Article Information

Dion Forster1

1Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Correspondence to:
Dion Forster

Postal address:
Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa

Received: 15 Sept. 2013
Accepted: 30 June 2014
Published: 21 Nov. 2014

How to cite this article:
Forster, D., 2014, ‘Called to work: A descriptive analysis of Call42’s research on faith and work in South Africa’, Koers – Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 79(2), Art. #2143, 9 pages.

Copyright Notice:
© 2014. The Authors. Licensee: AOSIS OpenJournals.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Called to work: A descriptive analysis of Call42’s research on faith and work in South Africa
In This Original Research...
Open Access
Call42 – revealing vocational truth
Call42 survey results
Some implications that arise from the Call42 survey results
   • Calling
   • A flawed theology that upholds dualism between faith and work life
   • Pastoral needs
   • Expressions of faith and work
   • Competing interests

Very little empirical research has been conducted into faith and work, particularly as it relates to the experience and expectations of Christians in the world of work in South Africa. This article discusses the most recent research of this kind that was conducted by Call42. Call42 conducted an empirical research project on faith, calling, and the world of work between 2011 and 2012. The findings were released to the public after July 2012. Not only is this the most up to date data on this subject at present; the research findings and research process are also worthy of academic consideration. The Call42 research was initiated and commissioned by a group of young Christian professionals (mainly engineers) and as such it brings a perspective on faith and work from within the primary context of the world of work, rather than the theological academy or the church. The findings of the research have implications for the church and its officers (priests, pastors and leaders). It also arrives at some conclusions for Christians in the world of work, students who are contemplating a vocation or career path, and companies and organisations that have an explicit or implicit Christian orientation.


Geroep tot die werk: ’n Beskrywende analise van Call42 se navorsing oor geloof en werk in Suid-Afrika. Daar is baie min empiriese navorsing gedoen oor die geloof en werk, veral as dit verband hou met die ervaring en verwagtinge van die Christene in die ‘wêreld van werk’ in Suid-Afrika. Hierdie artikel bespreek die mees onlangse navorsing van hierdie aard wat uitgevoer is deur Call42. Call42 het gedurende 2011 en 2012 ’n empiriese navorsingsprojek oor geloof, roeping en die wêreld van werk uitgevoer. Die bevindinge is ná Julie 2012 aan die publiek bekendgestel. Dit is tans die mees onlangse inligting wat oor hierdie onderwerp beskikbaar is; ook die bevindinge en navorsingsproses self is verdere akademiese oorweging werd. Die Call42 navorsing is geïnisieer deur ’n groep jong Christen professionele mense (hoofsaaklik ingenieurs) en as sodanig bring dit ’n perspektief op die geloof en die werk van binne die primêre konteks van die wêreld van werk, eerder as vanuit die konteks van die teologie of die kerk. Die bevindinge van die navorsing het implikasies vir die kerk en kerklike beamptes (priesters, pastore en leiers). Die gevolgtrekkings het ook implikasies vir Christene in die wêreld van werk, studente wat dit oorweeg om 'n beroep of loopbaan buite die pastorale bediening op te neem, en maatskappye en organisasies wat 'n eksplisiete of implisiete Christelike oriëntasie het.


Do Christians in the world of work1 have a role to play in South African society? This article argues that they do have a significant role to play. However, the statistics that are presented in this article show that to a large measure Christians in the world of work are not adequately supported or equipped in their faith and calling to discern and enact the will of God in the world.

South African Christianity has seen a rise in movements and ministries that focus on supporting Christians in the world of work in recent decades. In large measure this renewal of interest has stemmed from the marketplace ministry and holistic discipleship movements that have grown in influence in the United States of America. These movements have largely come from among the evangelical churches, where there has been a strong emphasis on Christian witness, evangelism and discipleship in all spheres of life. The Lausanne II Manila Manifesto (1989) affirmed that:

… lay witness takes place, by women and men, not only through the local church ..., but through friendships, in the home and at work .... Our first responsibility is to witness to those who are already our friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues. (n.p.)

