Christians Against Poverty CEO Says Pandemic is the Perfect Time for Churches to Demonstrate Faith in Action – 96five Family Radio

Christians Against Poverty CEO Says Pandemic is the Perfect Time for Churches to Demonstrate Faith in Action

The church now has a unique opportunity to regain public faith by taking action to help people in the wake of coronavirus.

By 96five Contributors Monday 31 Aug 2020

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Australia CEO Rosie Kendall has challenged the church to step up in the midst of the pandemic and be an example to the six in 10 people (59 per cent) who can’t think of a reason why religion is good for society, according to a recent study by NCLS research.

“The church now has a unique opportunity to regain public faith by taking action to help people in the wake of coronavirus. With 10 per cent of the country now filing for unemployment in the wake of COVID-19, is now more than ever the time to focus on Jesus’ mandate and example to truly care for the poor?”

Mark and Sarah’s Story

Mark and Sarah found themselves in a desperate financial situation when the COVID-19 pandemic hit – and their local church was able to stand with them through the storm they faced.

Almost immediately after social distancing was put in place, Sarah’s bookings as a professional photographer dried up. Mark’s hours at his retail position in menswear were at first dramatically reduced, then stopped altogether.

But they were not alone. For the past few years, Sarah and Mark’s local church had been helping them through debt that was incurred from medical bills after their first child was born with a congenital condition. After failed attempts at speaking with other agencies, Sarah heard about the service through the local mothers and toddlers group. While not Christians themselves, they recognised the support the local church could give.

“When they came and did the home visits they were super, super lovely and supportive and went through it all with us,” Sarah said.

These past few months have been tough, but through the church partnering with CAP – a charity which equips local churches with practical tools such as debt management and developing budgets to help relieve poverty – Mark and Sarah were able to work with trained volunteers to find a solution that would keep them afloat.

Now, because they have an advocate in their local church, someone who is with them, equipped to be able to relieve the pressure and give them space to breathe, Sarah and Mark have the confidence to continue facing this uncertain time.

“We’re looking forward to things at the moment, which sounds ridiculous in the midst of a pandemic,” Sarah said.

Rosie’s Reflections and Call to Christians to Serve

Christians Against Poverty Australia CEO Rosie Kendall

Source: capaust.org

This is a crucial moment. Our world seems to be full of chaos, uncertainty and division – there is so much hurt from the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19. As Mark and Sarah’s story indicates, the economic fallout alone will be large and ongoing. It will be felt across our communities for a long time.

But the good news is needed in any and all situations, as Jesus himself commissioned the Church to always keep going with what he started: to serve the poor, to save the lost and to point people to his Good News.

We’re instructed not just to wish them well, but to say “we’re with you” in the hardship, loneliness and anxiety.

The Church is the people of God, bringing His kingdom here on Earth until it comes in fullness. But how does this translate to someone searching for employment alongside nearly four million others after the government stimulus and rental freezes eventually cease? What happens to those unable to afford groceries or are facing eviction?

The answer is in the way the Church has been called to live, from its earliest days, as found in James 2:16-17: “If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

We’re instructed not just to wish them well, but to say “we’re with you” in the hardship, loneliness and anxiety.

When you’re with someone, you’re attentive to their needs. If it’s only metaphorical, the sentiment becomes meaningless. That’s why charitable organisations such as Christians Against Poverty are important.

Supporting Local Churches in Supporting Their Communities

Christians Against Poverty Australia phone line

Source: capaust.org

CAP supports local churches in carrying out the mission to serve and include the poor in their communities and do so while confidently proclaiming the good news of Jesus.

Local churches know their communities best, hence why equipping is the nature of partnership with CAP in modern Australia. Through CAP, churches are stepping into the homes of some of the poorest and at-risk, offering them a practical solution, and sharing the love of Jesus.

Churches have a unique opportunity to regain public faith in Christianity by taking action to help people crippled by debt post-pandemic, starting now.

Taking this opportunity to redeem the perception of the Church is not about ourselves. It’s about bringing transformation into people’s lives and bringing glory to God in the process. There are many reasons one could make a case for why Christianity has been good for society. But historical analysis aside, it’s quite simple.

Keeping our focus on Jesus’ mandate and example to truly care for the poor will inevitably shine the light of God into our communities and into the world. Recognition of this work will likely come and go, but transformed lives are forever.


Article supplied by CAP Australia CEO Rosie Kendall. Rosie has been working for CAP in Australia and the UK for 13 years. She is passionate about equipping others to flourish in all that God has created them to be. Rosie’s husband Dave also works at CAP and they have three beautiful daughters, Esther, Lydia and Maeve.