Texas Church Offers Hope and Job Help for Unemployed

After losing her job a few years back, Bonnie sought help at Woodlands Church in The Woodlands, Texas, with a resume that “screamed banking and finance,” says Kelly Harrison, job support ministry coordinator at the church, which hosts more than 16,000 worshipers each weekend.

“Her first reaction was, ‘Wow, I didn’t see this coming.’ But as Bonnie leaned on God, she took a personal inventory and found she didn’t even want to stay in banking.”

Bonnie’s search led to a new career as a senior consultant at a major staffing company. Harrison said Bonnie’s story emphasizes the ministry’s mission, found in Jeremiah 29:11: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Over the past 10 years, the ministry has used this piece of Scripture as a beacon for its participants. Their annual career fair packs the church with 130 employers, opportunities on every career level and thousands of job seekers. Workshops keep interview skills fresh. Weekly face-to-face meetings promote accountability.

“A lot of churches don’t know how to handle those between jobs,” Harrison says. “This effort takes special skills in HR and business. But mostly, it takes the ability to deliver a message of hope.”

Harrison maintains that the journey is more about walking with God than simply finding the next career move. That’s why they don’t keep track of the exact number of jobs received; they just remember stories like Bonnie’s.

“This thing we tell people is that even though you may have been caught off guard [by a job loss], God wasn’t caught off guard,” Harrison says. “Let’s take those gifts God gave you and look ahead.”

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