Jim Bauml has been a part of Harbor Covenant Church for over 15 years. He is a very talented and self-employed contractor who finds a lot of purpose and connection to his faith in his career.
He volunteers in our kids program on Sundays and is a mentor to our middle school group on Thursdays.
This is his story.
How did you come to faith in Jesus?
Faith became something tangible to me after a couple difficult years in grade school and high school. I knew Jesus was someone worth following – I just didn’t know how to apply it. So I sought him out with my whole heart, mind, and soul while reading through Psalms. In that seeking I distinctly remember a warmth come over my body and a changed outlook in my thoughts. I left me yearning for more and holding near to listen what I could learn. Today I sometimes fall away from it with earthly/human distraction at times but I can’t do life without it.
You like to encourage people, why do you think that is?
I encourage others because it just flows from my faith in Jesus. I get to be in his will when it’s done genuinely. Caring about someone beyond me – looking into someone’s life with that perspective – is challenging but also encouraging. Faith grows from the peace you find in the roughness of life.
How did you land in the construction world?
Finding a career in construction was an act of God caring for me through my parents and the church. During a period of my life where I found myself dealing with depression, I was connected to a family who opened the door to finding joy in that kind of work. I enjoyed the team work and the tangible evidence of our labor not just producing quality houses – but homes where people lived their everyday lives as a result of our efforts.
What do you love about your job?
I really love the brainstorming with others, but I also love the meaning it brings me. When people know what I’ve done and believe in me – it’s pretty cool. It’s validating that I am doing what I should be doing.
How do you live out your faith on the job site?
I live out my faith by being encouraging to clients, but also by trying to bring patience and quality to my work. I joke that the patience and attention that is needed for long hours in a bathroom can only represent a man who relies on Jesus to stay encouraged and diligent.
Being self-employed also keeps me focused on the next thing God has for me. It also keeps me prayerful and grateful at times, because it keeps me on knees (in a sense) and young and healthy.
What is difficult about your job?
It gets pretty difficult when clients get frustrated or confused or when things get out of my control and it messes up the workflow. Being self-employed also means there is no benefits package and produces a little fear of getting hurt. I ask that you pray that I’ll remain focused and attentive when I’m on roofs or ladders.
You’ve also been a youth leader and 45 Zone leader for many years, what do you enjoy about that?
The youth and kids are a real joy. I love seeing what they’ll do next and the joy they have for life. I am really moved by it. I love that I can encourage them through the simplest of ways. For example, when I remember to bring up a conversation I had with them from previous weeks, they just light up when they know someone is paying attention to them.
Their little jokes, senses of humor, and how much knowledge they have about the word at times blows me away. I learn a lot from them, and also find a lot of accountability to them as I teach them how to live, but then have to walk that talk myself.
They teach me how to love others, really. They are still fresh into life with not to many relationship blowouts and hurts and that’s refreshing. Their innocence reminds me of what could be.
What has God taught you lately?, how has God changed you lately?, or how is God using you lately?
He’s teaching me how to be a man who leaves the home and clings to his wife. He’s teaching me how to keep my heart soft with mine and others’ selfishness. He’s teaching me how to love others even when it gets hard. I have found writing my thoughts down helps to continue a conversation with Him. It seems like his answers to my unsaid prayers come shows me he is faithful. Seeking after him gives a whole lot more meaning to my life than anything really. The continuous grace I get from my past faults is continually relieving the pain from those mistakes. The consistent renewal of my mind and heart is so nice of a gift. Honestly, my mind has been wrapped around family issues a lot, and learning to cast my cares on him and yearning for the freedom of being in His will has been healing.