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With unemployment at record highs, churches and Christian organizations are stepping in to help job seekers both practically and spiritually.

Ministries such as Florida-based Christian HELP and Career Solutions in Dallas began helping the unemployed find work long before the recession hit in 2008. But since the unemployment rate shot up from 6.6 percent in October 2008 to 10.1 percent the following year to 9.5 percent today, the groups say the ministry needs-and opportunities-are growing.

Career Solutions founder David Rawles, author of Finding a Job God’s Way, says jobs ministries can reach people at their lowest point. He knows of people who have committed suicide after becoming unemployed and others who came to faith after taking career classes at churches.

“Most people don’t realize just how deeply affected people are, and the church is not doing near what it could do,” says Rawles, a former human resources executive at GTE and Disney who developed career coaching curriculum for churches.

So far this year, Christian HELP has seen a 47 percent increase in Orlando-area job seekers over 2009. In addition to employment seminars, the ministry provides Bibles and food, as many families are left at the brink of homelessness after job losses.

“The counselors are trained to ask, What brought you here today?” says Christian HELP Executive Director Sandi Vidal. “It’s really opened a door to ask what people’s needs are and then to talk with them about what God wants for them and how that impacts their search.”