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October 2, 2020

Mission Unstoppable: Human Resources

Unstoppable is the word that comes to mind when you look at the early days of the church. Conflict and controversy threatened to take down the young group but, instead of destroying it, the challenges fueled the fire that spread across the first-century landscape. 

And now, in these challenging times, we are reminded of our mission through the following stories from Lake Union department leaders what being the Church is really about — God’s people doing God’s work together by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Human Resources

Growing older is a complicated experience. You are grateful for the years you have had; you can look backward and see so much growth and accomplishment. You have a better understanding of the areas in life where you feel like you failed. You know who you are and are able to inspire people with where you have been. But when it comes to looking forward, that can feel blurry.  

Retirement almost feels like starting a new identity. Often the first things people ask when we meet someone is "What do you do?" It feels as though what we do plays a large role in who we are. So, what happens when we retire? When we no longer do the things we have always done. Who are we then?  

In HR, we can’t solve all of life’s big questions. We know employee benefits and policies. We think about procedures and state legislation. But I like to think that at the Lake Union we get to do a bit more than that. Sometimes we get to journey with our current and former employees and help ease some of the anxiety that retirement in today’s economic reality can bring.  

One initiative we launched in March 2019 was to hold a Retirement Seminar. This was the first Retirement Seminar held in our building. Del Johnson, the former Plan administrator of the NAD Retirement Department was our presenter. If you have ever heard Del present, you are always impressed at how he shares his information through storytelling, thus making it quite memorable. 

The goal was to reach as many current employees and former employees who were within five years of retirement. The Lake Union was able to coordinate the seminar by collaborating with all four conferences as well as inviting Andrews University to participate. Del Johnson travelled across the Lake Union territory to present at each Conference. Our conference room was overflowing and our parking lot was at capacity.  People need guidance as they prepare for this journey and, as a church that prides itself on serving, this felt like a great way for the Human Resources Department to add value and clarity.  

In total, we assisted over 200 people to better equip them with the knowledge they needed in preparing for retirement. We were amazed and delighted with the number of people who registered. We reached out to our LUC Communication Department and they agreed to film the seminar. Technology made it possible for even more people to gather the important information they needed without physically attending. 

When we think of great ministry stories, I don’t think anyone thinks of us. When we think of making an impact for God’s Kingdom, rarely will your HR director come to mind. But that is the beauty of service — all of us get to do our part, some as speakers, some as educators or medical professionals. I like to think that HR gets to make an impact, too. I like to think that the policy keepers and number crunchers, the people with the less obvious gifts and skills, get to quietly make their contributions. It’s not glorious or typically even article worthy, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve. I believe that many hands will make light work, and I am blessed to journey with you.  

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace (I Peter 4:10 CEB). 

Vicki Thompson, assistant Human Resources director 
Vicki.Thompson@lakeunion.org