Sunday, Nov 28, 2021

Paychecks with a Purpose: Ministries Help Job Seekers

After losing shift work and blue-collar jobs, some Christians are thinking more carefully about the work of their hands in the marketplace.

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No one dreams of seeking work after retirement, but sometimes a pension isn’t enough. West Virginian Henry Shinn, 61, found himself there last year as the COVID-19 pandemic wracked the nation.

With nothing but an unlikely product design brewing in his mind, he approached Crea Company—a faith-based organization that works with creators to bring their ideas to life.

Within months, Crea Company had helped him formulate a plan and secure the machines and materials necessary to launch West Virginia Trail Chips. The company produces durable wooden tokens in the form of unique, collection-worthy business cards. Shinn now earns a steady income from his part-time business, working from home and creating his products in the Crea workshop for an affordable monthly fee.

Crea’s mission-based framework to provide a “future that inspires hope” for West Virginians is one example of how Christians are helping one another through unsteady economic times and job difficulties.

Bonus? It comes with the perk of built-in coworkers. Fellow creators, who also believe in the Christian mission of the local “makerspace,” are there to ask questions, give advice, and offer direction.

“You are just more apt to be friendly and helpful in that kind of environment,” Shinn said in an interview with Christianity Today.

Crea cofounder Travis Lowe, who also pastors Crossroads Church in Bluefield, West Virginia, saw interest rise soon after the pandemic spawned. After starting Crea in 2019, its purpose shifted to meet the community’s needs as the pandemic hit.

“Our original model,” said Lowe, “was to offer community groups [the opportunity for] maker classes—like, come make a doormat …

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