Today marks the first installment of IFWE’s new series,“The Faces of Faith & Work.” The goal behind these installments is to explore what a Biblical doctrine of work looks like in concrete practice.
To that end, we seek to interview Christians from all vocations who are faithfully pursuing their calling and thinking about what it means to integrate faith and work in their lives.
Our first profile features Luther Weber, an independent architect based in Falls Church, VA. Luther spoke with us about his craft, and shared how his faith impacts his approach to architecture.
1) Tell us about what you do as an architect.
LW: I currently manage a professional practice that focuses on residential architecture. My goal is to help people improve their living environment through renovating their existing home, or designing their new home by guiding them in the entire design process from conceptualization to construction.
2) What motivated you to enter the field of architecture? When and how did you realize it was a calling for you?
LW: In my youth I was enamored with all kinds of art, and I loved to sketch. I was especially drawn to the places where people lived and worked.
In my spare time I would redesign the floor plans of home, churches, and schools, imagining how they could be improved. I observed that every one of them had a particular character and place in history.
Being raised within the church community, I also learned that every person has a unique story worth hearing and appreciating. As an architect, I believe every place has a story, and I search for that dialogue between person and place in every project.
3) How did your faith and theology influence your decisions to enter architecture and eventually start your own firm?
LW: Being raised a preacher’s kid and only son in a large Lutheran congregation, there were times when I sensed expectations from others to enter the full-time ministry. It also seemed like a very comfortable fit for me, having learned the profession by observing my mother and father in action, and inheriting from them a genuine love for people.
However, my father always encouraged me to follow my heart and use my talents to serve others in any way God might be calling me.
All through my life I discovered that art was one of the ways I was able to communicate with others and touch their hearts in an uplifting way.
Combining my love of art with a fascination for the built environment drew me to the prayerful conclusion that God was calling me to serve others by being an architect.
Even with that conviction, there were many challenges of architectural school and apprenticeships that caused me to question my calling. I wondered if following in my father’s footsteps might have been a better fit for me than entering the construction industry, which I knew very little about at the time.
But after an emotional, meaningful encounter with my Savior, I was reminded that we are not called to the illusion of a comfortable life. I determined to learn from the best so that one day, God might bless me with the responsibility of running my own practice in a manner that was dedicated to honoring Him.
4) How do you view your profession and your skills in light of your faith?
LW: My faith calls me to serve others in a practical and edifying way. Architecture is the means by which I am able to serve others and communicate God’s love and creativity.
I believe we are all created in the image of a loving and creative God. It is His desire that we reflect His image for our own benefit and that of others. What better way to image and communicate the love of God than in offering our God given talents and honed skills in the service of others.
5) Have you considered how a Biblical doctrine of work would influence how you do your job?
LW: I believe that God has called me to participate with Him in the reconciliation of man to Himself and to each other through reflecting His image in all I do. That includes creating beauty.
Along with all honorable professions, I believe that He uses the practice of architecture to bless this generation, and ultimately for the restoration of His Kingdom.
This belief has influenced the motto I strive to achieve in every project: “Care, Connect, Create.”
Caring is the key to quality. Listening is the key to understanding and connecting with others. Creativity begins with energy, is sparked by vision, and seasoned with experience.
You can learn more about Luther, his career, and his work at www.lutherweber.com.