Work as Worship

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Called to Teach

Matt Bowman, a PE teacher in a local elementary school, has a unique perspective on the topic of work as worship. Though seemingly limited in his ability to share the gospel in his workplace, Matt's teaching gift and intentional pursuit of Jesus allows him to be a force for good, both in and out of the classroom.

My calling is to be a PE teacher and I have been an elementary PE teacher in Pike Township for 14 years. I praise God for giving me the spiritual gift of teaching and the ability to influence over 500 students a year.

My Christianity shows in my teaching style. For example, I manage the gym environment according to Godly principles: from the way I instruct students to treat each other, how to respond in conflict, and how I handle discipline.

The struggle with being a Christian teacher in a public school setting is the lack of freedom to teach about God and His amazing grace. This has to be done through relationships built on the side instead of openly teaching the entire class.

The relationships I develop with students and their families allow me to speak openly about God outside the school environment. God has given me several opportunities to help the spiritual and physical needs of others. My family and I have been able to house, clothe, feed, and provide transportation for those in need. These situations allow me to share my faith openly because they occur after the school hours.

-Matt Bowman

The College Perspective

Throughout my college experience, I have often felt closest to God at times when many others would feel distracted. I thrive off of midday phone calls while walking through campus, quick catch-ups at work, Saturday evening car rides and conversation, and late nights spent tired and talking in run-down diners. When God places something on my heart I struggle to immediately begin processing it on my own, and turn instead, to those around me. I send a text, make a phone call, or take notes in preparation for a future conversation with someone, or multiple people, who I know will help point me in the right direction. In fact, in every step I’ve taken in my college career, I can pinpoint a person or group of people who have helped as I navigated through homesickness, changing majors, upsets, victories, finding a church at college, internships, and considering what God has planned for my future. They’ve held me accountable to my actions, opened their homes to me, prayed for and with me, and spoken wisdom into my life time and time again, especially in the moments I didn’t want to hear it.

My faith, since coming to college, has relied heavily on these people who come from many backgrounds and have lived in various parts of the world. These believers, skeptics, and harsh critics of my faith have all had a hand in helping me learn more about what it means for me to not only know what it is that I believe, but also what that belief means for my life. I’ve been continually encouraged by those who see the joy and purpose in my plans, regardless of the work they are pursuing or the beliefs that they, personally, hold. For me, so much of living out my faith since coming to college has been about doing whatever it takes to be intentional about the relationships that God has placed in front of me, and being willing to encounter those around me. My future career in social work is no exception to that. From the outside, it’s not a particularly glamorous field. It’s often characterized by long hours, hard choices, and pain. However, it is one which, in many ways, directly reflects the love demonstrated to me by Jesus, and gives me the opportunity to continually encounter those around me as intentionally as possible.

Alexis Jones
Ball State University – School of Social Work