Andy Mills Delivers Keynote Lectures to Packed Crowd at Camp-of-the-Woods
The theology of work is a passionate topic for Andy, who founded the Theology of Work Project.
By Madison Peace '12
From July 13 to July 20, Andy Mills, who has served as The King's College Interim President since last October, was a keynote speaker at Camp-of-the-Woods, a high-end, 90-acre Christian family conference and resort center nestled in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York.
Mills started taking his family to Camp-of-the-Woods over twenty years ago and "just kept coming back, year after year," he said. Although his children are now grown, Mills has continued to be involved with the camp, where he sits on the board of directors and now takes his foster children during the summer. Last week, he was a featured speaker, along with apologists Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Dr. Andy Bannister, in a sold-out session of the camp.
Zacharias and Bannister led the camp's chapel sessions, and Mills led hour-long seminars, which he compared to college lectures, each morning to an audience ranging from college students to senior citizens. During his sessions, he focused on the theology of work, a topic which, if you've spent even five minutes with Mills, you know he cares deeply about.
Mills said he became interested in the theology of work when he "observed that in the church there was no discussion of this sort of thing." He noticed that many of the Christians he knew felt like they were "second-class citizens" in the workplace, "all hoping that God would give them a calling to a be a missionary." This kind of thinking--that Christians are only doing God's work if they are in full-time ministry--is fairly prevalent in the church, but Mills thinks it is misguided. Thus, he began to "look at Scripture through the lens of work and business" and to develop a more holistic perspective on work.
Mills's interest in the topic led him to help launch the Theology of Work Project, an organization that conducts research, provides resources, and offers "a biblical perspective on faith and work." In his Camp-of-the-Woods seminars, Mills covered many of the themes he and others have explored through the Theology of Work Project.
Since he thinks "lots of people are dissatisfied with work," Mills addressed the problem of work in his first seminar, which he broke down into four key issues: a non-holistic view of work, or separating the spiritual from the physical; the fall of work in the book of Genesis; the lack of specific passages in Scripture on work; and human selfish ambition.
In his second session, Mills spoke about God's design for work. Mills said that God has an incredible process for developing creation, that He has chosen us to be instruments of that development, and that God gives Christians the skills that match their callings.
In his third session, Mills discussed the concept of working with integrity, noting that Christians are held to a high standard of excellence and are called to serve others. He particularly emphasized that "working God's way" means developing a rhythm of work and rest, an idea that seems strange to the average "can't stop," efficiency-valuing American, but that is key to observing the Sabbath and developing a distinctly Christian work ethic.
Mills's fourth session covered the outcome and results of work, or how to use resources and networks to the glory of God. "Work is vital to human flourishing and a major avenue for evangelism," Mills said. Finally, Mills led a visionary session about how Christians can get work right, opening up a discussion on how Christians are to steward the creation that God has "entrusted" to His people.
The average employed American works 7.7 hours a day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If it's true that the average person spends one third of his time working, how a person approaches his work, and particularly how the Christian approaches his work, really matters. Work consumes a large amount of Christians' time--much more than prayer, Bible study, and church-going--so developing a theology of work only makes sense. Mills thinks that a solid theology of work will lead to an "outwardly focused, more vital" church.
"I've been very gratified by the responses we've had this week by people of all ages," Mills said. And there's no doubt that Mills left those at Camp-of-the-Woods feeling inspired, encouraged, and equipped to go back to their workplaces this week.
Madison Peace is the Assistant to the Editor at National Review. She graduated from The King's College in 2012.
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