Faith on the job

November 23, 2011 | Young Voices
Aaron Epp | Special to Young Voices

Ask Dustin Bueckert if he thinks incorporating his faith into his day job is important, and he will tell you yes.

“It keeps you credible,” says Bueckert, who owns and operates Bueckert Home & Cottage Design, a residential design studio in Saskatoon, Sask. “[Some] people in the business world in general have a different, un-Christian lifestyle that you can just see affects their work and how they interact with people. So for me, [my faith has] been something I want to keep in the forefront of my mind while I’m working.”

A member of Nutana Park Mennonite Church, Saskatoon, Bueckert was inspired to design houses for a living after volunteering with Mennonite Disaster Service in 2002. The 28-year-old started his business five years ago, and incorporates his faith into the workplace by practising business ethically. He charges his clients a fair price, works hard for them and does not rip them off.

“I work hard for all of them and try to just emanate the Spirit of Christ,” he says.

Tim Dyck of Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, Man., is less sure of how faith will fit into his work life. The 27-year-old grew up interested in drawing and photography, and is currently completing an honours bachelor of fine arts degree. After graduating next April, he hopes to find work in an art gallery.

“Growing up, I didn’t feel like the Mennonite faith had much in the way of conversation with visual arts, such as painting or fresco or drawing, so I didn’t give my faith much thought when I was deciding what to study,” Dyck says.

That changed when he began studying art history and examined with his classmates the Christian faith from what he describes as a “secular, archaeological standpoint.” Looking at Christianity through the art of the Reformation, Dyck says, caused him to re-examine his own beliefs.

Dyck works part-time as an assistant to Ray Dirks at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, and says that striving to do his best is part of how he lives out his faith at work. “As a Mennonite . . . there’s this dedication to hard work and doing good work, and I feel that there’s a history of doing what you do well and being a good example at it,” he says.

Like Dyck, Tony Kasdorf was not thinking about his faith when he entered the workforce. Kasdorf began working for the Standard Press, his father’s printing business, right after high school, initially just to try it out and see where it might lead. Eight years later, the 26-year-old is a project manager at the business, overseeing a team of five people.

Kasdorf, a member of Douglas Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, says he recently came across a Bible verse that resonated with him when it comes to how he approaches work. Proverbs 12:11 states, “He who works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.”

“I feel I bring a [good] work ethic to our shop as well, where I’m honest with the people who I deal with, and respectful and innovative,” he says. “I make every effort to follow through with my promises.”

Kasdorf now runs the shop along with his father and older brother, and while the three do not speak explicitly about incorporating their faith into the workplace, they do talk about bringing respect to the shop and treating employees the way they themselves would like to be treated.

“We try to create a stable environment at our shop,” Kasdorf says. “The main focus for us is that people come to work and we’re treating them equally, we’re treating them respectfully. If there are errors being made, it’s dealt with with constructive criticism, rather than putting them down.”

For Bueckert the home designer, aligning his faith with his work is a continual challenge. “I should even be doing more service work with the work I do, try to figure out a way to do God’s work better with the work I do during my day job,” he says. “That’s rattling around in my brain all the time—finding a way to incorporate all the values of my life and incorporate that with working with clients.”

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