The following flowchart comes from “Theology That Works,” a 60-page manifesto on discipleship and economic work written by Greg Forster and published by the Oikonomia Network.

Given our tendency to veer too far in either direction (stewardship or economics), and to confine our Christian duties to this or that sphere of life, the diagram is particularly helpful in demonstrating the overall interconnectedness of things.

Oikonomia flowchart, diagram, faith, work, economics

As Forster explains:

In most churches today, stewardship only means giving and volunteering at church. But in both scripture and historic Christian theology, we find a concept of stewardship that encompasses our whole lives. Stewardship is primarily about who we are, not what we do, and how we cultivate the world in all our activities. Whatever you do, Paul says in Colossians 3:23-24, work heartily, because whatever you do, you are serving the Lord Christ! Our individual discipleship, our church communities, our participation in homes and workplaces, and our witness to society at large must recover a holistic theology of stewardship and calling. We must reintegrate our model of discipleship with the call to cultivate the world.

It is no coincidence that “stewardship” comes from the same Greek word (oikonomia) as “economics,” which refers to the management of things in the world. Good stewardship is good management of things in the world.

Unfortunately, churches usually limit their concept of how we serve God (stewardship) to formally religious activities. This radically separates it from our management of the creation order (economics). A holistic theology of oikonomia would reintegrate a God-centered commitment to whole-life discipleship with a God-centered commitment to cultivate the world. Not only would this revitalize our discipleship, it would deepen our theological perspective on the crucial role of work in the Christian life, and on the enormous sphere of activities defined by work (employment, ownership, commerce, finance, entrepreneurship, etc.). It would also help us to incorporate the principles of wise creation management into our church programs, which often lack good stewardship in their finances and other economic aspects.

To read Theology That Works, download the PDF here.

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles DVD & Blu-Ray Combo Pack

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles DVD & Blu-Ray Combo Pack

For the Life of the World is an entertaining film series that explores the deeper meaning of Salvation. Have you ever wondered, “What is my Salvation actually FOR?” Is it only about personal atonement, about getting to heaven, or something that comes later? Is it just to have a “friend in Jesus?”

Join Evan Koons and his friends – Stephen Grabill, Amy Sherman, Anthony Bradley, Makoto Fujimura, John M. Perkins, Tim Royer and Dwight Gibson – as they discover a “new perspective,” the BIGGER picture of what it means to be “in the world, not of it.” This seven-part film series will help you, your friends, church or organization investigate God’s Economy of All Things – OIKONOMIA (a Greek word that has a lot to say about God’s plan for his creation, the world, and us.)

This Combo Pack includes a letter from Evan and two discs for your player of choice: DVD and Blu-ray. Enjoy seven episodes around 20 minutes each, along with episode teaser videos, a series trailer, and bonus content.

Explore how God’s purposes are woven into every area of our lives: family, work, art, charity, education, government, recreation and all creation! The Bible calls us Strangers and Pilgrims, living in "the now and not yet" of God’s Kingdom Come on earth. We are also called to be salt and light, to have a transforming presence among our neighbors. Rediscover the role of the church and how our lives lived on earth matter in God’s plan for the world.

Designed for deep exploration, the series invites viewers to watch the series again for new insights. Also, check out the companion Field Guide to jump-start group and individual investigation and enhance the film experience! FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD Field Guides are available in print or via streaming access at StudySpace.org.

$59.99

  • Phil Spomer

    This is very much like the Lutheran doctrine of Vocation. Professor Gene Veith has done a lot of good work in this area. He’s written “God at Work; Your Christian Work in All of Life” and ‘Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood.”