6 tips to launch a career ministry
The unemployment crisis in cities across the United States calls faith communities to step up. Your church members can get involved and use their gifts and talents to love and help their neighbors weather the economic downturn. Pastors and church leaders who see needs in their congregation and community can start a volunteer-led career ministry. This ministry can help people find jobs and careers. Your church will be helping people live the life that God has intended.
1. Find need and opportunity. Of the more than 150 million people in the U.S. workforce, more than 15 million are out of work. At the same time, a large number of those employed say they are unhappy, even miserable, at work. For the vast majority of workers, their job requires the greatest investment of time, provides the most important means of financial support and plays a key element in personal well-being. Those factors create a perfect context for introducing Ephesians 2:10, NIV: "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
2. Discover new ways to love your neighbor. Roswell United Methodist Church in suburban Atlanta offers an outstanding example of loving its neighbors through the volunteer-led Ministry. Every second and fourth Monday of the month from 1:30 to 9 p.m., more than 100 volunteers serve as many as 400 guests with workshops on writing resumes, interviewing, networking, starting a business, job-search tips for boomers, organizing the job-search process and more. The church serves dinner accompanied by a spiritual message and facilitated table discussion. After dinner the agenda includes resume reviews, small group networking, connecting with industry guide mentors and prayer time. The evening finishes with a keynote speaker, success stories and announcements of future events.
4. Get equipped, trained and networked. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Roswell volunteer leader Katherine Simons wrote a "cookbook" called "Loving Your Neighbor: a Faith Community's Response to the Unemployment Crisis," complete with a menu of choices for starting or expanding a career ministry. It is part of a library of resources offered by the Crossroads Career Network. The collection includes the "Maximize Your Career" workbook, tools and tips, plus "how to" ministry guides and materials on leadership, prayer, promotion and six basic ministry environments:
Roswell, one of 25 United Methodist CCN-member churches, provides monthly training and direct experience in their job-networking ministry.
This is what the LORD says:
Career ministry provides United Methodist churches with new ways to show kindness, acceptance, hospitality and love to guests and members alike.