Parachurch movements and ministries such as Unashamedly Ethical (, Alpha in the workplace (, HalfTime ( and the more traditional Arbeidsbediening ( have grown in popularity and influence among Christians in South Africa.2 The rapid growth and social prominence of these movements in the past decade has shown that there is at least anecdotal evidence that Christians in South Africa are seeking guidance, support and information to sustain and deepen their faith in the world of work.

The question, however, is what is it that Christians in the world of work are seeking? What are their major needs and questions? Does the church offer what Christians in the world of work identify as their spiritual needs? This article will attempt to offer some insight into these questions.

A group called Call42 conducted the most recent research on faith and work in South Africa. This article will introduce Call42, give an overview of their research method and findings, and then suggest some conclusions and implications that result from the findings of the research.

Call42 – revealing vocational truth

The Call42 initiative was launched in 2011 by a group of Christian business professionals (mainly engineers from Stellenbosch, South Africa). The movement’s webpage offers a clear insight into their theological perspectives on faith and work, as well as their perception on the role of the Christian in the world of work:

God’s ultimate plan is to redeem all parts of creation back to Him [sic]. This includes hearts, minds, culture, nature, environment, government, law, media, craft, relationships, education etc. God has not called us out of the workplace, but he has specifically planted us in the workplace for a definite reason. It’s important that the body of Christ understand [sic] that we are called to fill every position that exists; teachers, principals, political positions, industries…every business that exist … with a mission to manifest the Kingdom of God. (Call42 n.d.[a])

The principal reason for the formation of Call42 was to conduct research on faith and work in South Africa by means of a national survey. The survey was designed to ‘help identify what obstacles Christians are facing in terms of living out God’s call at work. The feedback is intended for all interested parties who need more information on this significant topic’ (Call42 n.d.[a]).

Call42 is motivated by a firm belief that God is revealing His will to people in the world of work (business), and that it is God’s desire to use the spheres of ‘business and skilled labour to extend His Kingdom’ (Call42 n.d.[a]). The Call42 web page states that many Christians seem to be struggling to bridge the gap between their faith life (which is centred on the local congregation) and their work life: ‘Sunday’s sermon seems to not really have relevance in Monday’s meeting … Call42 aims to help bridge this gap’ (Call42 n.d.[a]).

As has been stated previously, Call42 made use of a national survey to gather data on expectations among Christians in the world of work, as well as movements, ministries and programmes that exist to support and guide them in their work. The survey was aimed at Christians who are currently employed, students who are starting a career, and ministers, pastors, movements and resources that have the stated aim of supporting Christians in the world of work (Call42 n.d.[b]). The executive summary states the following as the goals of the survey. To identify:

• To what extent Christians are already exposed to workplace-orientated ministry (also known as marketplace ministry);
• Christians’ understanding of ‘calling’;
• What hinders Christians from living their calling at work;
• Marketplace ministry initiatives and projects that are already running successfully;
• The need in the market (which marketplace ministries and resources are already available 
and which ones not);
• Whether Christians experience a need to become more involved in marketplace ministry (Call42 2012b:1).

The Call42 project had three phases. Phase 1 was the inception and launch phase (January 2011–July 2011). During this period the Call42 team was constituted, the research method was agreed upon, the research questions were designed and the survey itself was written. This phase culminated in a public launch in June 2011. Phase 2 of the project was the survey distribution and the collection of survey results. The survey was released to the public and submissions were solicited from August 2011 to June 2012 when the survey was concluded. Phase 3 consisted of an analysis of the results during the months June and July of 2012, after which the results were made public through a number of reports aimed at specific audiences.

The Call42 (2012a) demographic report indicates that approximately 1300 individuals completed the survey. The following diagram shows the sectors of society from which responses were received.

FIGURE 1: Number of respondents per market segment

Of the respondents, 47% were female and 53% male. When one considers Figure 1 (market segment), then the age distribution is not surprising since students and people in first-time employment will tend to be younger.

FIGURE 2: Age distribution of respondents surveyed.

