His name was Vince. He came up to me one Tuesday (after the Easter Job Transitions Group meeting wrapped up) to say “Thank you for this group. I’m new, and today was really helpful.” He started to walk away and I said “So, Vince … how can I help with your search?” He looked back at me, his eyes filled with tears, and said “I’m not sure. I don’t know what I need. Got any ideas about what I can tell my wife and kids? I’ve been unemployed for 15 months. I’ve had 29 phone screens, and not one of them has turned into a real interview. I just don’t know what to tell them anymore.” 6 weeks later, Vince was at work in a leadership role at a reputable company.
Mary had been unemployed for 6 months and was about to lose her house. At 63, she was convinced she would never work again. 3 days later, she got hired by a former coworker who, until then, she had been too embarrassed to call.
These are just two of hundreds of stories like this. Since December of 2008, over 2300 people have come to our group (40-80 people per week). Only 136 of them have been Easter members. 94% are something else. Talk about blurring the lines between church and community!
I would never claim that I – or our job transitions group – were the only reason Vince and Mary were able to stand back up again and go get those jobs. However, I know for certain that we – and God – had a hand in it. Every Tuesday morning, Easter offers a safe, inspiring place for so many to gather and get great advice, wonderful connections and a bucket full of “Yes … you can!”
For many Christians, church is just a place you go on Sundays. Before joining Easter, I thought “church” was done by pastors and staff … and that the congregation just showed up when they needed something. Now I know that “church” is all of us. At Easter, Sunday is the special place we go to recharge our batteries … so we can go out and do God’s most important work: the stuff that happens in the spaces between the Sundays.
I am so proud of what happens in our church every Tuesday morning. But here’s the crazy thing: the Job Transitions Group is just ONE of the over 20 important ministries running at Easter on any given day! If you’re wondering what our church is doing for our congregation and our community, show up for a community meal or local mission event. Better yet, turn to the person sitting next to you on Sunday and ask them if they’ve tried out any of the small groups of ministries at Easter. I think you’ll be delighted by what you hear. If not, perhaps you can inspire each other to try something new in the spaces between your Sundays. What’s waiting for you on the other side of that is pure magic.
God’s work. Our hands.