. For some, this will be the first time they have reflected so deeply on their own work, and for those coming along it promises to be really stimulating, perhaps even revelatory.”
The keynote speaker will be Mark Greene from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity. “Mark has been at the forefront of getting Christians to reflect thoughtfully on their work for more than 20 years,” said Dr Sloane. “His books include Thank God It’s Monday, Supporting Christians at Work, Pocket Prayers for Work, and Fruitfulness on the Frontline.
“Many have been trying for years to bring him to Australia, and it will mark a strategic moment in the local development of the faith and work movement.”
The conference will be held at Morling College which teaches courses in theology, counselling, chaplaincy and education. “We recognise that 50% of students studying theology in Australia are not doing so for paid church or parachurch roles. We need to ensure we are preparing them for their everyday work and other frontlines,” said Dr Sloane.
Lindsay McMillan will be presenting his research on the rapidly changes impacting on the workplace. His organisation, Reventure is also a sponsor of the conference. “We have been offering scholarships to theology lecturers for three years to raise the profile of faith and work issues, and this conference is the result of that momentum. We are delighted that this conference is taking shape, along with Mark Greene’s involvement.”
One of the highlights of the conference will be the opportunity to do some cultural exegesis, led by Karina Kreminski, author of Urban Spirituality, who describes herself as an explorer, shalom builder and inner-city dweller.
“I’ll be taking conference participants on an 'exegetical walk' in one of the Macquarie precincts to help people understand the way the built environment impacts their understanding and experience of work,” she explained.
Another feature will be the multi-denominational nature of the conference. “We have presenters from all the major consortia of theological colleges in Australia, including the University of Divinity and the Australian College of Theology, as well as major national colleges including Alphacrucis. Many denominations will be represented on stage,” said Dr Sloane.
The conference will be held from 4–6 July at Morling College. For more information and to register, click on https://www.morling.edu.au/events/transforming-vocation/
About Mark Greene
Mark joined the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity as Executive Director in 1999, and in 20 years has spoken on all God’s people empowered to live their whole lives in fruitful relationship with Christ in the UK, continental Europe and the US. His published work includes Thank God It’s Monday, Supporting Christians at Work, Pocket Prayers for Work, and Fruitfulness on the Frontline. Most recently, Mark has written The one about…, a collection of true stories about God at work in our everyday lives. Mark has degrees in Hebrew from Cambridge, Theology from London School of Theology, and Communications and Media from Edinburgh (he worked as an Advertising Executive for ten years). He was formerly Vice Principal at LST.