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Resources can lessen current economic fears

More and more of us know friends, family members and neighbors who have been laid off from their jobs or have lost their homes through foreclosure during this unprecedented recession.

This economic downturn is affecting every corner of our community, including our churches.

"We have to do some things out of the box because people are hurting like never before," said the Rev. C.B. Akins of First Baptist Church Bracktown. "What impacts the family impacts the church. When people are dealing with the emotional stress of losing their job or losing their insurance, sometimes they don't have a clue as to where to start."

Akins and a committee at his church believe they can be proactive in meeting the needs of the community before those needs reach the point of desperation.

On Saturday, Bracktown will host the "Faith by Works Conference," which will bring various resources together under one roof for those frustrated with and frightened by their circumstances.

The free four-hour conference features nine 40-minute workshops and a resource fair.

Akins said he hopes to use some of the information gathered at the conference to build an informal network of applicants who could be easily accessed if businesses ask him or his congregants for qualified personnel to fill job openings.

"I'm really excited about doing something that helps during these tough times and gives back to the community," said Marilyn Clark, president of Worksmart, LLC and a member of the conference committee.

"Our new president is really all about service, so we're in line with his vision as well as the mission of the church to minister to the whole person."

For those who have lost their job or may want to prepare for the possibility of a future job loss, there will be workshops geared toward interviewing skills, résumé writing, social networking and ways to apply for a state job.

For people facing the loss of their homes or financial instability, there are workshops on topics such as financial literacy, how to avoid foreclosure, assistance in dealing with emotional stress and help finding a new source of health and life insurance. Also, several businesses seeking employees or offering resources will be at the resource fair following the workshops.

There will also be a workshop for small-business owners.

As a small-business owner, Clark said it has been years since she has written a résumé, which is a situation in which more and more people find themselves.

"If you don't have an up-to-date résumé, you may miss out on an opportunity," she said.

Plus, behavioral-based questions — which seek to determine how an applicant will handle certain situations or crises — may trip you up if you are not prepared for them.

"Anyone who has had a job for a long time and who is coming back into the job market will find that it is a whole different story now," Clark said.

For instance, finding work nowadays is not simply walking up to a human resources department and handing over your employment history. Now, she said, so much more business is conducted online through social networking venues such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter. One of the friends you have acquired online may be able to introduce you to the right person.

In difficult economic times people in need have to try every avenue to help themselves. The same is true for churches in helping their congregants and their neighbors in the community.

"We have to take even more personal interest in our people," Akins said. "This is not just for Bracktown members. This is for the kingdom. This is open to the public."

People need to learn to ask for help earlier, said Akins.

"Before losing your house, tell someone your business," Akins said. "Take a gulp, swallow your pride and say 'I need some help.'"

That means now.

More and more of us know friends, family members and neighbors who have been laid off from their jobs or have lost their homes through foreclosure during this unprecedented recession.

This economic downturn is affecting every corner of our community, including our churches.

"We have to do some things out of the box because people are hurting like never before," said the Rev. C.B. Akins of First Baptist Church Bracktown. "What impacts the family impacts the church. When people are dealing with the emotional stress of losing their job or losing their insurance, sometimes they don't have a clue as to where to start."

Akins and a committee at his church believe they can be proactive in meeting the needs of the community before those needs reach the point of desperation.

On Saturday, Bracktown will host the "Faith by Works Conference," which will bring various resources together under one roof for those frustrated with and frightened by their circumstances.

The free four-hour conference features nine 40-minute workshops and a resource fair.

Akins said he hopes to use some of the information gathered at the conference to build an informal network of applicants who could be easily accessed if businesses ask him or his congregants for qualified personnel to fill job openings.

"I'm really excited about doing something that helps during these tough times and gives back to the community," said Marilyn Clark, president of Worksmart, LLC and a member of the conference committee.

"Our new president is really all about service, so we're in line with his vision as well as the mission of the church to minister to the whole person."

For those who have lost their job or may want to prepare for the possibility of a future job loss, there will be workshops geared toward interviewing skills, résumé writing, social networking and ways to apply for a state job.

For people facing the loss of their homes or financial instability, there are workshops on topics such as financial literacy, how to avoid foreclosure, assistance in dealing with emotional stress and help finding a new source of health and life insurance. Also, several businesses seeking employees or offering resources will be at the resource fair following the workshops.

There will also be a workshop for small-business owners.

As a small-business owner, Clark said it has been years since she has written a résumé, which is a situation in which more and more people find themselves.

"If you don't have an up-to-date résumé, you may miss out on an opportunity," she said.

Plus, behavioral-based questions — which seek to determine how an applicant will handle certain situations or crises — may trip you up if you are not prepared for them.

"Anyone who has had a job for a long time and who is coming back into the job market will find that it is a whole different story now," Clark said.

For instance, finding work nowadays is not simply walking up to a human resources department and handing over your employment history. Now, she said, so much more business is conducted online through social networking venues such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter. One of the friends you have acquired online may be able to introduce you to the right person.

In difficult economic times people in need have to try every avenue to help themselves. The same is true for churches in helping their congregants and their neighbors in the community.

"We have to take even more personal interest in our people," Akins said. "This is not just for Bracktown members. This is for the kingdom. This is open to the public."

People need to learn to ask for help earlier, said Akins.

"Before losing your house, tell someone your business," Akins said. "Take a gulp, swallow your pride and say 'I need some help.'"

That means now.

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