January 2009

Church, toothpaste garner same loyalty

January 15 2009 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

PHOENIX — Protestants in the United States are about as loyal to their brand of toothpaste as their denomination, according to one research firm.  

A new poll by Ellison Research asked churchgoers who attend worship services at least once a month the denomination of the church they most often attend. Instead of broad terms like Baptist or Methodist, the survey asked for specific denominational brands, like "Southern Baptist" or "Free Will Baptist." Researchers then asked respondents what role that denomination would play if they had to find a new church.  

Just 16 percent of Protestants surveyed said they are exclusively loyal to one denomination, while half (51 percent) preferred one denomination but would be open to another. By comparison, 22 percent of Protestants said they would use only one brand of toothpaste and 42 percent indicated a preference for one brand while being open to others.  

Similar levels of brand loyalty exist for bathroom tissue (19 percent would consider only one brand and 40 percent had a preferred brand), pain reliever (16 percent and 42 percent, respectively) and soft drinks (14 percent and 56 percent).  

Ron Sellers, president of Ellison Research, said religious denominations face what most companies face in trying to develop brand loyalty — consumers with many different options who may not perceive strong differences among them.  

Six in 10 active Catholics said they would attend only one denomination, but researchers said the gap between Protestants and Catholics on the issue might be due less to brand loyalty than the number of choices. Unlike Catholics, Protestants in the United States can choose from many denominational groups similar in doctrine and practice.  

People who worship at non-denominational churches show higher loyalty to remaining non-denominational than other Protestants show to their mother church. Twenty-nine percent of current non-denominational worshipers said they would attend only a non-denominational church, while 32 percent said they had a preference but would consider joining a church affiliated with a denomination.  

Evangelicals were a little more sectarian than Protestants in general. Nineteen percent said they would consider only one denomination, 50 percent have a preference but wouldn't rule out a different choice, and 11 percent said they don't really pay attention to the denomination when they consider what church to attend.   

Ellison said denominational leaders "face many of the same challenges as do the leaders of brands such as Coke, Chevrolet, or Home Depot" in attracting worshipers.      

1/15/2009 3:41:00 PM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Annie Armstrong gifts top $58 million in 2008

January 14 2009 by Baptist Press

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Southern Baptists contributed more than $58 million to the annual Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions in 2008 — 98 percent of the 2007 total, according to North American Mission Board (NAMB) President Geoff Hammond.

"It's been a tough year," Hammond told Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) leaders meeting in Talladega, Ala., where he made the announcement.

"We were raising Annie Armstrong funds in the middle of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices,” Hammond said. "To raise $58 million in a recession was a miracle and we praise God for that.”
 
North Carolina Baptists contributed $6,064,763 to the offering, down $418,000 over 2007, according to Baptist State Convention Comptroller Robert Simons. Presenting a large thank you board signed by NAMB staff, trustees and missionaries, Hammond expressed a special thank you to WMU, which promotes the offering nationally.

"We don't do it on our own and we can't do it without you," Hammond said. "Thank you for what you have done."

Wanda Lee, executive director of WMU based in Birmingham, Ala., called the Annie Armstrong results "significant because they show what the partnership between WMU and NAMB can do in a difficult year.

"I pray in 2009 all of our cooperative efforts will continue to bring in the resources that our missionaries need to reach the United States and Canada for Christ," Lee said. "We pledge to do our part, although we're having significant changes in our own budgets." The 2009 goal for the Annie Armstrong offering is $65 million. This year's Week of Prayer is March 1-8. Its theme will be "Live with Urgency: Sowing Together for Harvest."

The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering accounts for 46 percent of NAMB's budget. The other key channel of funding is Southern Baptists' Cooperative Program by which churches' gifts support state, national and international missions and ministries. The national missions offering was established in 1895 by Woman's Missionary Union to support Southern Baptist Convention missionaries in the United States. In 1934, the offering was named in honor of Annie Armstrong, WMU's founder and tireless champion of missions.

