Faith at Work in Architecture: Mark Senitz

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Getting to Know You.

I started out with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Advertising, but my real passion was architecture. After working a year in the marketing arena, I went back to school and received my Master’s Degree in Architecture in 1997. In 2009, I started my own architectural firm in Dallas. My passion is doing things with excellence and integrity while building client relationships that extend beyond just the work.

One interesting fact about me is that growing up, I only wanted to play soccer for a living. I never wanted to be in business or even go to college. After playing a year in Europe for a small German soccer team, I came back to the states to get a free education with a full scholarship. Looking back, I see how God used small steps of faith to lead me onto the path my life has taken and I am so thankful!

What do you do on a weekly basis?

Because we are a small firm, what I do each week varies. Most of the time I spend working through designs, managing the projects, and communicating with clients. Sometimes, however, I spend time cleaning the office, getting office supplies, or finding spare moments to sneak out with my business partner, who is also my wife, and catch an afternoon movie. 😊  It’s not always easy to make the time for getting away during the day, but it is part of what we want our culture to be about. We want to be about healthy work and life balance.

How has your personal walk with Jesus impacted the way you work?

My walk with Jesus is what directly sent me down the path of starting my own business. In 2009, the economy had crashed and the firm I was with closed shop. I was without work for the first time in my life and so we took a month to just pray and seek Jesus on what was next for our lives. After two agonizing weeks of silence, I felt strongly that Jesus wanted me (us) to start our own business and do so with the mindset of following His lead. In the 6+ years of being in business, the 5 times we have been less than $200 in the bank, and now the times of having an abundance we have not truly marketed our business. This was not our original plan of attack, but something we have just sensed that Jesus is doing as He builds this business.

Want to learn how Jesus fills our work with passion and purpose like Mark? Download our free Faith Works course here. 

What challenges have you encountered as you walk your faith out at work?

Some of the biggest challenges I face is on two fronts. The most prevalent is my own fleshly desire to succeed. I have to continually balance not working too much, trusting God for not only His provision with more clients and work, but also trusting that I have His favor on me to work in such a way that I am living out a healthy balance of work, life, being a husband, being a friend, being a follower of Jesus, and even taking time to do nothing at all. I have found that when things are tight, and when there is lots of work the struggle is the same of trusting God for what is ultimately His provision and timing.

How have you been able to represent or re-present Jesus through your job?

Because we approach our business so relationally, I get to express who I am and what God is doing in my life with many of my clients. They see God working in my life, in our company, and in the way we do business. It’s not like they all are interested in the deep things of Jesus, but what I love is that I get to physically display the love of God, the compassion and understanding, and the servant’s heart that I have received from Jesus in my life.

What are some lessons that God has taught you through your work that could help our blog readers?

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my career is that there will always be an endless supply of deadlines, stresses, and needs. What is often lacking to balance those stresses are people who bring patience and understanding. People who are looking for ways to express love and acceptance. Someone who brings peace and joy. I try to remind myself on a regular basis when heading into a meeting, “I can be the one to set the tone”. So I try to be extra encouraging, I try to say something I am thankful for, and I try to ask what I can do to make their life easier.

Any books, lectures, mentors that have been inspirational to you in your field?

When I started in this business, I had a mentor, Kirk Taylor. He was so inspirational in his work ethic and his passion for excellence. He is definitely the person who taught me the most in terms of what I do technically and in terms of having a desire to be about more than just work. His transparency with me was also something that was huge in my development. He didn’t hide his weaknesses and so I was able to learn and grow in areas he struggled because we could talk about those things together and I could learn from his experiences. I think that is one HUGE thing in living a life with Jesus at work is modeling our weakness. The saving grace of Jesus is displayed so powerful when people see your failings, and the truth of how God responds to our failings with a deep and powerful love and grace.

A book I would recommend right now is “Kings Cross” by Tim Keller. He is so brilliant at showing the truth of the Love of Jesus, the grace of our own salvation, and the simple nature or our relationship to Jesus that it draws you into a desire for more.

Want to learn how Jesus fills our work with passion and purpose like Mark? Download our free Faith Works course here.