Most of us have had personal experience dealing with financial hardship. Right now, a lot of people are worried about the rising cost of living due to the ominous forecasts that interest rates will continue to climb. When so much of what’s happening is beyond our control, it can be a frightening prospect.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is calling on the church community to consider becoming money mentors to meet the growing demand. For over 20 years, Christians Against Poverty has partnered with the local church to transform Australian lives.
The Need for Financial Mentors
Rosie Kendall is the CEO of Christians Against Poverty. She joined us on 20Twenty to talk about why she thinks churches need thousands of money mentors to meet the growing demand. With the cost of living rising and families having trouble making ends meet, financial mentors are needed more than ever.
‘Grocery shopping, fuel, mortgage repayments and rents are going up,’ says Rosie. ‘There’s a lot of pressure on everyone. How can we talk proactively about this cost of living issue and how it’s impacting people? There are so many of us struggling to cope financially at the moment.’
CAP is based in Newcastle, but is a national organisation that partners with churches all across Australia. They are positioned to equip churches with active tools and solutions to help Christians walk alongside people that are in financial distress.
Partnering with Churches
‘We exist for the church,’ says Rosie. ‘We want to be effective in sharing the good news with the community. There are more and more people reaching out for help. But ultimately at the moment, there are not enough church partnerships and trained money mentors to meet that need.’
Currently one in four Australians are at risk of being in financial distress, and one in ten are already living in acute financial distress. That’s crisis point, and people are not sure where to go for help. Across all financial sectors, the need far outweighs the available resources to provide assistance.
‘We’ve got a church that’s full of love and compassion, and is well-placed nationally and to help people in financial distress,’ says Rosie. ‘Therefore, we’re wanting to partner with more churches and train money mentors to help those that are currently facing financial distress on their own.’
The Importance of Community
One of the most critical factors for people facing financial distress is having community around them. They need to a safety net of people who will invite them over for dinner and share the load that financial crisis brings. Often, we can help bring transformation and hope just by being a friend.
‘We can also be in temporary financial stress,’ says Rosie. ‘That might feel like not being sure how to pay that bill tomorrow. But actually we realise that we’ve not been paid and we’re able to rectify the situation. But acute financial distress is that prolonged feeling of hopelessness towards our financial situation.’
The reality of financial distress might be a housing situation in which we know our mortgage payment is due and we can’t afford it. Or if we do afford it, we’re not going to be able to put food on the table. We’re going to be forced into making impossible choices between those things.
Equipping the Church
‘We don’t know what’s going to happen,’ says Rosie. ‘That’s why CAP is passionate about strengthening and equipping the church to be ready for whatever comes next. One of the interesting things, when we talk about our own faith, is that sometimes as Christians we can feel fearful for our own financial situations.’
‘We know that God invites us not to worry. But as Christians, we are called to live a life that is one of compassion and community and restoration with one another.’
This article was inspired by Rosie Kendall.
Read on for more Christian organisations doing great work in the community!