Offering materials were sent to churches in December. For quick service, call (866) 407-6262. Posters, prayer guides and offering envelopes are distributed by state WMU offices. Churches should contact WMU-NC directly to order.

1/14/2009 9:58:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Mathis interim president at Fruitland

January 13 2009 by Staff and agency writers

Former Baptist State Convention (BSC) president Greg Mathis has been named interim president of Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute.
 
The appointment was announced Jan. 13 by Milton A. Hollifield, BSC executive director-treasurer. The Fruitland Board of Directors unanimously affirmed the decision, he said.

Mathis, pastor of Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville and as professor of evangelism for 24 years at Fruitland, will direct the school’s day-to-day operations until a new president is named. Mathis said he will remain pastor at Mud Creek, which is about 10 miles from the Fruitland campus.

He said he is not a candidate for the presidency at Fruitland.

“I fully know my long-term calling is at Mud Creek Baptist Church,” he said. Mathis was awarded the J.C. Canipe Teaching Award at Fruitland in 1997. He served two terms as president of the BSC and as president of the North Carolina Baptist Pastor’s Conference. Mathis has also served on the BSC Board of Directors, executive committee and budget committee. He also served on the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee and resolutions committee.

Mathis complimented Kenneth Ridings, who retired Jan. 1 as its president. Mathis is also Ridings’ pastor.

“This appointment is both an honor and an obligation for me,” Mathis said. “I approach this task as a sacred trust to all North Carolina Baptists as well as all others who pray for this institution. It is my prayer that during these months of transition this campus will be known for an education that is on fire for Jesus Christ and points others to the gospel path of salvation.”    

1/13/2009 10:49:00 AM by Staff and agency writers | with 3 comments



Gardner-Webb loses another faculty member to death

January 13 2009 by Staff and agency writers

UPDATED 4 p.m. Jan. 14 Boiling Springs — Funeral services for Dan Goodman, professor at Gardner-Webb University’s (GWU) School of Divinity, will be 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, at Boiling Springs Baptist Church.

Goodman, 40, died unexpectedly Jan. 13, according to school officials. He was professor and Bob D. Shepherd Chair of New Testament Interpretation.

Family will receive visitors 9-11 a.m. at the church on the 15th. Gifts in lieu of flowers will go toward college scholarships for Goodman's surviving sons, age 11 and 15.

“The Gardner-Webb University family has been profoundly saddened by the loss of Dr. Dan Goodman,” said Frank Bonner, Gardner-Webb president since 2005. “He was loved and admired by students, faculty, staff and all who knew him.

“Dr. Goodman was all that a university family could wish or hope for — a great teacher, an outstanding scholar and a wonderful colleague.”  

Goodman is the fourth staff or faculty member at Gardner-Webb to die in the past 30 months, three of them unexpectedly.

Sid Haton, director athletic bands and instructor in music, died on campus Sept. 18, 2008.

In June of 2006 Vice President for Development David Boan was killed in a car accident and Bruce Rabon, assistant vice president for development, died from cancer.

Goodman joined the faculty of the divinity school in the fall of 2003 as associate professor of New Testament. 

Prior to coming to North Carolina, he was associate professor of New Testament Studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, where he was twice named Professor of the Year. 

In 2004, Goodman was one of only ten theological school professors nationwide to be awarded the Theological Scholars Grant (by the Association of Theological Schools and the Lilly Foundation) for his project on the history of Baptist-Jewish relations. 

Goodman regularly contributed to book reviews and journals. His primary research interests included Christian origins, Jesus and the gospels, hermeneutics, and Jewish-Christian dialogue. He also served as an interim pastor in Baptist churches in New York, New Jersey, Florida and North Carolina.

Rabbi Irving Greenberg, former chairman of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and a national leader in Jewish-Christian dialogue in America, described Goodman as “an up-and-coming scholar” and “a leader in the new vision of interpretation and learning.”

The cause of Goodman’s death is unknown and funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. He is survived by a wife and two sons.          

