10 ways your church can support those who are unemployed

Helen Thorne | January 31st 2013

Different people will have different needs but here are our top tips for supporting those looking for work.

1. Pray for them and with them.

God answers prayer. He loves to. So encourage job-seekers to express their trust in God by turning to him for their job needs and all their other needs.

2. Read the Bible with them

God’s truth is transformational. Helping people understand what the Bible says about work - and God’s sovereignty and love – can help get a right perspective on a desperately difficult time.

3. Provide them with encouragement and accountability

Job-hunting is hard. It’s gets harder and harder the more rejection letters you get. So encouraging someone to keep trusting in God’s provision, keep applying for jobs and not giving in to despair can be invaluable.

4. Provide them with job-search advice

Sometimes it just helps to have someone go over a CV; do a mock interview or proof-read a covering letter. Galvanise the managers in the church to help those job-hunting to understand what employers are looking for.

5. Provide voluntary roles to maintain and enhance skills and benefit the body of Christ

CVs can soon get out of date. Skills need maintaining. Giving someone a voluntary role within the church can help stem staleness. And, of course, can give someone a chance to develop their gifts and, most importantly, serve the Kingdom well.

6. Help them understand biblical money management

It’s so easy for debt to spiral out of control when joblessness hits. Sharing practical tips and biblical principles on money management can help people to manage their money well.

7. Offer financial support

Sometimes no amount of money management can make ends meet. In moments of genuine need it’s entirely right that brothers and sisters in the church dig deep and offer financial support. Offers of dinners can be appreciated sometimes too.

8. Point them to job opportunities

Always pass on job opportunities that may be suitable. Opportunities in their current line of work. And opportunities in ministry too – if they have the character and gifting to move in that direction.

9. Listen to them and their family

Sometimes a cup of coffee and a chance to chat about the stress is what’s needed most. So be willing to set aside that time and grasp the privilege of sharing one another’s burdens.

10. Help them grow

Encourage them to use every opportunity: every job-centre conversation, every extra trip to the school gate, every additional moment of flexibility in the timetable to honour God. What they’re going through may hurt but it’s a great chance to grow!

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Helen Thorne

Helen Thorne is Director of Training and Resources at Biblical Counselling UK and an experienced counsellor. She formerly worked with London City Mission and has written Purity is Possible, Walking with Domestic Abuse Suffers and 5 Things to Pray for Your City. She attends Dundonald Church in Raynes Park, London.