For one Atlanta church, the answer to their biggest challenge was found in the very community they were trying to help.
Three years ago, when North Point was looking to start a church in the Decatur, Georgia area, they knew it must be designed with the same excellence displayed across their other existing campuses.
North Point’s goal is to create comfortable church environments for the unchurched. A goal made more difficult by the fact that Decatur City Church was initially set up to be a portable location, meaning they would not have a building of their own.
A partnership with Emory University allowed them to use one of their conference centers as their weekly hub. Now they faced the challenge of launching a large-scale portable church with a very complicated logistics system, one that would require set up and tear down every single weekend.
Weekly “load in” begins at 12am on Sundays, an 8+ hour process that takes over 25 team members to accomplish. Maintaining this team proved to be a formidable task.
Ryan Fitzgerald, Service Programming Director at Decatur City Church, shares about their early struggles.
“For the first year, we navigated relationships with people,” He shares, “Finding the right people to set up and tear down was one of the biggest stressors.”
In the months following, they continued to struggle with finding a reliable and hard-working team they could build a system around. The situation reached a tipping point.
“We were desperate,” Ryan remembers, “We were even looking on Craigslist.” They looked into various labor solutions, to little or no avail.
In early 2017, the church held a special Sunday focused on refugees, who make up a vast majority of the population within the nearby city of Clarkston.
“Loving our neighbors is what we want to be known for,” Ryan explains, “We spent a Sunday talking about the refugee situation—a big topic in the news at that time.”
As the church leaned into how they could better serve their neighboring refugee community, they were introduced to an idea that might also solve their biggest challenge. Ryan was connected to Chris Chancey, founder of a new company that was staffing local businesses with the refugee workforce.
“We bumped into the idea of what if Amplio could provide people to set up and tear down the church,” Fitzgerald shares, “It seemed like a good opportunity to put our money where our mouth was.”
The church hired a handful of guys through Amplio, and the results were beyond what they could have hoped for. Within the first couple of weeks they were able to achieve the consistency they had been longing for. The collaboration proved to be a big win-win.
“They are incredibly talented, and we get to pitch in and invest in [these] people [who are] figuring out how to make a life work here,” Ryan shares, adding that the church has also established many partnerships in Clarkston, as refugees have become a “big focus” for them.
He shares about the pride the newly hired refugees displayed after just a couple weeks on the job. “One day, at the end, they all took a selfie with the stage behind them to show their families what they did. Here they were, being exposed to high quality production, rivaling [that of] any production industry. They were proud of what they created and [we] felt great about giving them the opportunity to help us in a big way.”
Patrick Riesenberg, who was brought on staff in July of this year, chimes in on the value Amplio workers have brought to the church. Patrick, who works more closely with the team than any other staff, says the coolest aspect of the relationship is the team’s investment in what they do.
“The effort, energy, and excellence they bring is fantastic,” Patrick shares, “It’s a consistent group of key players. They took the time to learn the system and figure out how they could do it better. Seeing that level of ingenuity and dedication has been remarkable.”
Ryan, who was responsible for their onboarding, describes the impact the team has made on overall efficiency.
“When we started working with Amplio, we had a couple [other] labor solutions we were employing at the same time,” he explains, “[In many cases], we were able to replace two workers with one refugee. We want to be great stewards of what [God has] given to us. That was a huge win.”
This partnership has proven beneficial for both parties. Decatur City Church has gained hard-working, reliable, and invested team members. This not only solved their labor shortage problems, but became a great way for them to give back to the community. At the same time, these refugees have gained pride, knowing they are doing meaningful work, while providing for their families.
Strategic partnerships like these are growing all over Atlanta, and into other cities, as Amplio connects great companies with the talented refugee workforce.
We believe this untapped labor pool is the labor shortage solution you’ve been looking for. To connect and learn more about our services and the benefits of hiring refugees, visit our website at www.ampliorecruiting.com.
Photos courtesy of Decatur City Church