UMTV: Keeping God in your Job Search
The U.S. job market is a tough place to navigate, but one United Methodist church in Georgia offers job seekers tips for success and a strong support system. The program combines preparation and prayer, and helps hundreds. Lilla Marigza reports.
Locator: Roswell, Georgia
Twice a month, hundreds of people meet in the fellowship hall at Roswell United Methodist Church near Atlanta.
Job seeker: "Some people have got a job but it's not their ideal job."
But this church business is about the other kind of business&ellipsis;finding jobs in a tough economy.
Jay Litton onstage: "How much longer you gonna wait before you send that email? Are you ready now?"
Jay Litton leads his church's job networking ministry.
Jay Litton, Roswell UMC Job Networking Ministry: "The last 10 years or so we've gone from up to 50 or 60 in a good market, and it'll go up to maybe 150 or so in a bad market. The last few years we've been running anywhere from 200 to 450 people."
Jay Litton onstage: "We like to celebrate when people get jobs."
Jay Litton: "We're helping the job seeker in their search, but we're also helping the volunteer grow in their faith, be a witness for Christ and be observed in practicing their faith by folks that maybe are non-believers and thinking, 'Hmm, maybe this Christianity thing is real and it's not just people going to church and going home.' It all starts with that handshake when you walk in the door. Hopefully you experience a warm greeting from that very first moment cause heads are kinda hanging down a bit. There's a little reluctance as to what am I gonna expect, I've not been here before. We believe that God should be part of the job search as well."
(Volunteer at clothing closet) "Do you like blue?"
Jay Litton: "Then after dinner we have about 11 different activities for people to be involved in for about an hour of time."
The successful program depends on volunteers willing to witness to people in transition.
Charlie Brown, Volunteer, Roswell UMC Job Networking Ministry: "I was officially hired on Monday as a permanent employee. I have health insurance again."
Jay Litton: "When you're at the dinner tables and you're a volunteer or you're hosting that table of let's say 7 or 8 people, you're now talking about Christ to 7 people you've never met before. We're too busy working, taking care of our family. I mean, what are the odds that we'll speak to anybody about Christ this week that we don't know? From a volunteer standpoint what a great opportunity to have strong eye contact, be in close proximity with what their needs and goals are and be able to offer some direction."
Micheal Dubois on phone: "There are some folks I will want you to talk to in our own organization."
Michael Dubois is a volunteer industry guide, a mentor for those looking for contacts in certain fields.
Michael DuBois, Industry Guide Volunteer: "It's amazingly humbling to work in a job ministry. As soon as somebody walks in our door or makes that phone call and makes contact with one of us, they know that there are people out there that love them. And that's because there's a God out there that loves them."
Jay Litton: "One of the most interesting things about a job networking ministry is, you don't need more than one person to volunteer. And by the way, you just need one person out of work. That's it. I have a concern that when people stop by and see what we're doing, it looks like this big huge production, big huge event. And it's like, 'Well, if we can't do that then we shouldn't do anything.' And that's just so wrong. So we go out of our way to let every church know that there should be somebody there at that church that should be willing to have conversations with people that are in transition."
Tyrone Griffin tried the program at Roswell, found a job, and kept the faith.
Tyrone Griffin, Job Ministry Participant: "The day I was hired, I felt relief. I was thankful. I had trusted God. So the biggest thing I thought was, 'Oh, this is what you have for me because I knew there was something."
Jay Litton onstage: "What we don't do is spend 40 hours a week tracking your success and say 'Look what we did at RUMC.' We let God handle the results. We're just here to serve you and make sure you're well-equipped to get that job on your own."
Jay Litton said he's heard from many folks helped by the job networking ministry. One woman had moved to the Atlanta area from Montana on her quest to find work. She was really struggling with her bills when she participated in the program, but was able to get a job later and she mailed Jay a check for $400 as a donation to the group that helped her in her time of need.
You can learn more about the Job Networking Ministry at Roswell United Methodist Church by calling 770-993-6218.And learn more about programs offered by The United Methodist Church at our Career Care at Church page.
Posted: August 29, 2012