Get Value Out Of Job Ministries Even When You Aren’t Religous

I remember I was on a radio interview with Jim Stroud and Karen Mattonen when they asked me if I’d approached Job Ministries, to let them know about JibberJobber.  I had no idea what that was, but they were very enthusiastic about it (come to think of it, they are always enthusiastic about a lot of things :p).

My experience with church job search support was limited to what I had experienced in Utah, with the LDS “Professional Workshop,” which was a free, two-day event that was quite eye-opening.  I had also gone to a number of job search networking groups sponsored by the LDS professional employment folks, which was immensely helpful during my search.

The workshop and the networking groups were very focused on helping professionals get back into the workforce, and welcomed anyone (there was no question of your religious beliefs).

Since then I’ve experienced two other amazing “job ministry” network groups – one in Houston (Between Jobs Ministry) and one in Minneapolis.  In Houston I understand they draw about 200 people a week, mostly professionals and executives.  In Minneapolis there were about 75 people when I went to speak.  I’m always amazed at the calliber of people at the network groups, and the helpfulness that each person brings to the meeting.

If a job seekers asks me for advice in their job search, I’ll frequently ask them if they have found a local job ministry network group to attend.  In fact, you SHOULD find as many job ministry network groups as you can and go to ALL of them.

Why wouldn’t you go to a job ministy group? Are you an Atheist?  A non-believer?  A sinner?  It’s not the right religion?

None of that matters. This isn’t a place to talk about religious beliefs or differences, although you may hear that here and there.  This is a place to help get individuals back into the workforce.

I wrote a post last November titled Religion’s Role in a Job Search.  Go read that, and then search on Google for job ministries near you (or check out the Work Ministry site).  Don’t let your religious beliefs preclude you from the amazing networking opportunities out there!

10 thoughts on “Get Value Out Of Job Ministries Even When You Aren’t Religous”

  1. I would agree with Jason. In Minneapolis/St. Paul there are over forty networking groups and maybe half of them are church job transition groups. These church groups seem to understand job transition and offer a place to learn how to network, pure networking, offer specific training or just support. I believe that Mr. McKay was correct when he said, “dig your well before you’re thirsty.”

    The grand daddy of all networking groups in the Twin Cities started in 1987 by St. Andrew church. Their concept is simple and very helpful. Allow individuals in job transition to give their 30 second elevator speech and ask for one name at a target company. A single name (and phone number) to contact that may be able to help them network into the company. How did the church get thousands of names? It started with church members and also includes the thousands of people who have become alumni. In fact, I was a founder or was a founding member of two sales & marketing network groups that started at St. Andrews church! Both groups have helped over 800 individuals.

    Keep an open mind and to me, networking is about paying it forward. Why not start a job transition group at your church?

  2. I’m a member of a networking group in Danville, California. You can contact me for more information; NOTE, you must physically attend at least 1 meeting in order to become a member of the group. The group currently has 2,100+ members and attendance at our weekly saturday meetings is around 75+.
    There is NO charge for attending / joining, and we’ll even throw in ‘breakfast’!

    Job Connections is an outreach of Community Presbyterian Church (CPC) in Danville, California. We support and encourage unemployed people in their search for employment. Recruiters and hiring
    managers throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area access our group to find candidates to fill employment opportunities.

    Meeting Time: 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM, Saturday mornings

    Note – Newcomers must attended an mandatory introductory session (Rm 213)

    The first hour is focused on networking with others. The second hour features guest speakers that have tips, techniques and advice to help our members improve their job searches and to more successfully manage the transition between career opportunities.

    Meeting Place: CPC, 222 West El Pintado, Room #100, Danville, CA

    Signs are placed throughout the CPC campus directing visitors to the Job Connections meeting room.

    Driving Directions:

    From Walnut Creek, travel south on Highway 680, take Diablo Road exit, at the bottom of the offramp, turn right onto Diablo Road, travel about a quarter mile, turn right onto W. El Pintado and go north about a quarter mile. The church will be on your right.

    From San Ramon, travel north on Highway 680, take Diablo Road exit, at the bottom of the offramp, turn left onto Diablo Road, travel about a half mile, turn right onto W. El Pintado and go north about a quarter mile. The church will be on your right.