It is also worth noting that the Call42 team operated from Stellenbosch (Cape Town, South Africa) and therefore had a strong set of existing relationships, which accounts for the fact that a large number of respondents to the survey come from the Western Cape, South Africa. This fact will need to be kept in mind when considering the national statistics.

FIGURE 3: Number of respondents per province.

Thus, one can conclude from the research intention and the demographics of the respondents that the results of this survey are valuable, yet they are somewhat limited, owing to three factors. Firstly, the target audience was deliberately limited to employed persons, ministry leaders and students. Secondly, the majority of respondents were from the Western Cape and, thirdly, the age distribution is skewed towards a younger demographic (between the ages of 21 and 30). The survey results did not supply any information on the race of the respondents.

Call42 survey results

Once the survey had been completed, the results were collated and the Call42 team reached some conclusions. The feedback from the survey led the Call42 team to draw the following broad conclusions:

• Christians in South Africa are struggling to find significant meaning and purpose in their work.
• There is a hunger for a deeper focus on God and the principles of God’s Kingdom in every aspect of life.
• It appears that churches struggle to adequately envision, equip and support Christians in the world of work. There is not sufficient training and support for business leaders and employees.
• A professional career matters to God and is useful for the purpose of advancing God’s Kingdom in society (Call42 2012b:1–2).

We shall consider these conclusions by looking at the data that Call42 used to inform their outcomes (Call42 2012b, 2013a, 2013b, 2013c).

FIGURE 4: ’I know that Christ has a purpose or calling for my life’ / ‘I understand how to align this purpose or calling with my daily career’.

The graph in Figure 4 shows that the majority of Christians believe that God does have a purpose, or calling, for their lives. However, it also shows that far fewer Christians understand how to align their career with their calling.

The question that one could ask is what the respondents consider the purpose of work to be, and whether there is agreement between Christians in the world of work and ministry leaders such as pastors on the notion of calling in the workplace?

FIGURE 5: In your opinion, what is God’s plan for the work environment?

The results extrapolated from the research and represented as a normalised ratio in Figure 5 show that the majority of respondents in full-time ministry (pastors and ministers) believe that God’s plan for Christians in the work environment is to ‘Transform business practices’ (Call42 2013a:3). Figure 6, which shows normalised ratio results from respondents who are Christians in the world of work, shows a very different set of priorities for their work life.

FIGURE 6: In terms of ministry, what is currently God’s core focus in the work environment?

Whereas those in full-time ministry seem to regard the calling of the Christian in the world of work to relate to transformation of systems and structures, evangelism and spirituality (expressing God’s worth through diligence in work, ethics, and sound business practices), Christians in the world of work prioritise proclamation (teaching and changing mindsets), spirituality (awareness of God) and place evangelism last (reaching out to people).

Whilst the data shows that Christians, and ministers, are conscious of the concept of calling and vocation in the world of work, the data also shows that Christians struggle to connect their daily work life and their faith.

FIGURE 7: Give a reason why Christians are not purposefully living a calling in their career or work.

Figure 7 shows that most respondents believe that a lack of understanding of the concept of calling to vocation, or calling to ministry in the world of work, is the primary reason why Christians do not discover and live out their calling in the world of work. Second to this is fear, followed by ‘worldly distractions and desires’ (greed, personal ambition, etc.) and finally an impoverished spirituality.

An area of some concern is the perception among Christians in the world of work that full-time ministers are not adequately equipped to serve their members in the world of work.

FIGURE 8: In general, church leaders are being equipped to serve the workplace.

This is somewhat concerning when one considers that the respondents believe that they get most of their teaching about their role as Christians in the world of work from ministry leaders and the church (see Figure 9). This should serve as a signal to seminaries, Theology faculties and Bible colleges that ministers require more training to adequately support their members in the world of work.

FIGURE 9: Where do you hear most about the role of Christians in the workplace?

The research showed that dualism between faith and work life, a lack of role models and success stories, and insufficient materials and resources, were among the major reasons why Christians would struggle to live out their calling in the world of work.

FIGURE 10: Why do you think Christians still struggle to live purposefully in their careers, despite active workplace ministry?

