What to Tell a Church Member Who Loses His Job

man sitting on bench after losing his job

When someone suffers a job loss, it disrupts his life. It can hit his finances hard, which will then become a concern for your church and diaconate…

There are certain things a person should do immediately upon receiving word that he has lost his job. But what this really means is that, to make sure he does this, you need to communicate this information to him in advance. These kinds of tactics need to already be in the back of his mind.

This article lists 15 things someone should do when he loses his job:

  1. Negotiate a severance agreement
  2. Collect your last paycheck, along with accrued vacation and sick time
  3. Apply for unemployment benefits, if you’re eligible
  4. Review your non-compete agreement
  5. Decide what to do about health insurance
  6. Rework your budget and cut spending
  7. Reach out to your network
  8. Update your LinkedIn (or create a profile)
  9. Evaluate your career path
  10. Update your resume
  11. Clean up your social media accounts
  12. Connect with your coworkers
  13. Brush up on your job skills and industry knowledge
  14. Apply strategically for jobs
  15. Determine what to do with your 401(k)

Start now, don’t wait

As I said, however, some of these important steps are things people should be doing already, before they lose their job. Implementing several of them now will help the person get a new job faster, will improve his mental well-being because he knows he has already taken steps to position himself for a quick rebound, and it may even help him avoid the problem to begin with. The steps that your church members should be implementing now are:

  • Reviewing any non-compete agreements they may have unknowingly agreed to as a condition for employment
  • Cutting spending – We all need to cut back. Encourage your members to continually refine their budgets and look for ways to shave their spending and increase their saving.
  • Fostering a network – Starting to build a network the day you lose your job won’t work. The network needs to be in place before someone loses his job. When providing business services of any kind, it pays to heed Jesus’s advice and go the extra mile. People will remember this and think favorably towards you.
  • Updating their LinkedIn profiles – A LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool. It, too, is something that should be cultivated starting now, not the day someone loses his job. But it shouldn’t be treated like an old-fashioned resume as many do. In the modern age, all workers should be constantly refining their LinkedIn profile. They should also do activities in their spare time at home (off of company time) that will make their LinkedIn profile shine. This article gives good tips on how to format a LinkedIn profile for success.
  • Keeping their resumes current – This is standard practice. People should review their resume annually. This resume writing educational program costs money, but it will show you how to write resumes superior to everyone else. It is something that the diaconate could perhaps invest in, learn, and provide as a free service to its members—before they lose their jobs, but certainly afterward.
  • Cleaning up their social media accounts – Deacons need to educate their members on social media etiquette. Articles like this one are helpful: 10 Social Media Etiquette Tips for Personal & Business Accounts. The main idea here is this: always think about the future. How will this look 15 years down the road to friends, family, coworkers, supervisors, and prospective employers or clients? There are ways to make posts private, but members should be warned to always post as if it will be visible to the world.
  • Improving their job skills and industry knowledge on their own time, after work – Encourage members to develop their skills and influence outside of regular business hours. One way to do this is by reading books related to their profession, writing book reviews, and posting them on a personal blog intended to build their professional reputation. It’s unlikely their peers will do such things, so this is an easy way to stand out. But it takes time to develop this kind of website. So encourage members to start now. Then, they can publish posts to their LinkedIn account, which will become visible to their professional network and improve their overall prospects.


When a church member loses his job, the church may become responsible for helping them get through the situation. A well-prepared member will be less of a burden on a diaconate than one who has little to no reserves—financial reserves, professional reserves, mental reserves. But as a deacon, you can act now to get this basic information to your members.

The full article elaborates on each item. To read the article in full, click here.

You could work with fellow deacons or church members in developing a Saturday seminar free to members. You can cover the basics outlined here. You can make it a working workshop where members take the first actions that day to make incremental improvements to their LinkedIn profile, resume, and social media accounts.

This can be accomplished with a set of cheap Chromebook laptops and a wireless Internet connection. This may be a wise investment for the diaconate to make. If demand is strong, teach multiple workshops over multiple Saturdays to reduce the hardware investment.