In James 5, James writes to the churches: "Is anyone of you in trouble, he should pray." Tonight at NCCC, we'll do just that. Tonight, we are praying for those among us whose job situations are in significant distress.
We are trying to be the church in the state hit hardest (with the possible exception of Michigan) by the current economic crisis. Yesterday, the voters turned down proposals to help curb the state budget crisis. This means more layoffs statewide. At NCCC, we have an unusually high number of construction, tradesmen, and entrepreneurs who own construction dependent businesses, to boot. Ouch.
So, we are taking some aggressive steps to help people through:
The elders put together a list of those we know have been hit hard, and asked their permission to list them along with whatever trade or skill they have. We then published their names and skills on a prayer list, encouraging the Body to consider hiring these brothers and sisters for whatever purpose.
We are in the midst of a month of prayer on Wednesday nights, and are spending the bulk of tonight on the theme "Give us this day our daily bread." Praying by name for the dozens of people among us who are either unemployed or severely underemployed…inviting them forward and praying for them by name…that God would "give them this day their daily bread."
It took a lot of humility and guts for our brothers and sisters to open up to us that way. It takes a lot of courage and honesty to admit your struggling. We Christians are far too good at keeping financial matters completely private. Yet, tonight, I bet real community breaks out. I bet some will find jobs. I bet God will honor their sacrifice with work and daily bread.
What ideas have you and/or your congregation come up with to help people through this tough time?