United Methodist Church Welcomes Job Seekers
Unemployment in the U.S. is a major concern for some families. Several United Methodist churches have had programs for decades that reach out to job seekers. In 2011, we profiled one that has grown to host hundreds of people each month. Meet some of the volunteers, the seekers, and the now happily-employed folks who have experienced the job networking ministry at Roswell UMC near Atlanta.
(Locator: Roswell, Georgia)
Tyrone Griffin, Recently Hired: "The day I was hired I felt relief. I felt just thankful."
Charlie Brown, Recently Hired: "I was officially hired on Monday as a permanent employee. I have health insurance again."
Greeter: "Step right in and get a table."
Katherine Simons, Coordinator, Roswell UMC Job Networking: "Every 2nd and 4th Monday of every month, we meet here at Roswell United Methodist Church to offer our job networking program."
Louis Gruver, Job Seeker: "I come here because there's a lot of opportunities to hear from different people and their perspective on some of the things that I need help with."
Jay Litton, Founder, Roswell UMC Job Networking: "The easiest thing in the world is to talk to somebody out of work. So I thought, 'We're gonna turn this into a ministry. And we're gonna see if we can't help people.'"
Speaker on stage: "Believe it or not, it's easier to do a job search with other people. And we also believe it's easier when you do it with God."
(Voice of Jay Litton) "It starts at 5:45 and we have dinner at that time for everybody."
Bob Kashey, Volunteer, Roswell UMC Job Networking: "The new seekers walk through the door with a deer-in-the-headlights look, because they walk into a room that is much larger than they thought it would be. And then we tell them, 'You are not alone. Look around this room. Look how many people are just where you are.'"
(Voice of Katherine Simons) "At the dinner, we have spiritual message and discussion."
Speaker on stage: "He's really good at holding our anxiety. But he's not good at holding it if we don't give it to him."
Table leader to group: "What will I present God today with thanksgiving?"
Table discussion: "Usually when we come to Atlanta we don't have enough time, like to read a Bible.We have plenty of time to develop our relationship with God."
(Voice of Katherine Simons) "Following that at 7 o'clock, we have workshops. People will choose between having their résumé reviewed, how to write a résumé, how to be on LinkedIn, get their photograph taken by a professional photographer. And we also have courses that will deal with how to start a business and many others."
Louis Gruver, Job Seeker: "When I was first laid off I was honestly disappointed, a bit stunned. But I realized that in order to continue, I had to get myself up off the floor."
(Voice of Bob Kashey) "The ministry is very successful. We get emails from people saying, 'I just got hired.'"
Charlie Brown, Recently Hired: "On Monday the 3rd I got my job and it's great. I feel just so totally relieved. And then now I'm actually also a volunteer here."
Tyrone Griffin, Recently Hired: "I used to tell people,you will land a job when you land a job. God knows when that is. You don't know."
(People pray in chapel) "I don't know where you want me to go, what you want me to do. I just pray for your guidance."
John Harper, Greeter, Roswell UMC Job Networking: "A person who is unemployed, who is seeking employment, needs God in their life more than ever before."
(Voice of Jay Litton) "We estimate about 5% of those who attend actually attend our church in some way. So 95% of the folks are folks we're able to minister to."
(Voice of Katherine Simons) "I would love to see this program all over the country."
(Voice of Jay Litton) "We're able to share what we do at our UMC with other churches.
(Voice of Katherine Simons) Churches download the materials, they share them with the participants who come in."
(Voice of Jay Litton) "So that they can start a job networking ministry. And by the way, you just need one person out of work."
(Voice of Katherine Simons) "A program could really survive with some coffee and cookies and volunteers and a room to have the program in."
(Voice of Jay Litton) "United Methodists get the idea that you're supposed to be serving. You don't have to preach too hard on that topic."
Roswell's Job Networking also offers the Industry Guides program. Volunteers agree to take phone calls from job seekers in a certain field and give advice. Industry guides might spend 15 minutes talking with a job seeker or they may spend more time mentoring someone. Coordinators of the ministry say this is one of the most popular ways people can offer to volunteer, and participants say the advice is a really useful tool in the job search. Roswell currently has about 360 total volunteers who help in the jobs ministry.
Also, see: Feeding 'tummies and souls' of job seekers
This video was produced by United Methodist Communications. It was first published on October 24, 2011