Some implications that arise from the Call42 survey results

In reading the reports, and looking at the detailed Call42 survey results, a number of factors come to the fore. The two primary areas of concern that were raised were a focus on Christian calling and a flawed theology that upholds (and even accentuates) dualism between faith and work life (Call42 2013b:6).

What is clear from the results is that both Christians working in the world of work and full-time ministry leaders believe that God has a purpose and will for people at work, and for work itself. From a broad range of literature in contemporary scholarship and popular Christianity this seems to be a finding that can be substantiated. The Yale-based theologian, Miroslav Volf, has devoted much of his scholarship and research to issues of faith and public life. He is the founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, and has published extensively in this field – most recently his book A public faith: How followers of Christ should serve the common good (Volf 2011).

Timothy Keller, one of the best known theologians and ministers in contemporary Western Protestantism, has just released a book with his colleague Katherine Leary-Alsdorf which focuses extensively on the notion of work as a calling (Every good endeavor: Connecting your work to God’s work, Keller & Leary-Alsdorf 2012).

There are also many more accessible sources such as Doug Spada and Dave Scott’s book Monday morning atheist: Why we turn off God at work (Spada & Scott 2011), and the South African businessman, Graham Power’s book Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling (Forster & Power 2011).

This focus on ‘calling’ or ‘vocation’ seems appropriate in light of the survey results and the literature. The Latin word vocare means to call, it is the root of the English word ‘vocation’. Keller and Leary-Alsdorf (2012) write concerning the concept of vocation:

Today the word often means simply a job, but that was not the original sense. A job is a vocation only if someone else calls you to do it and you do it for them rather than for yourself. And so our work can be a calling only if it is reimagined as a mission of service to something beyond merely our own interests. (p. 19)

Most persons will spend the majority of their waking hours in the work environment. This is also the place in which they are likely to face their greatest level of stress and temptation, and also have the greatest opportunity to exercise their gifts, give expression to their abilities, and make a positive contribution towards God’s will for the world. Thus, it would be of great value for the ministers and churches to guide their members in discovering their calling and relating it to their chosen, or assigned, vocation.

A flawed theology that upholds dualism between faith and work life
A second major area of paucity that was identified by the survey is good theology on faith and work. In particular the survey identified that a theology that upholds a dualistic view of faith and work still dominated the teaching of the church. This flawed theology is a major hindrance to Christians discovering and living out their calling in the world of work (Call42 2013b:6). Christians in the world of work expressed a need, and an expectation for, theological formation, pastoral support and inspiration (‘role models and success stories’) that will aid them in discovering and living out their calling in the world of work (Call42 2013b:2, 6).

The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, which has a major focus on developing theology and equipping church and ministry leaders for serving their members in the world of work, has identified this theological paucity as one of the major failings of the church in relation to God’s will for Christians in the world of work. Greene devotes a chapter in his book to describing ‘How the workplace was lost’ (Greene 2001:ch. 2). He highlights five specific points, and one overarching failing, that have led to a dualism between faith and work. This has had the effect of separating faith and work, leaving Christians in the world of work under-supported and ill equipped for their vocation, and impoverishing the theology, worship and life of the congregation (even the church).

The first point he highlights is that there is a flawed theology on the status of a minister. Because ministers ‘run’ churches, they often create the impression that their work is more important to God than the work of the church’s members. The impression is created that pastors and missionaries do holy work, whilst doctors, teachers, and builders to ‘profane’ work (Greene 2001:9).

Second he points out that there is a flawed theology of the role of the minister. Increasingly, in the West, the minister has been seen to enlist the assistance of the laity in executing and staffing the ministry of the congregation, rather than to equipping the laity for works of ministry and service where they may be. The question that needs to be asked is not ‘What can this person do in Church’, but ‘How could this person be equipped to be of service to God’s will in the world?’ (Greene 2001:9).