1/13/2009 10:38:00 AM by Staff and agency writers | with 0 comments



Homeschooling numbers continue climb

January 13 2009 by Erin Roach, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A new report by the U.S. Department of Education finds that the number of homeschooled children in America has risen steadily over the past five years and stood at about 1.5 million in 2007.

Homeschooling experts, though, place the number closer to 2 million and say the discrepancy can be attributed to homeschooling parents being less inclined to respond to government surveys.

The report from the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the federal government's education department, said in December the number of homeschooled children was up 74 percent from 1999 to 2007 and 36 percent since 2003.

Among the top reasons parents gave for choosing homeschooling over traditional education: concern about the school environment, to provide religious or moral instruction and dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools.

"From 2003 to 2007, the percentage of students whose parents reported homeschooling to provide religious or moral instruction increased from 72 percent to 83 percent," the report said.

Months earlier, Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, released a factsheet saying parent-led, home-based education a decade ago appeared to be cutting edge and alternative but now is bordering on mainstream in the United States.

Ray said in July there were an estimated 2 million to 2.5 million children in grades K-12 who were home educated during 2007-08. He also said the method was growing quickly in popularity among minorities, with about 15 percent of homeschool families being non-Anglo.

In addition, Ray, author of Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling from B&H Publishing, noted that homeschooling relieves American taxpayers of more than $16 billion that would have to be spent if homeschooled children attended public schools. Ray's factsheet addressed the academic performance of homeschooled children and said they typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public school students on standardized academic achievement tests.

Homeschool students typically score above average on college admissions tests, he said, and increasingly they are being actively recruited by colleges. Zan Tyler, an acquisitions editor and speaker for Apologia Educational Ministries, a homeschool curriculum and publishing company, told Baptist Press an increase in homeschooling will have a "positive benefit on society."

"They're not burned out from education. (Homeschool students) have a real love for learning by and large, and they have an independence in their learning," said Tyler, a former homeschool resource and media consultant for B&H Publishing. "They sort of own their own education. I think that's important.

"More than that, as Christians, another interesting study Brian Ray did was I think it was 94 percent of homeschoolers said they agreed that the religious beliefs of their parents are also their own religious beliefs," she said. "And this is at a time when we statistically see the 18-29-year-olds leaving the church in record numbers.”

In 1984, Tyler and her husband Joe started homeschooling their children in South Carolina, and the state superintendent of education threatened her with jail for not sending her children to a traditional school.

Through eight years in court, the Tylers advanced the cause of homeschooling in their state. In 1990, the Tylers founded the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) and through the state legislature won a statute giving SCAIHS the same power to approve homeschooling programs as local school boards. Tyler said she wasn't sure whether the dramatic increase in the number of homeschooled children would tempt the federal or local government to intervene in the future.

"I don't know how much the increased numbers have to do with it as much as the fact that government always seeks to control or intervene," she said. "We saw that in the California decision where an appellate court there sought to make homeschooling illegal."

After she left B&H and before she accepted her current position at Apologia, Tyler served as the national grassroots director for the Parental Rights Amendment, a campaign seeking an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to guarantee parental rights in a wide variety of things including educational choice."

"With the economy, it will be interesting to see what happens because more mothers are going back to work. But also as more people work at home, then they're able to blend home education with working at home and all of life. It's really a very natural fit," Tyler said.    

1/13/2009 3:48:00 AM by Erin Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Bush legacy to be shaped by faith-based programs

January 13 2009 by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

WASHINGTON — To hear Jean Patterson Cushman tell it, President Bush's faith-based initiative has been critical for her Baltimore organization that helps ex-prisoners find new jobs.    

Infused with $2.3 million in grant money from a Department of Labor initiative, Cushman's group, Episcopal Community Services of Maryland, has moved from helping 50 men and women a year to 200.    

"I would say it's made a fundamental change in what we could do," said Cushman, who hosted Bush during a visit to her agency nearly a year ago. "We were a little program, sort of going along by ourselves. ... It's just opened up so many doors for us."      

Love it or hate it — and many feel that strongly about the initiative — the program started by Bush days after he entered the Oval Office has been a major contributor to the debate over the proper intersection of God and government.    

