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The Intersection of Christianity, Work, and Social Work

Mark M.

“In the sweat of thy face shalt that eat bread.” (Genesis 3:19)

As Christians we know that Adam and Eve, our first parents, were commanded to work. And the commandment to work is still in force with us, their posterity.

As a Christian case manager for persons with Developmental Disabilities (many who also have mental illness), I often bring up the topic of employment during my visits with clients and at our team meetings for clients. If a client wants to be employed, we look at job coaching services, if it is needed. Currently, Idaho Health and Welfare is cutting the yearly budgets for clients’ services. As case managers we can often go over budget but not for job coaching, because Health and Welfare deems job coaching as not medically necessary.

I am sure there are many stories. I will tell one. My supervisor had a client that was employed for about 10 years with a job coach. The client’s budget was cut recently and he lost his employment because he needed a job coach.

Adding to the problem is that Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) refuses to give this population services if they do not have the budget for a job coach. There is a waiting list system for donated job coaching services. Just this week (3rd week in February) a client of mine was put on a job coach waiting list and the VR case was closed until he gets to the top of the list.

It seems Idaho is at war with this population working, if they need a job coach. From a money perspective this makes sense because job coaching probably costs more than the client is earning. But as Christians in Social Work we know, or have seen, that work for those we serve is a Catalyst for good self-esteem, self-direction, and more independence. To learn more about what we are doing to make our voices heard about this subject, please check out Medicaid Matters in Idaho

Mark M. is a Licensed Social Worker with a passion for Christ and the vulnerable. He works at Stepping Stones Services in Boise, Idaho, as a Plan Developer & Targeted Service Coordinator for Adults with Developmental Disabilities. He has been a member of NACSW since 2010.

3 thoughts on “The Intersection of Christianity, Work, and Social Work

  1. Thanks for this post, Mark. Most of my career prior to working with NACSW had involved supporting people who have developmental disabilities. I am delighted to see this is the focus of your work, as I often found that there were relatively few social workers in services for this population. I also found it true in my work that having a job and career was extremely important to the individuals I worked with – for social, economic, and psychological reasons. Keep up your extremely important work in this field!

    1. Thank you! Rick.

      What great preparation working in the DD field was for you now working with NACSW.

      Thank you for what you do with NACSW.-Mark

  2. Thanks for your kind work, Mark. My early years working as a group home house parent with children with significant challenges were among my favorite in the field. This is also where I happened to meet my wife (she was the other houseparent)!

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