I am a Masters of Social Work (MSW) student at Southern Adventist University and I have also had the privilege to work as a graduate assistant in the Social Work department there. I was nominated to be the student representative on the National Association of Christian Social Workers (NACSW) board at the beginning of the school year, June 2013. I have completed the foundation year of the MSW program and am currently in my advanced year.
Since beginning the MSW program at Southern, I have grown tremendously in my spiritual life. At the beginning of my journey, I was unsure about how I can be a social worker and a Christian at the same time. It seemed that I would have to condone other’s lifestyles that I did not agree with and be quiet about my faith in order to be a social worker. But, I have learned that I can be both at the same time. As a social worker, we are called to be self-aware and as a Christian we cannot deny what we believe. It is at the core of our being. Jesus accepts people where they are at. He does not put unrealistic expectations on us. As Christians, our ultimate goal is to become perfect in Him, but this is not something we do on our own. It is a gift from Him. It is His robe of righteousness that covers us. He knows righteousness is not something we cannot create ourselves. In the same way, we are not to put unrealistic expectations on our clients who come to us for help. As social workers and Christians, we accept them where they are at, as Jesus did, and we collaborate with them to find a solution.
I have recently learned through a professor who utilized NACSWs article on how to be a Christian Social Worker that there are ways in which we can share our faith legally when we are with clients. We never want to impose our ideas or beliefs on our clients, but if they inquire about what we believe, we have a duty as a Christian to disclose what we believe as long as it is something that would be beneficial for the client in their life. This has been a relief for me in my spiritual journey as a Christian Social Worker. We are not to deny our beliefs, but embrace them and let them help us to become better social workers for Jesus. After all, we – social workers – are the hands and feet of Jesus.
Christina C. is a Masters of Social Work (MSW) student at Southern Adventist University and joined NACSW in June of this year. To see what she is doing to become a professional social worker at the master’s level, visit Christina’s portfolio website.