Your computer is broken. Your website is down. Your iPhone randomly shuts off.
Who are you going to call? Information Technology (IT) Support.
You probably have needed IT Support at some point in your life. I have worked in the IT Support field for seven and a half years in a variety of technical and non-technical roles.
As Christians, we rightfully believe that our work matters to God. Where is God in the field of IT Support? Until recently, I had not thought critically about how my faith integrates into my work with IT Support. Specifically, I wondered:
- How does the IT Support vocation fit into the Christian worldview?
- How can a Christian integrate his faith and work in the IT Support field?
What Really is IT?
Before we can answer these questions, we first need to define what IT Support is. Every business uses technologies — work email, Internet security, desk phones, websites, Internet connectivity and the list goes on. Someone needs to maintain this technology. That’s where IT professionals come in. Most businesses have a herd of nerds (like me) who keep the business’ technologies running.
Of course, you probably have also interacted with customer support IT people who help fix your consumer technology problems. This article, however, focuses on IT which supports a business.
God instilled in us the capability to be creative in how we solve our problems.
IT Support from a Christian Worldview
The existence of IT Support reminds us that we are creatures, marred by sin and imperfect in our thoughts, behaviors and motives. We as creators, reflecting God as the Ultimate Creator, synthesize tools and concepts to make our life more enjoyable and easier. Technology is a gift from God because God instilled in us the capability to be creative in how we solve our problems.
As creatures, we cannot create out of nothing, like God did. We can only create from the existing creation. Since our knowledge of creation is imperfect and incomplete (though it is ever growing), and our ability to apply that knowledge is limited by our humanity, everything we create will be imperfect and prone to some level of failure.
In other words, technology will fail. IT Support comes in to bridge the gap between the failed technology and the user who discovered that failure.
Traditional IT Support is highly relational. The IT Support person asks questions about what steps led to the technology failure and diagnoses the nature of the issue. In the same way that Christians seek to find the root cause of a person’s sin in biblical counseling, IT Support people are asking the right questions to determine where the breakdown has occurred.
The common questions that IT Support people ask to troubleshoot technology reflect the biblical narrative:
- What was this technology designed to do (Creation)?
- What is wrong with it (Fall)?
- What can I do to fix it (Redemption)?
- What can I do to prevent a similar future issue (Restoration)?
After the troubleshooting process is complete, everyone is relieved that everything is back to the way it should be.
Integrating Faith and Work in IT Support
The ultimate goal of IT Support is to help other people be more effective at their jobs through serving them by troubleshooting technical issues. In the same way, in the church deacons serve in the church to enable the teaching elders to be more effective as they preach the Word and pray (Acts 6:1-4).
As a deacon at a local church, and a veteran IT Support worker, I have found that my attitudes and skills in these two vocations feed off one another. As I learn to be a better IT Support person, I know how to ask better questions to be a more effective deacon. As I become a more effective deacon, I learn how to serve others at work, whether they are my clients or my co-workers, and I become a more effective IT Support worker.
Without a doubt, my faith has made me a better IT Support worker. My faith helps me ask the right questions at the right time, have a teachable attitude, be humble, seek others benefit before my own and more. Christ has formed in me by His grace. Rather than being a belligerent and condescending know-it-all when I help people, I seek to serve them through the power that Christ gives me to love others as I have been deeply loved in the Cross of Christ.