Every second and fourth Monday night, there are so many cars in the (RUMC) parking lot you might think it's a Sunday morning. But the people who pack the church on Mondays need to be ministered to in a different way and that's exactly why the church began its job-networking ministry over two decades ago.
Resumes in hand, local jobseekers have sought council and direction from RUMC’s ever-growing job-networking ministry.
The ministry began in 1989 and for the first few years, only a handful of volunteers and jobseekers came together. Now, over 20 years later, more than 350 volunteers help run the job-networking ministry at RUMC. There are at least eight different workshops that run throughout the day for jobseekers to take advantage of, and on average, around 220 jobseekers come to each of the bi-monthly meetings. Everything from a hot meal to professional resume critiques to donated interview attire is available to jobseekers – all for free.
Seasoned industry professionals, like John Harper, donate their time to helping others get back on their feet. Harper has been a part of the job-networking ministry for 11 years. As a past Vice President of Operations at ZEP Manufacturing, he knew he could help jobseekers in the interview process.
“I employed and interviewed thousands of people and when I moved my letter to the church here, I knew that I needed to volunteer,” he says. “Here God is a part of the job search because unemployed people need Him now more than ever.”
Over 140 industry volunteers help jobseekers with specific backgrounds get in touch with the right people. The ministry has gained national attention for being highly successful, but RUMC doesn’t follow up on the job hunters to see when they get a job. Program Coordinator Jay Litton says RUMC doesn’t keep track of the numbers because then it would be a spotlight on them, not God.
“We just want these people to know that we care. We want to use our resources to help individuals in our community get connected to the right people,” Litton says. “We’d rather do that than help track our own success.”
The church as also helped jumpstart other similar ministries throughout the area, including on at Northminister Presbyterian Church on Old Alabama Road. The program at Northminister, which meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month, provides networking opportunities and tools to help improve the job search, as well as industry mentors and free resume reviews for job seekers.
For more information on RUMC or the Crossroads Career Network they're apart of, visit them online.