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Q&A: Sebastian Traeger on “The Gospel at Work”

The Gospel at Work

The Gospel At Work” is a recently released book, co-authored by Sebastian Traeger, an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC), and Greg Gilbert, a former pastor at CHBC and now the pastor of 3rd Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Sebastian and Greg offer a theologically grounded overview of some of the most common questions Christians have as they think about how to honor God in their work.

Their helpful premise is that Christians often struggle with making their work an idol, or with shirking the responsibility to which God has called them by being idle in their job. Yet, by applying the Gospel to different situations that a Christian will face at work, it too can be a field for God’s glory. While the theology that informs the book is very helpful in itself, Sebastian and Greg do a great job of translating it into practical application for the Christian at work.

As a member of CHBC, I recently had the chance to interview Sebastian about his background and the inspiration behind the book:

Can you describe who you are and what you do for a living?

I’m a serial entrepreneur. For the last fifteen years I’ve started tech companies, and recently I began getting into real estate.

How did you initially get interested in being an entrepreneur?

At the beginning of the internet boom, I and another guy had an idea to get sermons online. Back then, at the height of the internet boom, it—like any idea—was pretty easy to get money for. We started a company, grew it, and eventually sold it. So I started some new ones. For me, getting into the internet was more opportunity-driven than passion-driven.

[pullquote]     I’m trying to blow up the idea that making a kingdom impact at work is only through evangelism at work.[/pullquote]

Let’s talk about the book. It is your contention that the kind of work that we are doing is not as important as how we do it.

It is who we work for, not what we do, that gives meaning to anything that we do. And our ultimate boss is God. At the most basic level, the Bible doesn’t make value distinctions about the nature of work. Every person isn’t meant to do the same thing. Paul states this in 1 Corinthians when he tells slaves to work for their masters. On a more personal level, it is a matter of calling. I think it’s great to do full-time gospel work, but some people are not called to it. Wherever He leads us is God-ordained.

How do we know if we’re successful in kingdom work at work?

If we are honoring God and providing for the needs of our family and others, we are faithful in the workplace. I’m trying to blow up [the idea that] making a kingdom impact at work is only through evangelism at work. All of us should be disciple-makers. Some of those people we disciple will be at the workplace. But even if I work by myself as a graphic designer, it allows me to impact other people through the kingdom. Being an accountant doesn’t get in the way of the Gospel. You need to be faithful in that job. You might have less time to disciple or evangelize, but it doesn’t mean you’re less faithful.

Part two of this interview will be coming soon.