Thirdly, he points out that we have fallen prey to a false ecclesiology (Greene 2001:10). The emphasis of most contemporary churches is on the church gathered to the exclusion of an understanding that the church remains the church even when it scatters. In other words, Monday is as important as Sunday – the ministry of the church should continue in the workplaces and homes of its members and should not only be confined to the location of the church building and the formal times of gathering for worship and teaching set aside by the congregation (Please see the following article for a broader discussion of Smit’s three forms of church: Philander 2011:77; please see the following article for a thorough theological discussion of the three ‘forms’ of church referred to in this article: Smit 2007:63–68). Of course our obsession with buildings, and our focus on performance and entertainment in worship services has led us to develop an attractional model of church, rather than a missional model of church.

Fourthly, Greene points out that we have succumbed to a false theology of creation and money. Many people who create wealth have a perception that the church is deeply suspicious of wealth creation and judgemental of those who pursue it. Of course the pursuit of money as a primary aim in life can be devastating to individuals and communities, and Greene concedes that such a focus is not in keeping with God’s will for the Christian (Greene 2001:10–11). However, as Christians we cannot deny that God created the world and has given each of us a role to play in it. Some are called to preach, others are called to build, or serve, or create. The respondents to the survey, and the majority of literature that was studied in this area agree that we give glory to our Creator when we use our talents, abilities, passions and intellect in service of God’s Kingdom and humanity (Costa 2007:17–27; Forster & Power 2011:chap. 3; Greene 2010:17–23; 2001:4–8; Hillman 2011:7–40, 2005:chap. 2; Johnson 2011:113–139; Keller & Leary-Alsdorf 2012: pt. 1; Silvoso 2006:104–121; 2007:chap. 2; Spada & Scott 2011:20–41; Call42 2012b:4–7; Van der Merwe et al. 2010:chap. 8). The overarching theme that comes to the fore in this survey of the literature is that work is not a curse, in fact it is given by God as a gift through which humans can participate in the mission Dei by transforming society in its various spheres. Moreover, work allows the Christian to give expression to the abilities, talents, and gifts God has placed within each person. Work also fosters the dignity of providing for the material and social needs of the individual and his or her family. As such, we need to be careful that we do not enforce the dualism that assumes that work is evil, a burden to be avoided and of no spiritual value. Work can be a gift and an expression of God’s image within us.

Fifthly, we have a flawed approach to mission (Greene 2001:11). The contemporary protestant and evangelical churches have focussed on evangelism and church growth, often to the exclusion of other forms of mission (such as social and economic transformation, engagement with social policy, transforming education etc.). The laity have many wonderful opportunities to transform structures (such as social, political and economic systems) which are sometimes the primary causes of suffering and sin in the world.

Greene suggests that the overarching failing of contemporary Christianity has been that it has enforced a ‘great divide’, it has placed a division between the sacred and secular, between pastors and laity, between sacred spaces and profane spaces, between sacred times and profane times (Greene 2010:5–16, 2001:11).

Pastoral needs
In addition to these two primary theological focus points, the survey also pointed out that Christians working in the world of work had some practical and pastoral needs (Call42 2012b:4–6).

These included the need for a deepened spirituality (prayer, creating an on-going awareness of God’s presence during the work week, reflective spiritual practices), guidance (biblical teaching, practical resources related to Christian ethics, discernment of the will of God, theology of work), pastoral support (coping with fear, bridging the gap between faith and work), holistic mission (evangelism, practical social engagement in the transformation of oppressive and unjust systems, acts of service and mercy), worship in the world of work (liturgical materials, creative expressions of Christian worship that suit the time pressures and location of Christians in the world of work, devotional aids) (Call42 2013b:2–3).

Expressions of faith and work
A final area of interest in the survey is the various understandings of expressions of faith and work in the lives of individuals, communities and movements. The survey was targeted at various communities related to faith in the world of work (Call42 2012a:2–4). Obviously the survey was sent to Christians working in the world of work. It was also sent to Christians who own or lead companies and businesses that define themselves as overtly Christian in character, or are significantly shaped by Christian values and principles. The next two groups that were surveyed have some direct bearing on this section of the research; namely, leaders of churches and ministries, and leadership of marketplace (faith and work) movements or ministries (Call42 2012a:1, 3).

