From Secular to Sacred: Bringing Work to Church
Ecklund, Elaine Howard; Daniels, Denise; Schneider, Rachel C.
Work and faith are significant life commitments for many people. Understanding how people integrate these facets of life is important for scholars, faith leaders, and religious communities. We use data from Faith at Work: An Empirical Study, which includes a U.S. general population survey (n = 13,270) and in-depth interviews. Drawing data from a Christian sub-sample we ask: How do Christians draw on their faith community in relation to work? For those in different social locations, in what ways does talk about work come up in churches? Finally, what work-related challenges do Christians experience, and how do Christians want their churches and pastors to address them? We find that many Christians see faith as a resource for enhancing their work lives but do not often encounter discussion of work at church or talk with pastors about work, though Black congregants are nearly twice as likely as whites to hear their pastors discuss work. Further, specific groups of Christians want their pastors and churches to do more to support them in their work and/or to help them navigate faith in the workplace. They also want churches to better accommodate the needs of working people at church, so they can more fully participate.