About one in every ten Americans is out of work. If you find yourself unemployed, you shouldn’t go through the experience alone. God has commanded us to not only assemble together for worship, but also for fellowship. The reason for fellowship is not just so we can have a social activity but so that we have a source of encouragement and mutual support. Hebrews 10:24,25 says it this way:
“Stimulating each other to love and good deeds and encouraging one another…”
If you are unemployed or you are someone concerned for the unemployed in your church or community, you should start a support and fellowship group for the out of work. Here are 10 suggestions for starting a support and networking group:
1. Meet weekly at the same time and place. A weekly group can become part of a regular schedule and is more easily remembered.
2. Have a fixed room in which to meet. For those inside your church, meet in the church. However, if you want to make it an outreach, new people will come more readily if the meeting is at a restaurant or hotel meeting room. Make sure the meeting room has easy access so visitors will be able to easily find it.
3. Have 3 or 4 active or retired business people commit to leadership. These are crucial for contacts and networking in the business community.
4. Open with 15 minutes of fellowship and refreshment. Coffee and conversation can relax new people and allow attendees to get to know each other. A light meal is an extra.
5. Have 20 to 30 minutes of devotional Bible reading and discussion. Allowing conversation and sharing, based upon the Word of God, is a source of real encouragement. Scripture selections should relate to issues of unemployment.
6. Have universal sharing. Each attendee should be able to express what jobs they’re seeking, actions they’re taking, contact needs or problems. Ask first time visitors to tell a little about their backgrounds. Encourage all attendees to take notes to pray for, and perhaps network with, one another.
7. Don’t rely on special speakers. Guest speakers are okay, but if that’s all you do, you’ll quickly run out of folks to invite.
8. Provide time for one-on-one interaction. Attendees may need help with a resume or other job search material. You’ll also find that spiritual issues are just as common and may be more comfortably addressed in private.
9. Supply some helpful, printed materials. Local job centers, employment agencies, or even the internet can provide information on networking, resume writing, internet job searches, and interview skills.
10. Have a time of prayer. This allows you to ask if there are any specific requests about interviews, family concerns, or health issues. Be sure to keep it specific. Encourage other attendees to write prayer requests and support each other with prayer during the week. Have an experienced person pray with specificity.
If you are interested in starting a group and want some input, contact me.
Think about it…