Its long-term effects on public policy may well be determined by the Obama administration — which has vowed to continue the program after a top-to-bottom review — but experts say it already has made significant changes in how religious groups can partner with governmental agencies.    

Which is not to say the program has been universally embraced. In fact, the initiative has been battled in the courts since its inception, and an atheist-led legal challenge resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling that experts say will have long-range effects on taxpayers' ability to challenge any manner of government spending. 

Church-state watchdog Rev. Barry Lynn, for one, wishes the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives had never opened its doors.    

"I think this is truly one of the most corrupted and useless programs in modern presidential history," said Lynn, whose Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State has filed multiple suits against the Bush program during its eight-year run.      

While the Clinton-era "charitable choice" welfare provision expanded existing federal funding for faith-based social programs, the Bush administration added a "very splashy push" to public-private partnerships, said Ira C. Lupu, a professor at George Washington University Law School.    

Lupu recently co-authored a report that assessed the program's legal impact, and doubts that such partnerships will ever again be "categorically disqualified" for delivering social services.    

"The constitutional era of mandatory exclusion of intensely faith-oriented organizations from these kinds of partnerships is over," said Lupu. "It's really quite indelibly marked on the consciousnesses of both sides that things have changed, that if it's done right, it can be done in a way that satisfies the Constitution. If it's done wrong, it will invite lawsuits."    

As Bush prepares to yield the White House to President-elect Barack Obama, the faith-based office issued a final report Jan. 12 to its religious and secular partners, declaring it a success.    

"...(F)ederal partnerships with faith-based and other community organizations have greatly expanded," the president wrote in "Innovations in Compassion."

"The initiative has also extended and strengthened the capabilities of these groups. Most importantly, together we have brought life-changing aid to millions in need."    

According to White House tallies, nonprofit groups received $15.3 billion in competitive grants in fiscal year 2007, an increase of 3.9 percent over the previous year. That figure included $2.2 billion to faith-based nonprofits, which have received federal grants of more than $10.6 billion since the initiative got underway in 2002.    

Yet federal dollars were subjected to numerous legal challenges. A federal appeals court ruled that a prominent faith-based prison rehabilitation program was unconstitutional, while the Supreme Court determined that atheist taxpayers lacked standing to challenge the overall faith-based initiative.    

Critics also accused the White House of using the office as a political tool to appease religious conservatives in the GOP base, and to build electoral bridges to blacks and Hispanics. Even some staff left the project disillusioned and disappointed.    

"After the 2004 election they cut the White House faith-based staff by 30 percent, 40 percent, because it became clear that it had served its purpose," David Kuo, a former deputy director of the faith-based program, recently told Vanity Fair magazine. The White House's political shop, he added, viewed many religious conservatives as "pains in the butt who had to be accommodated."    

But on the ground, groups like Episcopal Community Services of Maryland say the initiative has boosted their professionalism, made them more accountable and increased their ability to help those in need at a deeper level.    

Melissa Rogers, who directs the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University's School of Divinity, applauded the Bush White House for codifying rules that say the clients of social service groups cannot be discriminated against on the basis of religion. She also praised the initiative's international efforts to fight AIDS and malaria, which she said were "warmly and widely embraced."    

At the same time, Rogers, who recently co-wrote a report on federal/faith-based partnerships, urged Obama to work with Congress to avoid "a kind of whiplash" for social service providers who must operate under rules that can change from one administration to the next. Bush, for example, used executive orders to open the office and its 11 related centers in federal agencies, but executive orders can be repealed or rewritten by following administrations.    

"It's not fair to the providers, it's not fair to the people that they serve, and it's not fair to taxpayers who have to shell out money for a bunch of changes that are not durable," she said.

1/13/2009 3:34:00 AM by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service | with 0 comments



Saddleback: Domestic violence no excuse for divorce

January 9 2009 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

UPDATE and CORRECTION

(Editor's note: Orginally Associated Baptist Press attributed the comments and perspective in this story to Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren. This story updates and corrects that story, issued Jan. 8, and more correctly attributes the domestic-violence comments to Saddleback teaching pastor Tom Holladay. ABP regrets the error.) 
  

