BY JAMES KIM
It’s such a poignant scene–one that we all love and remember. It’s that most-classic and most-masterful of moments among the many indelible final scenes in all of cinematic history. It’s no surprise why this scene resonates so much with all of us, and why, at some subconscious human level, we are able to identify with these characters and the question that is broached at the finale of the film. It stirs in us something really deep, something yearning to be discovered. Naturally, we’re all thinking about the same film: Finding Nemo. As you’ll recall, the final scene of the movie shows the indomitable Tank Gang finally overcome their aquarium prison and realize the freedom that they have worked so hard to achieve. And when they finally arrive at the Promised Land, Bloat, the ever-wise pufferfish, turns to the others and asks: “Now what?”
It’s a question so fundamental that seasoned Christians may never have really thought too much about it, or perhaps not thought enough about. Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior…now what? What are we supposed to do with our salvation? Is our Christian life supposed to be about behavior control, sin management, and to live the rest of our days as a “good person”? Are we simply supposed to evangelize constantly to bring new people to Christ so that they can then, in turn, go out and bring new people to Christ so that they, too, can go out and do the same? And supposed everyone becomes saved…now what?
Over the summer, a small group of us went through a seven-week video series called For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles that attempts to answer some of these questions. Each video was about 20 minutes in length, so exhaustive commentary wasn’t possible; but, at the very least, it gave us an opportunity to explore these questions and ideas.
The answer the video series offers to the question of “What is our salvation for?” is in its title: our salvation is for the life of the world.
The series began by introducing the viewers with an understanding that we as Christians are living in exile–that we are strangers and aliens, yet purposefully here. And, if that’s the case, the series then asks how that perspective should inform the various spheres of our lives, such as work, family, government, art, education, charity, etc. The series ends with the sphere of the church and its role in being the body of Christ given as a gift for the life of the world.
Each video episode was followed up with a lively discussion about the topic presented, mixed in with personal stories, criticisms, and teachings. For example, we had one participant who was recently baptized and was seeking an answer to the very question of what now to do with her salvation. Other discussions delved into the purpose of work, the difference between knowledge and wisdom, and, admittedly, the shortcomings of the series when it came to love and family. So despite the somewhat foreboding mise-en-scène presented by the trailer, the content itself was quite profound for both lifelong Christians who may not have ever asked such fundamental questions, and for new Christians looking to live out their lives according to God’s design for their salvation.
At this point of the article you might be wondering why 9-to-5 Ministry (9T5), Open Door’s Faith and Work ministry, was the one that presented this video series. After all, work was but one part of the 7-episode series. The answer lies in the fact that to fully understand our work in the context of God’s greater vision, we must first understand what God’s greater vision is for all reality, which includes work. It is by expanding, not changing or substituting, our understanding of the Gospel that we begin to understand how our work and vocational calling fits in with our role in renewing culture and flourishing the earth. It is something that we as a ministry are still in the early stages of understanding and applying, but it is a journey rife with excitement!
So what’s coming up for 9T5?
- Happy Anniversary! On October 1, we celebrated our 3rd anniversary. We are thankful for the journey we have been on thus far and continue to remain excited about the future.
- F&W Small Group. 9T5 is hosting a Wednesday night small group that will dig into the theology of integrating our faith and work. If you are interested in growing in this area, we welcome you to join!
- Curated Resources. We will commence regular email blasts with curated articles, videos, and other resources that lie at the intersection of faith and work.
- Vocational Groups. We plan to form Vocational Groups so that people within a common industry can get together to share challenges and triumphs in their respective vocations.
- Entrepreneurship Initiative. Similar to the Art Initiative we launched last year, we will be launching an entrepreneurship initiative that highlights God’s work in business sphere.
- Business Directory. Do you own your own small business? We will be creating an ODPC business directory as a resource for the church. If you would like to be included, please let us know.
- Ministry Collaboration. We desire 9T5 to be supportive of other ministries at ODPC. For example, we will be partnering with Love Herndon for a community outreach focusing on jobs–to provide resume reviews, interviewing tips, and career guidance–a way for ODPC to use our talents to impact our local community.
As always, we invite you to join us in our journey of integrating faith and work. For more information or to receive our emails, contact us at 9T5odpc@gmail.com.
James Kim is one of the deacons for ODPC’s 9 to 5: Work and Faith ministry.