A Vocational Mandate for Work
"Good work, done well for the right reasons and with an end in mind, has always been a sign, in most human traditions, of an inner and outer maturity. Its achievement is celebrated as an individual triumph and a gift to our societies.” David Whyte
A cultural shift: Work-Career-Calling.
There’s been a shift in Western societies: from work to career, from career to calling. If you don’t absolutely love your job, or if you don’t make a difference, it feels like you’re missing something. Earning a living is not enough. Work is there to make you happy or to give you a sense of meaning, and if it doesn’t, then you need to fix it, or even change jobs.
Our achievement culture promotes business or professional success as the most desirable and commendable virtue. The people celebrated in the media as ‘movers and shakers’ are people of outstanding professional success. Competence is no longer enough; it only gives professionals the permission to play. The prized buzz word now is ’disruptive’, symptomatic of our fascination with making an impact and ‘changing the world’, or at least trying to do so.
This is the water we all swim in.
It’s implicit in the name. Cross-Current seeks to help young Christian professionals integrate your faith and work, which sometimes requires going against the cultural currents of your workplaces. Our goal is to help and encourage graduates live with integrity while pursuing a virtuous life so you can flourish as individuals and also contribute to the greater good of your community and society.
I personally feel both privileged and humbled to take part in the work of Cross-Current. Trying to serve and encourage such smart people from across Europe and Eurasia, albeit intimidating, has been a great joy and a constant learning opportunity. The past four years have presented many occasions to learn from you and to prompt you to reflect on challenges you face as young Christian professionals living out your faith in daily life.
The working lives of young Christian professionals: What we’ve learned.
Cross-Current participants represent a generation of emerging leaders at the intersection of professional excellence, science, and thoughtful Christian faith. In our effort to nurture and inspire, we came to appreciate you for the treasure you are, for your professional and faith communities but also for society as a whole.
By the nature of your faith, advanced education, and profession, you — as a young Christian professional — inhabit an in-between space, being part of the Christian minority (your faith often restricted to the private sphere) while also being in a demanding professional career (with its pressures for cultural compliance).
Besides your intelligence, talents, excellent education and strong work ethic — which are by themselves enough to make you influential individuals, you also have a higher sense of calling, reinforced by faith and spirituality. This deeply motivates you. Rather than just viewing work as a job that pays the bills, you want it to have a greater sense of meaning.
The Cross-Current curricula starts with the theology of work. The goal is to make participants aware that work matters to God, that by your attitude you can turn your working hours and professional effort into worship. “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23). It is a great place to start, as some find it challenging to see the connection between faith and work in their specific professions. But how can we make sure we’re not simply buying into the secular liturgy of educational meritocracy and professional achievement, adding a transcendental motivational layer to it?
On 3 June, 19.30 CEST (Berlin time), our team will be presenting findings from almost four years of research and more than ten years of ministry with young professionals. “Is professional life leading us away from Christ?”
Join us to hear about young Christian professionals’ struggles, their potential, and how they can flourish.
Webcast banner by Mathias Lauter