Churches which decide to respond to employment needs within their communities need to build their understanding and their capacity to respond. It is advisable to first learn how to respond to the local situation before responding to the broader needs of your city and a national missional context.
The first step in doing this should be an engagement with the Church leadership to discuss the theology of work. It is ideal if a Sunday can be set aside to preach on Work as Worship and how the church should respond to unemployment.
One of the objectives is to identify at an early stage those who feel called and will be available to prayerfully lead an ongoing commitment to addressing unemployment as one part of the disciple making programmes of the church. Those who wish to assist will be structured into the team who commit to meet regularly, preferably monthly, to set strategy and implement programmes. We shall begin to refer to these teams as the Izenzo Church Team.
It is key that the pastor or minister in charge is able to delegate this responsibility.
The Sunday service should include a situation analysis which includes a simple survey of members to establish who is employed, retired, unemployed, a student etc. The questionnaire is provided by Izenzo in whatever language is required. The survey will highlight:
1) Who needs assistance and what sort of assistance is needed
2) What resources are in the congregation that can be used
The surveys run by Izenzo in a number of churches have yielded valuable interesting results and challenges.
Both those who seek employment and those starting or running small businesses benefit greatly from mentorship. Here training in effective mentoring is an important early activity and highly recommended before partnerships are set up between mentors and mentees.
Internationally the statistic is that 95% of people want the security of a job but only 40% of jobs are advertised. Most are filled through networking. The unemployed need to be prepared for the working environment and given access to networks. Here Worker Readiness programmes are of assistance. A number of churches and secular organisations have initiated Worker Readiness programmes. The SIYA-SEBENZA programme is available in many regions of South Africa and The Zanokhanyo Network TZN is available in Cape Town. These are well established programmes and churches might engage with the founders to expand their reach if they are not yet in the area.These programmes also assist with connecting the unemployed to employers.
Usually only about 5% of people want to start their own business but some just have to start some form of business to survive. There are many organisations and government programmes that assist small start ups. They are structured as business incubators. There are many business incubators of which a number have been started, are financed or are run by Christ followers or churches. Some of the more well known incubators, secular and Christ focussed include Living Hope (Fish Hoek), Learn to Earn (Khayelitsha), Paradigm Shift, Workspace (Hout Bay), Business Activator (Philippi), Shanduka Black Umbrellas, The Clothing Bank to name a few. Research in each location is required to identify and ascertain the focus of each incubator to correctly match up the new or expanding business with the incubator. A key to the success however is not the training at these incubators, important as that is. The real success lies in mentorship of new businesses by experienced business volunteers. The church is a source for these mentors, often retired business people.
Acknowledgement and prayer support also needs to be given to established companies and employers who maintain their businesses, sometimes at great personal sacrifice. Responding to shareholder demands while developing an attitude of Work as Worship in their domains needs to be celebrated. These business people can be encouraged collectively to consider the development of the Kingdom Impact of their businesses.
Izenzo is on a collaborative journey learning how to follow God in this ministry.
As each Izenzo ministry team grows at each church they will identify tools they need. Some tools have already been developed but more will be needed. As a rule it is best to search for existing resources or tools to fill identified gaps.
Tools being developed include: