Meet Matt Williams, Assistant Professor of EngineeringBy Joe Stowell on October 3, 2017
One of my greatest joys is building into students' lives with the help of our amazing staff and faculty at Cornerstone. This summer, we hired a couple of new faculty members to launch our new STEM initiatives in nursing and engineering, and I thought you'd like to meet one of them—our new assistant professor of engineering, Matt Williams.
Matt earned a degree in civil engineering from MIT and then served in the Navy for seven years. Sensing God's call into vocational teaching ministry, he enrolled in Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and also accepted a position to teach Bible classes at Libertas Christian School. This past May, Matt graduated from GRTS—with high honors, I might add—with a Master of Divinity degree.
Matt will tell you that for years he found it difficult to integrate the technical skills of science, math and engineering into a missional vocation. But his classes at GRTS unveiled how faith and work intersect to serve Jesus in any vocation. As part of the Kern Scholars Program at GRTS, Matt participated in an intentional cohort that integrates community and leadership training throughout the four-year academic curriculum. The program specifically focuses on the integration of faith, work and economics, something Matt says he didn't realize he had been searching for until he learned about it in his classes.
"My work is not just Christian because I talk about Jesus. It is also how I work," Matt shared. "You have people who are made in God's image who have the ability to think creatively and cultivate physical things out of the ground. By being a good engineer you are blessing others, stewarding the resources God has given you and praising Him."
When you hear Matt speak about his passion for using technical gifts of math and science to cultivate that arena of the world, it is obvious why we hired him to teach our students.
"Some people hear that I graduated from MIT and think I would focus on that prestige. But it was Cornerstone that made the most positive impact on my life. I feel like I learned something that I want everyone else to have. And I look forward to being with my students on this journey," Matt said. "God gave me a heart for teaching and theological training. And it comes together quite nicely here."
Matt just celebrated 10 years of marriage to his wife Allie. They have two daughters, Ezri and Indi.
"When I became a dad, life changed," Matt shared, "You hear all these stories about parents becoming parents and how much they love their daughter. A month later, holding my daughter, I loved this child in a way I had never experienced. God spoke to me, saying I love you like a Father loves a child. It was the point in time when my relationship with God integrated with the rest of my life. God spoke to me in a way that is personal. Ever since that point of time, I've been on a journey of integration."
Matt's commitment to bless our students by integrating faith and science into their education is one of the reasons Cornerstone excels in its mission. And it's one of the many reasons…why I love it here!