Bishops: How Can I Meet Employment Needs?
The bishop “has a divine mandate to seek out and care for the poor (see D&C 84:112). … His goal is to help members … become self-reliant” (Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare , 4).
One key component of self-reliance is employment. Employment struggles can impact every aspect of personal and family welfare: for example, members who struggle with employment often experience stress in their marriage and family relationships, difficulty supporting themselves financially, and the emotional and spiritual toll of discouragement. Looking for work can be an extremely isolating and painful experience. As the bishop, you have the opportunity to coordinate efforts with members of the ward council to provide much-needed help and support.
Ward council meetings are a great place for you to learn about the employment needs in your ward as you listen to reports from personal visits, home teaching, and visiting teaching. You preside over the ward council and can make assignments to help specific ward members meet their spiritual needs and temporal employment needs.
As questions arise, consider reaching out to the bishops’ welfare council. You might discuss the difficulties of members in your ward, find out what others have done that has been successful, and share information about community and government resources.
Note that embarrassment and fear of judgment are often barriers that prevent members from receiving needed help and support. Bishops may not even be aware of the employment struggles that many of their members are facing. Creating an environment within the ward where members feel comfortable sharing their personal challenges with leaders, home and visiting teachers, and other ward members is an integral part of addressing employment needs.
Refer to Ministering Resources: Employment to gain more insights into addressing employment needs.