“The idea is to give a bonus offering, like a company would health care or mental health care.”
Jeremy Johnson estimates that people spend roughly 90,000 hours at work in their lifetimes, creating a lot of stress along the way coupled with what they bring to the job from home.
He has launched a new startup company in Chattanooga targeted at providing outsourced and on-call chaplains, or what he terms "chief spiritual officers," to businesses.
Called WorkChaplain, Johnson said it will offer someone employees can talk to at the work site.
"We provide encouragement and show them that someone cares," said Johnson.
The aim is to provide a wellness offering to businesses, which he said is "a missing piece" in the array of benefits companies may give their workers.
"The idea is to give a bonus offering, like a company would health care or mental health care," the 40-year-old entrepreneur said. " We want to be there for spiritual care and make the employee healthier and the business healthier."
Most businesses, he said, don't have someone available who can help an employee struggling with a marriage or the loss of a loved one.
As envisioned, WorkChaplain would provide someone to visit the business weekly as well as be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Johnson.
"We want to be available and flexible," he said.
While all its chaplains wouldn't be licensed professional counselors, they'd provide advice and, if needed, a referral for professional help, Johnson said.
"All of them would have ministry experience as a pastor or minister or working with a church," he added, though the company isn't affiliated with any denomination.
Johnson said WorkChaplain "definitely is a Christian company."
"We don't want to get into theology," he added. "That's not why we're here for. We want to give people hope."
At the same time, if someone says he and his family doesn't have a church, WorkChaplain can offer them options.
While his business ramps up, the idea is to begin on a contract basis with chaplains.
"Eventually, there will be full-time chaplains," Johnson said.
Pricing for companies is in the $600 a month range for a business up to 50 employees, and it increases depending on the headcount, he said.
"We want to be able to help a startup and also help major corporations as well," Johnson said.
A native of Chattanooga and an East Ridge High School graduate, he left the city to attend college at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville.
Ordained as a pastor in a nondenominational church, three years ago he and a business associate, Chris Hughes, co-founded The Ministry Mechanics based in Houston, Texas.
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Go online to www.workchaplain.com.
The Ministry Mechanics is a consulting firm that works with churches mostly on staffing and evaluations, said Hughes. He said that business, which has worked in over 250 churches in 26 states, also helps with websites, branding and building design.
Hughes said Johnson "found this vision" for WorkChaplain and moved to Chattanooga.
"I'm very excited about the potential it has," Hughes said. "The way he's approaching it is looking at how to build a healthy work culture. Culture really matters inside an office building or inside of a team."
Johnson said he thinks the new company is unique and something needed in the Scenic City.
"I'm excited to launch it in my hometown," he said, adding the he's already negotiating with some companies.
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.