Work From the HeartBrook Hills Contributor
I grew up in a church-going family, and whenever the doors were opened, we were there. But at the age of 16, I dropped out and didn’t attend another worship service for 35 years.
Had you asked me if I was a Christian during those years, I would have said “Yes,” because I had intellectual knowledge of God’s Word and belief that Christ is who He said He was. But in those first 16 years, I was never taught that I could have a personal relationship with Christ – nor that I even needed to. I was lost and did not know it.
In my adulthood, my career in the information technology industry became my idol. However, all of that changed in the month of my fiftieth birthday. I was reading the book of John from the study Bible that two of my work colleagues had given me as a gift. I was seeking wisdom, and the Lord gave me so much more.
I will never forget the moment of my salvation, when I realized that I was a sinner and understood for the first time God’s plan for my salvation. The focus and course of my life changed that day for eternity.
Eight years later, I retired and began to volunteer at The Lovelady Center, where I was asked to develop and deliver a job readiness workshop for them, which I have been doing for the past eight years.
Because of my involvement at The Lovelady Center, I was asked to join a planning team at Brook Hills to address the employment challenges so many in the inner city experience. That initiative eventually led to the establishment of WorkFaith Birmingham (WFB), where I am currently engaged as a volunteer assistant instructor, mock interview coordinator, and database manager.
Looking back, I can see that while I was worshiping a false idol, the Lord was equipping me with the professional skills needed for this incredibly rewarding work.
Many of the WFB clients lack self-confidence, deal with shame, fear relapse into addiction, and are uncertain about restoring familial relationships or regaining custody of their children. Many are also anxious about their ability to start anew. Most of them do not know how to find job opportunities, nor do they know how to properly complete a job application, write a resume, or appropriately answer interview questions – especially those about criminal backgrounds and gaps in employment.
The WFB workshop is designed to address so many of the issues our clients face. In addition to modules on finding job openings, completing applications, and resume writing, WFB focuses on the biblical view of work and includes instruction on core values such as punctuality, honesty, forgiveness, and teamwork. The two-week workshop provides an opportunity for each student to experience two mock interviews, as well as observe two of their peers in mock interviews, to prepare them for their job-seeking process.
WFB also provides a Jobs Coach who works individually and collectively with our graduates as they embark on their mission to gain employment after graduation.
We conduct two-week classes twice a month and have served 492 adults in transition in the Birmingham area since the first class was conducted in the spring of 2014. The employment rate for our graduates is 80%.
Retirement is not at all what I expected it to be – it is so much more! I thought I would be travelling, playing golf, or spending more time in my hobby as a nature photographer. But the joy of all those activities pales in comparison to being a part of something that can impact families for generations and souls for eternity.
I am blessed beyond measure to be a part of this ministry because I am teamed with a group of professionals who find enjoyment in their work (Ecc. 2:24) as they work with all of their hearts (Col. 3:23). I am inspired by our clients who are willing to step out of their comfort zones in faith as they prepare to take the path the Lord has already prepared for them.
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people.” – Colossians 3:23
Pam and her husband, Larry, grew up in the same community and were actually in the same sixth grade class. They will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this May and have three children and six grandchildren. They have been members of Brook Hills since 2001.
WFB is in need of volunteers to serve as mock interviewers and are specifically seeking those who have personnel management experience, including responsibility for interviewing and offering jobs to potential candidates. This is a three-hour commitment, two to three times a year. For more information about WorkFaith Birmingham and how you can get involved, visit workfaithbhm.org.