    Contact Information:
    * Feedback & Volunteering – (Dean Tracy)
    * Guest Speakers – (Doug Neeper)
    * Workshops – (Michael Power)
    * Success Teams – (Rod Ford-Smith)
    * Coffee Team – (George Richardson)
    * Membership Team – (Colleen Howe)
    * Newcomers Orientation – (Nick Hall)
    * Special Needs – (Dean Tracy)
    * Administration – (Doug Neeeper)

  3. Hi, Jason – excellent point. Job ministries are alive and well in many communities! When I first moved to Cincinnati back in ’95, I connected with the Job Search Focus Group at Hyde Park Methodist Church. It was a very well-organized effort. I presented resume-writing workshops there monthly for several years and gave large-group presentations on various career topics several times a year. Most of the speakers were excellent. As far as I know, the group is still thriving, and I would encourage anyone in the Cincinnati area to check it out.

    And you’re absolutely right – your religious beliefs or denomination are not a factor. (I’m not a Methodist!)

  4. Now that I’m back in job searching market I’ve found several but only joined two due to gas prices. One is at JCCC, meets once a week and has about 30 to 40 people. The other is at Prince of Peace catholic church (I’m not catholic) at the ungodly hour of 7 am and there is about 15 members. Both are very well organized, and work with other groups in the area with speakers and workshops.

  5. Jason,

    I really appreciate the import of this post, and I affirm completely the practice and participation in as many of these groups as possible. The quesion I would have is how to do so when you are not looking in the community where you live for any jobs? I have not searched for any groups here locally where I live because I am not planning on staying here, but I’m also too far away to be able to connect with other groups there, although I know a number of them that I would meet with if I was there. Do you or anyone else have any suggestions?

  6. It’s not religious networking, its NETWORKING, or at least this is the case at the group I belong to, Job Connections. Its an outreach of the Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, CA. Job Connections “supports and encourages unemployed people in their search for employment”. We meet for 2 1/2 hours on saturdays from 9-1130AM, provide ‘breakfast’ and coffee, and a speaker that talks about some aspect of a job search. Its true the meeting opens and closes with a prayer. The group now numbers 2,000+, I can assure you the a minority of the membership belong to CPC (the church) or are members of the presbyterian faith. Besides this, we are specifically discouraged from talking about religion or politics. The focus of this group is on helping each other get a job. We have a yahoogroup (you can’t join w/o attending one meeting). One the the key things the yahoogroup does is to allow members to ‘ping’ the group asking for contacts at XYZ company. Surprisingly, every time I’ve asked for help, I get between 1-6 responses, some ‘better’ than others. In fact, the only reason I got my last job, was because two people in the group who had no real reason to help me, did help me, by introducing me to members of the management team at my last employer.

  7. OK, I’ve let this topic sit for over a week so I could think about it carefully. And I have decided that for once, I disagree with you, Jason.

    I’m certain that job ministry groups are well-intentioned, and very helpful for the right members. However, I’m also certain that they “brand” users; if that’s part of one’s personal brand then great, but if it’s not, then the user may have a problem.

    Let me give you a counter-example: I am equally certain that joining a group like Atheist Network would be a bad move in job search if atheism is not part of the image you wish to project. Like it or not, religion-based job search and networking is just as touchy as politically-based networking. I think you should consider carefully whether a particular network or help group closes doors for you, or at least sends a message you might find problematic in certain circles.

  8. @Anemone – i’m glad you disagree, … with so many people agreeing with me my ego inflates too much 🙂

    I’m not familiar with Atheists, but in the job ministry network groups I’ve been to, religion is not a big issue, the big issue is helping people out in their job search.

    I can’t disagree with you. Regardless of what I recommend people check out, there will be those who will absolutely not go, and that won’t be the end of their job search. I’m not sure that me going to a Jewish network group, and a Methodist network group, and a Mormon network group, and an Atheist network group, is going to brand me in any way other than anxious to network… however, I see your point, and know that in Utah there is definitely an issue with being branded with one religion – so you get a lot of polarization here that I haven’t experienced elsewhere (except in Mexico, with such a high density of Catholics).

    Adverse affect on the job search? I have no idea… of all the people I’ve talked with about their job search, religious affiliation has never really been brought up.

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