Four predominant areas of focus emerged from the targeted results of the survey to this last group of respondents. It was found that ministries and groups that work specifically among Christians in the world of work tend to have a predominant focus in one of the following areas, spirituality and support, evangelism and mission, social transformation, ethics and morals. No doubt there are many more areas that could be considered through a thorough study of the literature and further empirical research. However, within the scope of this article I will only focus on these four.

Spirituality and support: What is clear from the research is that not every Christian experiences peace, joy, fulfilment and blessing from their work. Many Christians are not doing their ideal job. In fact the majority of persons work not for reasons of personal or spiritual fulfilment, but in order to earn an income to support themselves and their dependents. In surveying the literature related to faith at work movements it was clear to see that many of the more prominent authors in this field focus their energy and attention on top business leaders. Christians working at the top of their field will require a different kind of support (moral guidance, deepened spirituality, work and life balance) from Christians who are working in jobs that are not meaningful, life giving, or an expression of their passion and gifts. Volf (2005:391) comments on this: ‘if we think of the purpose of our work as simply attending to ourselves and our needs, we enter what some people describe as the squirrel cage of dissatisfaction’.

Of course, as Russell (2010:chap. 1) shows, discernment and deepening of faith and meaning in work is a common struggle for persons working at every level of society. Whilst the struggles may differ, the needs and concerns have a similar spiritual and emotional foundation. We all have a longing for meaning, a need to make a contribution to society, and the purpose of honouring God through discovering and living out God’s purpose in our lives (Forster & Power 2011:47–78, 157–168; Greene 2001:4–9; Hillman 2011:56–62, 73–85; Keller & Leary-Alsdorf 2012:sec. 1).

Evangelism and mission (to individuals and structures): A second area of focus among those who minister to Christians in the world of work is evangelism and mission. The range of theological and missiological perspectives is as broad at the Christian faith itself. Some approaches see the world of work as a primary target of Christian mission through various means, and emphasises to some measure that the responsibility of the Christian is to evangelise people (Forster & Power 2011:127–142; Silvoso 2006:71–85; 2000) and systems (Costa 2007:17–48; Hillman 2011:1–6; Silvoso 2007:73–80, 121–148; Volf 2011, 2005:386–390) for the sake of building God’s Kingdom in the world. The church has a critical role in developing a constructive theology that expresses the clear desire that God has a will for the systems and the people of the world. This leads us to the next focus of ministries in the world of work.

Social transformation: A number of movements and ministries exist with the express purpose of inspiring and equipping Christians to use their talents, social influence, knowledge and skill to transform the systems and structures that shape society. The theological foundation of these approaches is that God has a will that touches on every sphere of society (economics, politics, education, the arts, as well as the church, and a host of others (Johnson 2011:21–60). Christians are present in just about every sphere of society (even those that cause a great deal of suffering and harm). If one were able to shape the theology, moral compass and values of individuals and groups of Christians, the net effect should be a transformation of the structures and systems of society for the good of humanity and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Silvoso expresses this view most succinctly when he writes, ‘God has ordained that we, His church, be His instruments to transform the entire world’ (Silvoso 2007:149)

Ethics and morals: A final area of focus that the survey highlighted was ministries and groups that focus on the formation of Christian ethics, values and morals (Call42 2013b:3). It is not surprising that ethics and morals should be an area of focus. The world of work presents the Christian individual with many temptations (greed, power, sex, etc.), in addition the systems that structure the world of work are extremely coercive and powerful and require a strong moral compass to inform and develop values that reflect the principles of the Kingdom of God as expressed in the scriptures. Graham Power, a prominent Christian businessman and the founder of Unashamedly Ethical, devotes the final chapter of the book Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling to focusing on ‘values, ethics and clean living’ (Forster & Power 2011:chap. 12). Ken Costa, the chairperson of Lazard International, one of the world’s leading financial institutions, devotes two chapters of his book God at work to issues of Christian ethics in relation to wealth, greed and choices in business (Costa 2007:chaps. 3, 4, 8). Similarly, Keller and Leary-Alsdorf devote three chapters to moral and ethical issues related to being a Christian in the world of work (Keller & Leary-Alsdorf 2012:chaps. 7, 8, 11). Silvoso’s book Transformation: Change the marketplace and change the world has the central premise that the world will never be free of systemic poverty until it is able to effectively deal with systemic corruption. He writes:

