Food for thought.
In all my many years of teaching and mentoring young leaders,
it is rare indeed for me to have to deal with church leaders who have been made
unemployed. In the grand scheme of
things churches tend not to make their pastors or Leaders unemployed. This is
not say that it doesn’t happen; when there is a down turn in tithes and offerings,
the target for layoffs are church staff-
reception, PA’s, paid interns and employed auxiliary church staff. Church
Boards only focus on the senior leader as a last resort and in my memory it has
One thing I can say though is that while I have found Church
Leaders to be very pastoral with their words when it comes to dealing with the
unemployed, it is rare for me to find a leader who is truly empathetic, a
leader who can really relate to what a person is going through. I spoke this
week with a Christian recruitment agency and was told that they have seen
applications for jobs quadruple
So what is the answer? How do Christian leaders deal with
the many people who find themselves without jobs? How do you deal with the fact
that other Christian leaders have lost their jobs?
What I am about to propose is equally relevant to Christian Leaders and congregation members who find themselves in the unemployment que.
Firstly and I know this sounds hard but don’t say “I am
praying for you”. It doesn’t help a person who is grieving a job they have lost
and is confused and not sure, right then and there, which way is up. It should
be an unspoken given that you pray for your flock.
Secondly if you ask the question; “How can I help?” be
prepared to help and have tangible answers to the question. Human beings need to know that they are secure
in the areas of finance, food and shelter. Finance and money will be forefront
in a person’s mind. Can the church give them money to pay a month’s rent or mortgage?
Does the church have a food bank to make sure that the family has groceries? Does the church have access to a debt counselling
service to help a person with bills and the payment thereof? Once a person knows these can be taken care of
in the short term they are better able to focus on the future.
Thirdly there is a need to remember that all of the above
needs to be financed. It may need the church to put on hold the funding of certain
programmes to meet the needs of the immediate crisis. A Christian leader needs
to ask for help from wealthy business people in the congregation (if you are
fortunate enough to have them) or in the wider community. Don’t just ask for
money, ask for practical help. If you
don’t ask you won’t get.
Lastly, remember to pray with them not for them there is a
difference. You are their shepherd and they are members of your flock. You have
I know the above doesn’t solve every problem but it is times
like these that the church is needed more and more.
P.S. I have just lost my job.