BY JOHN SIM

Fifty-five percent:  The percentage of time than an average American will spend on work during the waking hours in any given day.  This translates into over 90,000 hours in a lifetime!  Apart from sleep, work is the single largest activity for which we’ll spend our time. (See here for FlowingData’s mesmerizing time use data simulation on how an average day is spent).

What would it be like if we could use that 55% for the glory of God?  It might change the world!

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9-to-5 Ministry (9T5) desires to help our congregation integrate faith and work, thereby allowing us to go as disciples of Jesus into the workplace and to advance God’s kingdom through our vocational callings.  We aim to equip our congregation by teaching a faith and work theology that makes sense of how the very work itself matters to God and how God is critical to the work as well.  We also seek to form communities where individuals from similar industries can dialogue about common concerns and envision opportunities for revival within those industries.  And, as we develop in how we think and act about work, we hope that we’ll become agents of change—creating innovative ways for how we can use our work-related gifts and talents to allow for flourishing of local communities and the world.  To learn, to connect, to create—that’s 9T5’s formula for maximizing use of the 55% for God’s glory.

At our Quarterly Meeting on March 2016, 9T5 celebrated the completion of the Art Initiative—a collaboration between 9T5 and AO Creative that sought to celebrate art and the work of artists through the commissioning of four pieces on the theme “The Father’s Heart.”  Held at the Reston Community Center’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery, we tackled the question of whether art matters to God and learned that, yes, it does because He created us to be artists, just like Him!

David Park, John Huh, & Pat Moon, “The Life of a Box”

We unpacked together how God cares about artistic detail, that He cares about beauty, and how He calls artists and provides them with the talents to create good art.  A panel of Art Initiative artists provided the group with wonderful insights into their own creative and spiritual journeys in producing their works.

  • Tress Navarrete’s painting “Anchor of My Soul” conveys how the Father’s heart has “allowed [her] to know a life of pain and suffering, but also amazing healing.”
  • Sek Kim’s painting “risk it for the biscuit” shows how “His kingdom has only continued to expand through those who have chosen to believe in his unimaginable goodness saying, ‘Yes’ and ’Amen’ to His every call … As a people who have been given His sure promises, we have no choice but to leave the nest to pursue a life of wild wonder.”
  • Lisa Puckett’s painting “Family Photo” reveals the diversity of cultures and lifestyles in our area and how it is “the miracle of grace that we fit together, creating a beautiful mosaic of color that reflects the many and equally glorious facets of God.”
  • David Park, John Huh, and Pat Moon’s stop motion video “The Life of a Box” depicts how “as Christians, we are ambassadors for God to create, which can bring immense joy for all people,” and aims to show that art “can bless people’s lives and/or rekindle their relationships with Jesus.”

These four pieces are now on display in the church just outside of the fellowship hall. We invite you to come and see.  We also invite you to participate and contribute your own art to the wall by using the chalk and your creativity!

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What’s up next for 9T5?  We plan to:  refresh our emails to share timely and relevant articles and videos connecting faith and work, host a career night for the Youth Group, run a summer video series called “For the Life of the World,” launch a Business Initiative, and work towards forming industry-specific vocational groups.

If you’d like to learn more about 9T5’s efforts on integrating faith and work, receive 9T5 emails, or help out in our efforts, please let us know at 9t5odpc@gmail.com.

Interesting Tidbits of Information & Resources:

  • 9T5 launched on October 1, 2013—day one of a federal government shutdown—by hosting a timely free luncheon for those who were impacted by an absence of work.
  • Video: Tim Keller on “Why Work Matters”:
    • “Work matters to God, and God matters to work.” – Tim Keller
  • Some art-related quotes from Francis Schaefer:
    • “All people are to some degree creative. Creativity is intrinsic to our mannishness.”
    • “Art is not something we merely analyze or value for its intellectual content. It is something to be enjoyed.”
    • “As evangelical Christians we have tended to relegate art to the very fringe of life. The rest of human life we feel is more important.  Despite our constant talk about the lordship of Christ, we have narrowed its scope to a very small area of reality.”

John Sim is a deacon of ODPC’s 9 to 5: Work and Faith ministry. Special thanks to Lisa Puckett, Sunghee Bae, Eunice Lee, and James Kim for their efforts in creating the space for the Art Initiative.

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