‘Systemic poverty is not a peripheral issue in the Bible. The elimination of poverty is central to the gospel message of redemption, and for that reason it is both a by-product and the most tangible social evidence of true, biblically based transformation’. (Silvoso 2007:115–148)

Volf reminds us that ethics and morals in the world of work relate to two primary aspects of being a Christian engaged in the world. Firstly, the Christian should ask him or herself what kinds of work should (and should not) be engaged in. For example, caring for the poor, nursing the sick, transforming oppressive structures, would be more desirable areas of work for Christians than sex work, illicit drug trade, or employment in crime (Volf 2005:386). Secondly, area moral and ethical emphasis for the Christian in the world of work is personal (Volf 2005:387–387). How should we do our work? How do we use our time, gifts, abilities, and resources to achieve God’s will in the location of our work? For example, one could choose to be a health care worker, which would be more desirable than a drug dealer. However, if you are lazy or incompetent you could end up causing more harm than good in your chosen vocation. There are also some expressions of the formation of Christian values and ethics on a larger scale. The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization developed a series of books on issues that it believed are pivotal to societal transformation and the establishment of God’s will in society. Paul Batchelor, a founder of the civil society group ‘Transparency International’, wrote a book called Salt, light, and the world of business: Good practice can change nations’ to support, encourage and challenge Christians to ethical business practices (Batchelor cited in Catherwood 2008). In 2012 and 2013 the global church launched a campaign called ‘EXPOSED – Shining a light on corruption’ which was initiated by numerous global Christian groupings and civil organisations (among them are the World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance, Unashamedly Ethical, Micah Challenge, the United Nations Development Program). This movement aimed to mobilise 100 million Christians in 100 nations to shine a light on corruption through public advocacy, prayer, and practical engagement in society (see Exposed 2013). This area of focus shows that there is a great deal of interest in forming Christians for ethical and moral behaviour in the world of work.

The Call42 survey shows that Christians in the world of work desire theological guidance, pastoral support, and practical help in bridging the gap between faith and work in order to be faithful to God’s will in the world.


This article gave a descriptive explication of the results of the 2011–2012 Call42 survey. The data that was gathered in the process of the survey offers some extremely helpful and insightful information for theologians and practitioners of ministry. The Call42 (2012b) executive summary shows that there is a great interest in, and need for, rigorous and effective engagement with Christians in the world of work:

Followers of Christ are beginning to realize that their vocational skills are key resources for impacting society: As career-oriented professionals and business people, Christians are capable of addressing pressing societal challenges. (p. 2)

The data that was gathered by the survey is not conclusive by any means. However, it is the most thorough and recent research of its kind in South Africa. There is a need for other researchers to build on the good work that was done by Call42 in order to gather a wider scope of data that can inform and shape the theology and ministry of the church to support Christians in the world of work and the transformation of society for the establishment of God’s Kingdom.


Competing interests
The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationship(s) that may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article.


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1.Various terms are used to describe the work environment. Among the more popular descriptors are the ‘marketplace’ (Silvoso 2006:17, 37–45) (Le Bruyns 2004:7–9), the ‘sphere’ or ‘domain’ of work (Johnson 2011:21–58) and the ‘world of work’ (Keller & Leary-Alsdorf 2012:19–24) and (Spada & Scott 2011:104–123).

2.One example will suffice to illustrate the growth of these movements. The Unashamedly Ethical movement was launched in Cape Town in 2010; within three years it has amassed close to 20 000 individual members and nearly 4000 corporate signatories. There are Unashamedly Ethical communities in each of the provinces in South Africa, and signatories in 95 countries around the world. The founder of the movement, Graham Power (a Christian businessman in Cape Town), is confident that the movement will continue to grow in size and influence (Power pers. comm., 2013).