TGCvocations is a weekly column that asks practitioners about how they integrate their faith and their work. Interviews are condensed.
Craig Cooper is a hiring consultant and executive recruiter for Provisions Group, an information technology (IT) staff augmentation firm specializing in the healthcare industry. He also serves as an associate church-planting pastor at Redeeming Grace Church in Franklin, Tennessee. He and his wife, Laura, have been married for more than 15 years and have 4 children. He blogs at www.revivingthesoul.com.
What type of work do you do?
Our group provides consultative services, contract staffing, and direct placement for hospitals, healthcare companies, and IT groups nationwide. My goal is to recruit top talent and connect them with the companies we serve. I’m basically a matchmaker in the business world.
As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work?
My job showcases God’s providential work, in which he provides for and sustains his creation in an orderly and beneficial way. He provides for my clients by adding skilled and gifted workers to their teams. He also provides for the candidates that I place and for my company, our employees, and their families, including my own. I often marvel at how my work images God’s work of provision, compassion, and care. Even our company’s name reflects that purpose—Provisions Group. It whispers the glory of God’s providential work.
How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?
Nearly every day, I speak with at least one or two individuals who are unemployed. Some have lost their jobs as a casualty of massive layoffs; some were let go because they did not get along well with their managers; some simply left their positions on their own accord, thinking it would be easy to find new employment, only later to be disillusioned as the months have slipped by without pay.
Scribbled on a whiteboard next to my desk, I have a long list of names of people I have met who are currently looking for work. I pray for them regularly, and I am overjoyed when I am able to wipe a name off the list. One of the hardest parts of my job is knowing that, as much as I hope to change their situations, I am limited in my ability to help each and every one of them.
Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others?
The tagline under my email signature reads, “We change people’s lives by putting them to work in jobs they love.” To put someone to work in a job he or she loves is an act of love in itself. It is fulfilling to know our work has the ability to change someone’s life. I see it as an act of love to help someone advance in his or her career. I also see my work as a service—to both the clients and the candidates with whom we work. All of this reflects God’s work of provision and showcases the glory of God.