“Can’t put a price tag on that!”
Noordyk Business Equipment in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has used chaplains for three years. Owner Bill Noordyk believes the chaplains help provide an outlet for his employees to express concerns and needs that they may not be able to bring directly to him.
“The chaplain can say things to the employee that I as the business owner probably can’t,” Mr. Noordyk says.
One employee Chaplain Jim Emery has assisted is Jeff (whose last name is being withheld due to confidentiality). Not only has Jeff dealt with the deaths of his parents and father-in-law, but he’s also discussed his daughter being in an abusive relationship. That situation has involved court proceedings.
“Though he’s not required to be there, Jim will show up at the hearings,” Jeff says. “He knows these things can be very traumatic, so he’s there for moral support. His presence is comfort.”
Mr. Emery has also organized a small group to help young men successfully make the transition from the educational system to the workplace. And he’s working to form a group for single parents.
“We work with human resources departments to make sure we’re meeting the needs of their staff,” says Marketplace Chaplains’ Michigan Executive Director of Operations Greg Boisture.
One chaplain visiting the business learned that an employee’s marriage was in danger of falling apart. The chaplain kept meeting with the employee and eventually referred him to a faith-based counselor. Though all these conversations were confidential, the employee eventually confided in Mr. Noordyk after the crisis had passed.
“He came into my office and said that he had been married a long time but that his marriage had never been stronger. To have an employee come up and share that with me … I’m welling up just thinking about it,” says Mr. Noordyk. “You can’t put a price tag on that. If we ever had to make budget cuts or changes, there’s a thousand other things that will go before this program ever goes.”
Lee A. Dean, “Not just for the military: More chaplains come to employees’ aid,” The Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2020.