Training Churches for Job Ministry: Katherine Simons
Roswell UMC near Atlanta invites hundreds of job seekers to their job networking ministry each month. Church member Katherine Simons says she hopes other churches will begin their own ministries to help those who are out of work.
(Locator: Roswell, Georgia)
Katherine Simons/Job Networking Coordinator, Roswell UMC: "Every second and fourth Monday of every month we meet here at Roswell United Methodist Church to offer our job-networking program.
People just come walking in the door. They're nervous. They don't know what to expect. One of our job seekers recently told us that they came 3 times and sat out in the parking lot. And this was the first time they had ever actually gotten out of the car.
They've run out of hope. They've run out of resources. They've run out of direction. And they come in here and talk about 'How can you help me?'"
Jay Litton: "We have you at each table with a volunteer facilitator."
Katherine Simons: "Our whole church can gather around people and offer some solutions. And we just cover people with prayer from the minute they walk in the door. We have 360 volunteers. We have a lot of people so that no one has to feel like they have to be here every single time. We have a lot of back up. We've been training other churches because they've been asking, 'How do I get this going?' And I constantly remind everyone you can have a complete career ministry with just a handful of volunteers. When we started we just had one volunteer, one person who was meeting with job seekers to talk about what issues they were running into. And that's a whole career ministry."
Speaker: "Let me tell you what he said to let go of."
Katherine Simons: "Two years ago in conversation with the North Georgia Conference about how we could promote this, give more information to people to encourage them to start up career ministries. We put this book together called, Loving Your Neighbor, 34 writers, all the volunteers that passionately told their story about why they do this. We then had our conference and our materials together so that we could meet with all-sized churches-churches that only had 200 members and churches that had several thousand members. There's one theme in this book. Every single person has written about the exact same thing and it's loving your neighbor. None of this happens unless you are willing to reach out and really love your neighbor. When we talk to volunteers about what we're looking for the most from them, we're asking them just to love these people when they walk in the door and everything else will follow after that."
Participant at table: "It's interesting how you don't miss people until they're gone."
Katherine Simons: "If The United Methodist Church gets behind this and grows it and promotes it, we can change people's lives and our country in a way that will impact us for years to come. Together we can change our future."
Also, see: Career Care at Church
Posted: October 24, 2011