Being held captive in a prolonged season of chronic unemployment often forces a person to rely upon some form of government assistance to meet their material needs. Extended periods of welfare and public assistance creates an atmosphere of dependency that hammers on the persons self-worth and a sense of hopelessness begins to settle into their soul. Think about it. What feelings would you have if you were chronically unemployed? What would it do to your esteem?
Unfortunately I see this all too often. Young men, mostly minorities, without education or experience, who typically have a criminal record come into Hope Initiatives searching for work and job training. As a faith-based social enterprise we attempt to help this population overcome the huge obstacles hindering their ability to land a job.
To this population a job is so much more than just a paycheck. Obviously the paycheck helps start them on the road out of poverty. But the intrinsic benefits of a job go way beyond money, especially for a male. Having a job gives a new found sense of self-worth, which tells the individual that they are important and that they can contribute. Self-worth says to the individual " I can learn" and I can achieve." When dependency screams "you are worthless," self-worth says "you have great value" and this value multiplies and impacts others beyond the individual involved. With a new sense of value, the impacted individual will accept more responsibility for his work and his personal life. His role as a husband and father will see improvement. He is more likely to take an active role in teaching his children the importance of education and work. There is also the increased likelihood that he will aspire to be a more active community member.
Dream big with me. What if we as the Body of Christ would look beyond our traditional ministry to the poor and see the value of faith-based social enterprise ministry that created jobs in our respective communities and could raise the level of self worth in those who are chronically unemployed? Would we have less fatherlessness, and fewer children in poverty? Would we be improving the quality of life for those we minister to? Wouldn't we be doing what Jesus would expect from us?