Empower 50: Restoration Through Work & Faith

In Philippians 3:13, Paul says that he is "...reaching forward to what is ahead." God has been gracious to WorkFaith in 2018, but there is still much work to be done in 2019. The clients God has entrusted to us need expanded aftercare support that includes recovery from substance use, care for domestic abuse survivors, career development services, and financial stability education. While providing this additional support, WorkFaith must honor our mission to empower clients with the skills and ethics to secure employment.

In order to accomplish these tasks, I would like you to consider continuing your partnership next year by participating in Empower 50. By December 31, our goal is to fund workshop participation and career development for 50 clients in 2019. Your gift of $50 per month will allow someone to experience restoration through work and faith in order to glorify Christ in our city. You can participate in Empower 50 by following the instructions below. You can also make a one-time gift by clicking here. In addition, please share this campaign with anyone that wants to see Christ at work in Birmingham.

May God bless each of you,
Andy Blake, Executive Director

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Looking back, reaching forward

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In 2018, God has continued to bless the efforts of WorkFaith Birmingham in a variety of ways. A new partnership was born with The Salvation Army in January that has empowered 68 clients with the knowledge, skills, ethics, and confidence to experience God's good design in their lives. Over the course of the entire year, classes conducted at The Lovelady Center were consistently at maximum capacity, filled with women that needed to find restoration through career development and understanding of the biblical view of work. In June, God provided numerous employers that participated in our first job fair that led to direct employment for some and excitement for all. Altogether, God allowed WorkFaith to serve 229 people in 2018 and to maintain an 80 percent employment/education rate for our graduates.

But numbers don't tell the stories of people. Clients like William, who has struggled throughout his life to maintain employment because of addictive behaviors, said that WorkFaith and his classmates, "...gave me the confidence to strive forward and overcome some of the obstacles that hindered my work history. With the use of scripture, prayer, biblical principles, and the wonderful leadership of Mrs. Smith, I am ready to face the challenges of society's workforce." Or people like Shauntae, who wrote, "after beginning this walk with WorkFaith, I have been given renewed confidence that I can become a productive member of society.  Also, it has helped me to remember that God knows all that I have gone through and that he has a plan for me and my life."

Click here to read the rest of our update on how God is working at WorkFaith and how you can be involved in the upcoming year.

WorkFaith Class 80 Graduates

WorkFaith Class 80 on graduation day at The Lovelady Center.

WorkFaith Class 80 on graduation day at The Lovelady Center.

In October, WorkFaith celebrated the 80th graduating class. We are amazed at how God has continued to empower and restore lives through work and faith. While serving over 650 alumni, God has blessed WorkFaith with maintaining an 80 percent success rate.

Class 80, like each class before, is a picture of lives empowered and confidence built. Because you are willing to invest in our clients, 15 women at The Lovelady Center developed resumes, practiced interviewing, studied the Biblical worldview of work, and heard the Gospel, all while preparing to experience God's good design. 

Click here to read the full update.

Celebrating More than 600 WorkFaith Graduates!

Class 77 on graduation day, Friday, September 21 with their instructor, Deborah Smith.

Class 77 on graduation day, Friday, September 21 with their instructor, Deborah Smith.

WorkFaith Class 77 pushed our alumni total to over 600 individuals. God is continuing to bless our clients with jobs, educational opportunities, and skill certification programs. 

Class 77 was our ninth class at The Salvation Army, and was by far the most diverse WorkFaith class this year. Clients in this class represented a variety of educational, economic, and social backgrounds.

Delphine is from West Africa and speaks multiple languages. Tashima is from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and her first language is Choctaw. Brantley and Shelly came to the class already having received Associates Degrees. And Marlon has over 25 years of experience as a construction project superintendent.

In this unique context, the entire class demonstrated a great sense of unity and concern for each other. 

Read the rest of our September newsletter here.

WorkFaith Welcomes New Executive Director, Andy Blake

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Andy spent over 15 years working for Sherman Industries in management and sales. While working in the concrete industry, Andy was responsible for managing day-to-day business throughout the entire state of Alabama, including personnel for over 30 plants and a fleet of over 150 drivers. During his time in sales with Sherman, Andy was tasked with both commercial and residential sales that covered a large territory including four counties. Before that he also worked for Liberty Mutual Insurance selling property and casualty insurance policies.

In 2012 God began to reveal to him an urgent need to share the gospel with unreached people groups. After spending much time in prayer and preparation, Andy and his family relocated to the Metro New York City area to serve the people that God has moved there from across the globe. Their team, commissioned by The Church at Brook Hills, taught English and Citizenship classes, hosted meals and Bible studies, and began language learning.

In 2017, after serving for a third year on a two-year plan, God began to lead the Blakes back to Birmingham. Upon arriving back in Alabama, Andy became the bi-vocational pastor of a small church in Gardendale, and in October 2017, he accepted the position of Jobs Coach for WorkFaith. “Through my time at WorkFaith, God has been building a passion for the underserved and has given me a great desire to see Birmingham reflect the love of Christ.”

In preparing for this transition, Andy has been working on a ministry plan for WorkFaith to prepare for the future of the organization. The plan highlights the need for more community involvement including partnerships with churches, employers, other ministries, and individuals that God is preparing to come alongside WorkFaith in our mission. In addition, the ministry plan includes greater development of aftercare services for current students and alumni. “My hope is that we will continue to provide excellent instruction in job readiness and career development, and begin to develop an aftercare program that enhances our alumni’s chances to succeed.”

Andy has been married to his wife, Lisa, for 25 years, and they have been blessed with four children. You can reach Andy at andy.blake@workfaithbhm.org.