The Significance Of Meaningful Work
In 2022, we kept hearing about the “great resignation” and “quiet quitting.” In 2023, layoffs and inflation are the headlines. No matter the year or the economic cycle, there is great need for work that helps restore people to wholeness. But work isn’t just something we have to deal with in a fallen world. It’s part of God’s good design for our dignity as His image-bearers. This goes all the way back to Genesis 1-2, where God created man and woman and placed them in the garden and told them to to subdue the earth—to exercise their creative potential in His good creation through their work.
Unfortunately, in many communities, unemployment and underemployment are major issues. And these issues are compounded by a lack of opportunities, poor education, globalization, past incarceration, transportation issues, and more. Without the right tools and resources, it can be nearly impossible for people to overcome these obstacles.
But what can happen when churches, Christian nonprofit organizations, and business partners work together to equip and support people to find and keep work or create businesses that help them flourish? The short answer: lives are transformed.
At the Chalmers Center, we have the privilege of walking alongside churches and Christian organizations that are helping people on the margins overcome challenges to meaningful employment through our Work Life program. It is exciting to hear the stories of transformation that they are witnessing in the lives of their participants.
Pam found herself alone with bills to pay and a grandson to support. She had limited income and didn’t know how to stretch the money she was making. Eventually Pam found herself in need of financial assistance and contacted First Presbyterian in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Through the ministry of First Presbyterian, Pam was able to get assistance with her immediate needs, but more importantly, she was able to learn how to steward her resources through the Chalmers’ Faith & Finances program and how to find and keep meaningful work through the Work Life program. Now Pam is involved in facilitating these ministries for others who find themselves in difficult situations. You can read more about Pam’s story here.
Jasmine Brown, from Birmingham, Alabama, found herself without a job, lacking direction, and paralyzed by fear. After two years of caring for her sister through a terminal illness, losing both her mother and father, and a significant employment gap on her resume, she wasn’t sure where to begin to rebuild her career.
But God was at work to make a way for Jasmine. She connected with a supportive church and a Christian nonprofit that was using Work Life. Over the course of the program, Jasmine connected with a team of people who encouraged her and helped her get back on her feet. You can read more of Jasmine’s story of overcoming challenges here.
There are people in situations similar to Pam and Jasmine in every city of the country–people facing circumstances that overwhelm their resources and cause them to feel fearful and alone. The need is great, but the good news is that as people who have experienced Christ’s reconciling love, we can work together to bear witness to the hope of restored relationships with God, self, other, and creation.
This focus on restored relationships is part of what sets Work Life apart from other job readiness programs. It doesn’t just teach people how to write a resume and send them on their way. Instead it addresses the broken relationships at the root of poverty and unemployment. To read more about how groups are working together to bring restoration to their communities through Work Life, check out this post.
Utilizing programs like Work Life, the church and Christian nonprofits can partner together to support our vulnerable neighbors, walking alongside and supporting them as they do the work of change. If you’re interested in exploring how your church or nonprofit could be involved in helping people in your community find and keep meaningful work, we invite you to schedule a consultation call with a member of the Chalmers staff to learn if Work Life is a good fit for your ministry.
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