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Secular environment grows faith

A student's internship strengthens his beliefs

By Justin Chapman | Contributor

This summer, I interned with The Times of Noblesville, located in downtown Noblesville, Indiana. This is the

Student Justin Chapman shares his internship experience.

Student Justin Chapman shares his internship experience.

first time I worked in a non-Christian environment. In high school I mowed lawns and never worked anywhere else outside of Taylor University’s The Echo. Entering my internship, I was interested to see how my faith would be brought up working with non-Christians.

Work is different when you are not in a faith setting. It felt like I had to prove myself and double or triple check to make sure my work was up to standard. In a Christian setting it is easy, in my mind, to get comfortable when working. I assume things will go a certain way since I am surrounded by believers. In a a non-faith space, I could not assume how people would react to me and my work.

In terms of my faith, I thought a lot about how much I appreciated my supervisor. From what I know, he is not a Christian, yet he was very gracious and helpful to me in my development. Again, I do not want to assume he is not a Christian, but that is what it seemed like to me. However, the fact he was so forgiving when I messed up meant much more to me considering he is not in the same faith. When I worked with The Echo, if I did something wrong, I assumed my boss would correct me with grace and mercy. I did not assume to receive anything in this job, yet I received it anyway.

Several times, I did not write an article well enough or find the information I needed. When I did not perform as I should, I assumed my boss would be harsh, and he would be justified. However, he often chose love and gentleness. He would critique me but encourage me. This amazed me. If this person, who has no reason to show grace, love, and mercy, shows me them, how much more should I show them to others? It reminded me that, as a Christian I am always representing the Church, and it is my duty to grant those gifts to others, whether they are Christian or not.

Working for a supervisor with this much patience made me want to work harder for him and make sure I did the best work possible.

My internship experience differed from my Taylor experience. I interacted with three people at my internship, but mainly with my supervisor. While at Taylor, I interact with many people, most of whom are Christians. Interning for a secular organization grew me in my faith. It got me out of an environment at Taylor where almost everyone is a Christian. When I was in an environment not surrounded by Christians, it made me think of ways to let them see that I am different from people in our culture. I wanted to do that because I want to work hard and be set apart in that area, but also so they could see Christ in me. When at Taylor, I do not think about that as much. Sharing one’s faith and loving people is different when doing it around non-Christians. The assumptions of how people should act in a faith setting versus a non-faith setting are different. The actual topic of faith never came up with the people I worked with or interview subjects, but it was always in the back of my mind, and I was ready to enter those conversations if they came up.

Overall, I am glad I worked with The Times this summer and gained skills in the journalism field. I also am thankful for the way I saw faith in a different light this summer. I needed a break from the Taylor bubble. This real world experience offered me a taste of real life, as my time at Taylor is now half over.

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