Comments on the Saddleback Church website that the Bible does not permit a woman to divorce a physically abusive spouse have triggered concerns among advocates for victims of domestic violence.

Pastor of the Southern Baptist megachurch is Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life. Warren has been in the news of late as the surprise pick to deliver the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration.

Audio clips on a "Bible Questions & Answers" section of Saddleback's website feature a speaker who says the Bible condones divorce for only two reasons: adultery and abandonment.

The speaker is not identified on the page, but a spokesperson for Warren said it is Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at the church in Lake Forest, Calif.

"I wish there were a third [reason for divorce] in Scripture, having been involved as a pastor with situations of abuse," Holladay said. "There is something in me that wishes there were a Bible verse that says, 'If they abuse you in this-and-such kind of way, then you have a right to leave them.'"  

Holladay said Saddleback's counseling ministry advises separation and counseling instead of divorce in abusive marriages, because it's the only path toward healing. "There's an abusive cycle that's been set up," he said. "Separation combined with counseling has been proven to provide healing in people's lives."

Holladay said there's nothing in the Bible that says a spouse must tolerate abuse. "There's nowhere in the Bible that says it's an attitude of submission to let somebody abuse you," he said. "That is not submission. So we recommend very strongly separation."

He defined what he meant by physical abuse.

"When I say physical abuse, I mean literally somebody is beating you regularly," he said. "I don't mean they grab you once. I mean they've made a habit of beating you regularly. You need to separate in that situation, because that's the only thing that's going to solve that."

Obama's invitation to Warren has been criticized from the left because of his opposition to gay marriage and from the right by Warren's fellow religious conservatives, who fear his prayer will convey approval of Obama's left-leaning social policies.

But Saddleback's published views on domestic violence are what recently caught the attention of Because It Matters, a blog by a lifelong Baptist and abuse survivor who uses the pseudonym Danni Moss to give anonymity to her children, family and former in-laws.

The commentary "expresses a distinct lack of understanding about the nature, heart and spiritual roots of abuse," Moss said.

"I think he believes he is doing right and doesn't realize his ignorance or how much he is hurting people, so this is offered without personal judgment," she added. "But I also believe categorically that it is dangerous."

A women's-rights blog named The New Agenda called the views "alarming," especially in light of recent statistics showing a 42 percent rise in reports of domestic violence from 2005 to 2007. 

Attempts to reach Warren for his take on the controversy Jan. 8 were unsuccessful. Kristin Cole, a spokeswoman for Warren who works at A. Larry Ross Communications, confirmed the voice on the website is Holladay's, but said she does not know when it was recorded.

Holladay also fielded a question about whether a Christian spouse should remain in a "miserable" marriage.

"God sees you as one, and the Bible says they become one, and so the answer, the Bible answer, is yes," Holladay said.

"I often say to people when they're facing this decision, really, you're choosing your pain in this moment, because it's going to be painful either way," he said. "If you stay in the marriage there is the opportunity for reconciliation and for the loss of pain, but there is going to be short-term pain on the way there. There's no way to not have pain."

Holladay said there is an "immediate feeling of freedom" after a divorce -- but in the long run "there is lifelong pain in divorce."

"Does God expect me just to live with this pain?" he asked. "No, I think he expects us to ask him for wisdom to do the things that would cause the pain to begin to be solved. He says we're one and as Christians, as believers, the Bible says a husband is to sacrifice for his wife and the wife is to respect her husband."

"So if that's not happening," he said, "I think you have not only the right but also the responsibility to keep pushing for that, to not just settle for the pain."


EDITOR: The first comments below were written when the original story attributed the remarks to Saddleback pastor Rick Warren. I've left them up because the discussion of abuse and marital relationships is still valid and I would like to see it continue. -- Norman Jameson

1/9/2009 6:14:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 8 comments



Pew follow-up reveals religion confusion

January 9 2009 by Baptist Press

WASHINGTON — A new poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that a significant minority of self-identified evangelicals believe many religions can lead to salvation, even though some of those evangelicals apparently are confused over what the term "religion" means.

