The purpose of the TOW Grant Program is to encourage seminaries to teach pastors, future pastors, and teachers of pastors biblically based theology of work and its’ implications as they guide and resource their church congregants for ministry in the workplace. A biblical theology of work includes at least two critical God-given mandates for mankind:
- Creation Mandate of Genesis 1-2 to subdue or rule the earth with God
- Redemption Mandate of Matthew 28 to reconcile people and the earth to God
Current pastor education is usually focused on teaching and modeling the Redemption Mandate, which includes such things as the theology of God, an understanding of the role of the church, a working knowledge of the scriptures, and insights into a pastor’s own spiritual formation. Woven into this program pastors are taught skills such as preaching, counseling, organizational and leadership development to help them build up the church they are called to serve. Fundamentally, future pastors are taught to know their own gifts and callings, and then they are taught the skills to be a good steward of their calling. We do not in any way want to minimize the importance of this Redemptive Mandate. It is what we have been called to do.
However, the Creation Mandate, which teaches that we work for God’s glory through our various callings both outside as well as inside normal church ministry programs, is not often discussed, taught or understood by our pastors and congregations. We believe that there is a great need for pastors to learn how to steward the callings of their congregants who are in the workplace by providing increased ministry guidance for them during the other six days. Often congregants are led to believe that the work done outside the church is something they have to do for financial income and has little significance in God’s purpose and plan for them on earth. As a result, they often have little joy in their work, give less than their best effort to their work, and sometimes even separate themselves from God while in the workplace.
The study of theology of work is not new, but it is infrequently taught in our seminaries and other pastoral training places. As a result, pastors rarely teach or discuss theology of work principles within the church.
This grant was created to help institutions that are preparing pastors and church leaders to understand the purpose and importance of the Creation Mandate, and to help them prepare and resource new and practicing pastors with biblical, theological and practical tools for the workplace that can be taught by them to the people they pastor.