• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
  • General Contact
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The Return on Investment

My mother studied economics in college and my father is a banker with J.P. Morgan, so needless to say the term “return on investment” was a commonly used phrase around our house. We were always looking for ways to do things more efficiently, and while my parents always advocated hard work, they valued working smarter rather than simply working harder.

So when I pursued vocational ministry, I was shocked by its utter “inefficiency.”  Surely there was a better way to help more people with less effort. If one could just create the right curriculum, or design the right program, or find the right volunteers, then surely this work of loving others could be done more efficiently. I have found over my few years of ministry that this is not the case. God’s economy is not man’s economy, and He is not bound by my sense of efficiency or lack thereof. Real ministry is costly, and we are not promised a particular return on investment. Whether you are parenting, leading a small group, or mentoring a Jobs for Life student, your call is to faithfulness and not to success.

However, this does not mean that we are careless with our time and resources, or seek intentionally inefficient processes just to appear more “personal.” God has called us to real work and He has given us minds to think about best practices and wise stewardship.

So what if I told you that it took over 200 volunteers serving for over 200 hours for just 11 Jobs for Life graduates last year? The math does not look very good. The return on investment appears small. But what if I told you that those 11 graduates had 12 children among them? Each one of those children has benefited in multiple ways from the Jobs for Life investment. They heard about Christ and His love for them in the childcare program. They benefited from parents whose sense of confidence and dignity increased as they learned about their value and felt the support of the volunteers and classmates.

The extended families and neighbors benefit from this Jobs for Life experience as well. Parents were proud of their children, and neighbors now have someone down the road who has more connections and a greater knowledge of opportunities. It isn’t always perfect; sometimes families or friends resent a JfL student’s growth because it reveals their own shortcomings. But for many students their friends and family are encouraged and inspired to greater change themselves. 

Then there are the employers in our community. Seven of those 11 students are now employed full time, and their employers are benefiting from the skills and character of our Jobs for Life graduates. One employer who hired 2 graduates said she’s so grateful for both of them because they have a greater sense of purpose, and they know what it means to stick with a job even when it’s hard. Another employer said it was so nice to gain an employee she could trust from the beginning.

Is the return on investment beginning to look a little more encouraging? Very often it is easy to think about people in a vacuum—only as a Jobs for Life student—forgetting that they are a parent, child, sibling, co-worker, neighbor and friend. Each one of these facets is affected as they gain confidence, purpose, and support! So while ministry, and Jobs for Life particularly, is time-consuming and costly, remember that God has given us the opportunity to serve not only individual students but also many others in our community who are connected to them.