Social workers extend a helping hand

What does it mean to be an uncommon Christian social worker in a common world? Students in Concordia’s social work program participated in an essay contest to answer this question.

CUW’s social work department celebrated National Social Work Month in March. Part of the activities included an essay contest, with winners announced during a panel event on Friday, March 24. Congratulations to the winners of this year’s essay contest: Amanda Drabek and De’Vaun Williams. Here are their winning contributions.

Amanda Drabek

Master of Social Work

A big theme within Concordia University has been “living uncommon,” but what does that mean? The definition of uncommon is something that “isn’t ordinarily found or experienced” (Merriam-Webster, 2019). There is no real definition for being a Christian social worker. You can quick search the words/ meanings and definitions separately, and while there are some overlaps of terms, it means something different for every person.

We can cite and share about the teachings and practices of social work. It is a helping profession, where we fight for service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence in the common world. Christianity is about believing in Christ and having a relationship with God. When we do this, we allow him to use us as a conduit for a purpose and share the teachings and practices of His unconditional love and sacrifice. This can be an uncommon relationship/experience for many. It can be difficult in this profession to do.

Being a Christian social worker is about understanding that two things can hold true at the same time. We can know the profound grace and mercy that God gives us every day and be overwhelmed and discouraged with the struggles of this common world we face. If you’re like me, I struggle with the paradox of both at times—oftentimes, in fact. It is knowing that despite our clients’ (and our own) worst days, despite failing systems, despite pure evil in this world, there is something beautiful and good that waits at the end of all of this.

Being a Christian social worker is about understanding that two things can hold true at the same time. We can know the profound grace and mercy that God gives us every day and be overwhelmed and discouraged with the struggles of this common world we face.

Amanda Drabek, MSW student

It’s knowing we were born for this exact time and are equipped with His gifts, to make sure those around us are seen/heard/loved, as we encourage them to see the world the way we see it—in ways that aren’t ordinarily found or experienced in strategies/solutions/coping mechanisms of this world, but by the way God sees it for us. It’s by our actions, words, relationships with people that they will experience something uncommon, and this will ignite something in them.

There is a sacredness and peace that, even in our struggles, we are always known and loved. Does this mean that it’s hard? YES! Worth it? YES! What an honor to be a social worker, and a Christian one at that.

De’Vaun Williams

Bachelor of Social Work

Being an uncommon Christian social worker in a common world means embodying the principles of both faith and social work while engaging with the challenges of the world we live in. It means striving to integrate Christian values and principles into one’s professional practice while responding to the needs of individuals, families, and communities.

The uncommon Christian social worker seeks to serve others with compassion, respect, and empathy, regardless of their background or beliefs. They are committed to advocating for social justice, promoting human rights, and alleviating suffering. Their faith motivates them to serve those who are marginalized, vulnerable, and oppressed. In a common world that often prioritizes materialism, individualism, and self-interest, the uncommon Christian social worker strives to prioritize the needs of others. They recognize the intrinsic worth and value of every person and seek to empower them to achieve their full potential.

Creativity is also essential for an uncommon Christian social worker. They recognize that every individual and situation is unique, and they approach their work with flexibility, openness, and a willingness to think outside the box. They are innovative and resourceful in their problem-solving and seek to find creative solutions to complex issues.

Ultimately, being an uncommon Christian social worker means striving to integrate faith and practice in a way that honors both. It requires a commitment to ongoing learning, reflection, and growth. As such, an uncommon Christian social worker is a lifelong learner who recognizes that they do not have all the answers but is willing to continue the journey of discovery, transformation, and service.

Want in?

Concordia’s social work program uses Christian service, quality research, and hands-on learning to grow you as a competent professional. Earn your bachelor’s degree at CUW and then continue on to acquire an MSW, the most sought-after social services degree. Learn more about our programs by clicking below.