The poll seeks to bring clarity to a much-criticized poll by Pew in June that found 70 percent of Americans, including 56 percent of white evangelicals, believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life." Several Christian commentators criticized that first survey's general wording, saying Christians often refer to their denomination as their religion. In other words, those critics wondered: Were the evangelicals who were polled saying they believe people within multiple Christian denominations can obtain eternal life, or were they saying that Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus also have a path to salvation?

The new poll asked follow-up questions, and its findings do — as least partially — support the claims of those critics. Nevertheless, the poll contains very little good news for the evangelical church.

In the new survey, 47 percent of professing evangelicals said they believe "many religions can lead to eternal life," a decline of nine points from the earlier poll. Pew then asked that same group how many non-Christian religions they believe can lead to eternal life. More than one-fourth (28 percent) said "none," giving credence to the theory that some evangelicals confused "denominations" with "religions." Still, 72 percent of those who said "many religions can lead to eternal life" cited at least one other non-Christian religion.

Among the general population, 65 percent of Americans — a drop from 70 percent in the earlier poll — said there are many paths to salvation.

 The fact that a significant number of professing evangelicals reject a key biblical doctrine should be a great concern, said Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"This report reveals that a good number of those who attend evangelical churches either misunderstand or repudiate the gospel," Mohler wrote on his web site. "The New Testament reveals not only that Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father (see John 14:6) but also that the gospel of Christ is the only message that saves (see Romans 10). This claim has been central to evangelical conviction — at least until now.”

The newest Pew survey found that church attendance made a difference in one's beliefs. It also discovered a striking gap in beliefs between evangelical Protestants and mainline Protestants. Among white evangelical Protestants who attend church weekly, 37 percent — a drop in 10 points from the earlier stat — said "many religions can lead to eternal life." But among white mainline Protestants who attend church weekly, 75 percent believe there are multiple paths to salvation, and among white Catholics who attend church weekly, 85 percent hold to that view.

1/9/2009 6:05:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Cary church helps job seekers make connections

January 8 2009 by Patty E. Shaver, BR Graphics Editor

Professionals exchanging handshakes and business cards fill the room with loud chatter. They are engaged and enthusiastic. They are also unemployed. Most of them had been laid off from their jobs, making them part of North Carolina’s 7.9 percent unemployment rate.

Most of the job seekers heard by word of mouth about a networking group called Colonial JobSeekers (CJS) that meets at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary on Monday mornings. Here they can find a sense of community, accountability, networking and job search skill development in a confidential and professional environment.

Colonial is experiencing the largest turnout since 2001, said Paula Bryan, director of Colonial JobSeekers.
 
Recently, the number of job seekers in the networking group has more than doubled, mostly due to area layoffs.

“Many have said that their time of unemployment has redirected their lives. If it wasn’t for this transition, it may not have happened,” said Bryan, as she spoke to 145 members Dec. 8. “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28),” she said.

The group meets on Monday mornings to help job seekers get ready and motivated for other job search activities throughout the week. “Networking is about building relationships,” Bryan said. “Come with the objective to encourage someone else. The more you reach out and help others, the more it will strengthen you.”

“Unemployment can drain your hope if you let it,” Bryan said. “The No. 1 way to find a job is networking.” Someone who knows you may be the one to open the door to your next job, she said.

After devotions, the professionals split up into special interest groups consisting of individuals with common professional backgrounds and skill sets. Here they exchange job leads and discuss upcoming interviews.

“Colonial JobSeekers supports professionals from a personal level,” said Kevin Hackney of Cary. Hackney is one of a number of job seekers who attends and volunteers at Colonial as a way to give back and to help others.

Developing relationships during the career transition is very important, Hackney said. Colonial provides a place for professionals to meet others and network. Colonial is Christ centered, and makes the point that the job seekers’ ultimate relationship needs to be with Jesus.

