North Raleigh: Community

Jobs for Life takes unique approach to helping the poor – Turchetti

Jobs for Life is trying to change the traditional model of helping the poor.

Instead of donating food, shelter and clothing, the Raleigh-based ministry aims to pair those who can work with those who need workers.

“At Jobs for Life we believe the church is uniquely equipped to address the devastating effects of unemployment and poverty by helping men and women experience the dignity of work through honest relationships, mentoring, Biblically based training and an ongoing community of support,” said Shay Bethea.

Bethea will help lead a Jobs for Life Citywide Training Session on Thursday, Aug. 4, at Christ Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Jobs for Life was created in the early 1990s when a pastor and a construction company executive struck up a friendship.

The Rev. Donald McCoy of Pleasant Hill United Church of Christ in Fuquay-Varina prayed with Chris Magnum, vice president of C.C. Magnum Company, when they were working out a deal to repave the church parking lot.

Magnum pulled together donations that turned the $11,000 job into a $100 expense for the church.

As the two men chatted, Magnum said he couldn’t find enough workers. McCoy said he knew people in the community who needed work. And so the Jobs for Life partnership was born.

“Every person is supposed to use their God-given gifts to work together with others in the community to make their community flourish,” said Byron McMillan, another leader of the Raleigh session. “When a person can’t work or use their gifts for the good of others they feel less than human, that they don’t have any value and aren’t contributing.”

The Jobs for Life ministry platform helps churches, nonprofits, business leaders and community leaders work together to build relationships with a goal of eliminating poverty. It is based in Raleigh and operates across the United States and in five other countries.

“Jobs for Life sets the table for people to experience the reconciling ministry of Jesus and His church,” McMillan said. “Jobs for Life is a practical way to live out the great commandment to love God and your neighbor as yourself. Walking with someone and helping them find and keep a job transforms lives and is a reflection of Jesus’ love for all.”

Training sessions will be Aug. 4 and 5 at Christ Baptist Church on Newton Road. Registration is required and is available online at

The goal is for attendees to leave the sessions with a greater understanding of poverty and God’s design for communities. Participants can also learn how a relational ministry can be used to alleviate poverty. Topics will include obstacles to employment and how participants can launch their own Jobs for Life ministry.

Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at