This post is part of an on-going Everyday Disciple series. We're celebrating here what it looks like to follow Christ faithfully in the day-to-day. I am thankful to share the stories of gracious friends and readers, and I have sought to preserve and honor their voice in the post below. I invite you to join me as we listen to their experience as an "everyday disciple."
For our first story, I thought I’d stay close to home. Scott and I first met working on the leadership team of a summer camp. Little could I have known that first day, when he showed up on crutches still recovering from knee surgery, that four years later we’d be married.
Now, I see Scott lace his thick work boots each morning, clip on his ID badge, and head out to another day of work. Each evening, I listen for the creak of the storm door as he comes home and talks of the successes and challenges of the day. He’s passionate about manufacturing and about creating efficient and creative work. It’s a joy to share some of his story with you today.
I work as a manufacturing engineer at a company that makes parts for commercial aircraft. I program inspection equipment, 5-axis milling machines, and am part of a development team for electro-chemical machining.
Simply put, I work on processes to make our parts as efficiently and accurately as possible. I take simple hunks of metal and turn them into complex parts. But I also get to be a part of the process that makes airplanes more fuel and cost efficient, which can make the ability to travel and “come together” more accessible to people.
I really enjoy making improvements to the processes we use. I love learning new processes, seeing how someone else approached a problem, and trying to apply the things I’ve learned from past experience to make the process better. I like it when my improvements mean that I improve the job of the people running machines.
For example, I recently was put in charge of improving the tools used for a process we’d been doing for years. It was the initial cutting at the beginning of making the part. We were removing a lot of material quickly, but the tool made a lot of noise and wore out fast. It was an expensive way to remove the material, and it created a lot of waste.
With help from other people, I was able to find a different tool to replace our old one. The end result was to do what originally took us 30 minutes in 5 minutes, while also cutting the cost in half. It was exciting because I empowered the guy running the machine to be a lot more productive—and improved his working environment by removing a lot of the noise from the tool. I also saved my company a lot of money, freeing them to do more things with that money such as making more jobs or giving more to the community.
My faith encourages me to make the world a better place through creativity. I’m doing my best work when I’m able to use my imagination and creatively make something new, but I’m also constrained by the rules and order that God put into his creation. I experience regularly the massive amount of work and energy that goes into making comparatively simple things and am amazed at how balanced and excellent this earth is. In this way, my work gives me an appreciation for God as a Creator.
Doing good work like this, as a Christian—seeking understanding of how the world works and applying that understanding to actually change something for the better—adds a small piece to the reputation Christians have in the workplace. I have opportunities to build relationships—and friendships—with all kinds of people. I can model integrity through honest and thorough work. I can be creative in the solutions I try. I think working this way gives Christians a reputation as people who are thoughtful, creative, and hardworking. I might not be these things all the time, but when I can do it and do it well, it slowly builds on the positive reputation of who Christians are as workers.
If you would like to be a part of this project, I would love to hear your story. Contact me for more information.