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ONLINE – On Becoming a Christian Educator in Social Work (2010) – PDF Version


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Written by long-standing NACSW member Michael Sherr, On Becoming a Christian Educator is a compelling invitation for social workers of faith in higher education to explore what it means to be a Christian in social work education. By highlighting seven core commitments of Christian social work educators, it offers strategies for social work educators to connect their personal faith journeys to effective teaching practices with their students.

David Sherwood, the editor in chief of Social Work and Christianity, comments in his foreword to this important book:

Michael writes about what it means to take seriously the call to be a Christian social work educator, seeking to be a faithful, whole person–one who authentically integrates faith, learning, teaching, and practice. . . Though grounded in research on student expectations and perceptions regarding faith integration in social work classrooms and a Christian worldview, this book is not a philosophical or theological treatise on integration and epistemology. The book is immanently practical. . . Some specific classroom components will be more applicable in explicitly Christian colleges and universities, but the overall framework of thinking about the vocation of the Christian social work educator can be applied by Christian educators in any setting.

Nick Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, and Fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University, says the following about On Becoming a Christian Educator in Social Work:

ON BECOMING A CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR IN SOCIAL WORK does a most unusual thing. Rather than adopting the professor’s standpoint on the integration of faith and social work education, it adopts the student’s perspective, doing this not on the basis of speculation or anecdotal evidence but on the basis of careful research. And rather than asking the somewhat abstract question of whether the student judges that the instructor has “integrated” faith and learning, it asks the concrete question of whether the student discerns that teaching is for the instructor his or her Christian vocation, a guide and inspiration for students to engage in their own future social work as their Christian vocation. Sherr is passionate for what he sees as good and right without being denunciatory of those who hold conflicting views. His discussion is extraordinarily self revealing, a testimony of his love for students. I know of nothing like it.

Frank B. Raymond Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, adds the following comment about On Becoming a Christian Educator in Social Work:

PROFESSOR MICHAEL SHERR’S BOOK SHOULD BE ON THE DESK OR BOOKSHELF of every social work educator who wants to integrate the Christian faith with classroom teaching. This is a powerful book, not only because of its cogent conceptual design and the concrete recommendations it delineates, but, more importantly, because of its authenticity. Christian social work educators can learn much from Professor Sherr’s spiritual and vocational journey as they continue their own journeys and seek to integrate faith, learning and practice in their classrooms.


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