Sharon Cox, a career coach for Career Directions/Resume Writing,  assists with forwarding job leads and leading a small group of job seekers in career transition at the weekly meetings.

“JobSeekers is not just a networking group, said Cox. “It provides spiritual and emotional support, accountability, and job seeking skills” such as resume writing and interviewing skills.

“Colonial differs from other groups as this is the group with heart,” said Cox. The work gets done by a dedicated group of volunteers, many of whom are job seekers themselves. Some volunteers from the community dedicate their time to serve as speakers, counselors, recruiters, etc.  

“It is important for community employers to be made aware of the available pool of qualified candidates through local networking groups like Colonial and to list their job openings with these groups,” said Bryan.

Many job seekers suffer disappointment from losing their job, but they can choose two different paths: despair or hope. “If you don’t have anything to hope for, you will despair,” said Hackney. “We try to give job seekers hope by sharing the gospel with them. We encourage them by letting them know that they are not the only ones out there looking for a job. Others are getting interviews and jobs.” Hackney said. “There are things to be joyful about.”
 

Financial health package

Across three issues of the Biblical Recorder and numerous postings online, the BR staff compiled stories dealing with financial health, budgeting, teaching children about money, stewardship issues, etc.

1/8/2009 3:41:00 AM by Patty E. Shaver, BR Graphics Editor | with 0 comments



Using many search methods gets job faster

January 8 2009 by Patty E. Shaver, BR Graphics Editor

Has your job been downsized, restructured, outsourced, or just plain eliminated?

You’re not alone. It’s happening everywhere, everyday.

In the current labor market there are more people looking for work than there are available jobs. That means there is a lot of competition for jobs which requires a lot of hard work. In fact, looking for work can be a full-time job in itself.

According to Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition (OOH), “finding a job can take months of time and effort. But you can speed the process by using many methods to find job openings. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that people who use many job search methods find jobs faster than people who use only one or two.”

Most effective job search methods
The most successful job search methods are networking and researching employers and applying directly. This is how to tap into the hidden job market — finding the jobs that are not advertised.

Networking is when you make personal contacts by talking to friends, family members, acquaintances — everyone you can think of — who might know of an open position. Job seekers can expand their network by joining networking groups and professional associations. Some networking groups offer resume and interview preparation workshops and other resources.

Research companies of interest and apply directly. Find out about the company from its web site or see if anyone in your network knows the manager or anyone else who works there. Try and arrange for an introduction through your network or contact the hiring manager directly and ask for an interview.

Other job search methods
The least effective job search methods involve applying to advertised positions, such as: classified ads in newspapers, trade journals and magazines and Internet job posts. The large number who see and apply to these ads decreases the probability of one person getting hired.

Other options to consider include applying to job ads through the state employment services office, private employment and staffing agencies, career centers, and community non-profit agencies.

Temporary or contract work may be a good option, especially during a lengthy job search. Not only can this bring in some money, it could also expand your network and possibly lead to a permanent position.

Working as a volunteer or intern, or joining professional associations related to your career is another way to network or discover job openings.

Remember to use several different methods spending the most time on the most effective methods — networking and applying directly to employers. Spend less time on the least effective methods. Also, find out how others in your field found their jobs and do the same.

Resources for job seekers

  • Christian Women’s Job Corp/Christian Men’s Job Corp — Provides a Christian context in which men and women in need are equipped for life and employment; and a missions context in which women help women and men help men.

  • Jobs for Life — Equips churches and faith-based organizations to provide job training and support enabling everyone to secure meaningful employment.

  • Colonial JobSeekers — A networking group that meets on Monday mornings at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary.

  • LinkedIn — An online network of more than 30 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries.

  • Resume tutorial — For resume tips and samples, use the online resume tutorial. 


Financial health package
Across three issues of the Biblical Recorder and numerous postings online, the BR staff compiled stories dealing with financial health, budgeting, teaching children about money, stewardship issues, etc. For a complete list, click here.

1/8/2009 3:34:00 AM by Patty E. Shaver, BR Graphics Editor | with 0 comments



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