Friday, November 21, 2008

Unemployment and our churches

Below is a nice tid-bit from Focus on the Family's Pastor's weekly briefing:

Many of our people are being personally impacted by the economy and
some are being laid off from companies that are affected by the
economy. In most cases, people have little chance of returning to their
jobs as companies eliminate positions to try to survive as a business.
What are some of the best things that we can do as pastors to support
these folks?


We need to remind ourselves that unemployment is about more than a
paycheck. It's also about the frustration of not being able to
contribute to the life and welfare of the community. It is an issue of
faith for many of our Christian brothers and sisters. There are
significant psychological issues for many who begin to believe that
they have no value if they no longer have a job. The loss of a job is a
lot like the loss of a loved one, so there's bereavement and grief that
can eventually lead to depression and loss of hope.

As pastors, we can come alongside these people with our e-mails and
phone calls, but also be willing to sit down with them face to face. I
urge you to invite them out for breakfast or lunch or invite their
whole family over for a meal at your home. Work hard at listening and
brainstorming with them. In some churches where there are multiple
people unemployed, it might be helpful to form a support group where
these folks have the opportunity to dialogue with each other and to
pray together. I trust that many of you can persuade your church
leadership to use benevolent funds to provide food stuffs and an
occasional generous cash gift to help these people pay their most
essential bills.

The Apostle John's words must be heeded: "If anyone has material
possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how
can the love of God be in him?" (1 John 3:17).

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