Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Local church help

Local churches can help by:

1. Expanding existing helping ministries such as food parcel handouts, Christmas hamper distribution, and financial and general counselling services. Helping people at their point of need offers many opportunities to share the love of Christ.

2. Building business mentoring networks to help those in business make sound financial decisions.

3. Making representation to local, state and federal government to highlight needs in the community.

4. Preaching and teaching on how to handle difficult times. This is the first real hardship many younger people have faced. Also helping people to understand the spiritual issues behind the crisis is crucial because right belief leads to right action. Learning to be content, and being generous are spiritual solutions to this problem.

5. Building networks with other churches and organisations helping people deal with the crisis.

6. Those churches in plenty should help those churches in need. Just as the Macedonian churches helped the Jerusalem church, so those churches with more resources should be willing to help believers in churches facing difficulty. Believers with more resources have a responsibility to help those in need, selling excess “land and houses and laying them at the apostles’ feet”.

7. Churches must be vigilant in responding to the needs of the poor. This means being in touch with struggling families in the community and in our churches.

Practical action

Spiritual issues also require practical action. Some suggestions for action by the local church are as follows:

1. Practical and personal help
There are a number of organisations that can help families in severe financial crisis. The following links provide useful information and practical advice on dealing with debt.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP)
http://www.capaust.org/index.php

CAP work with the local church to provide financial counselling. They work with a family in debt, to establish a workable budget, and will then negotiate with creditors to pay off debts at an agreed timetable. The first CAP office in Victoria opened at CCC Whitehorse in early 2009.

Christians Against Poverty (UK)
http://www.capuk.org/

RED2BLACK
http://www.red2black.org.uk/

UK Financial Services Authority
http://www.moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk/debt_test

Consumer Affairs Victoria
http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/CA256EB5000644CE/page/Credit+&+Debt-Dealing+with+Debt-Financial+counselling?OpenDocument&1=80-Credit+%26+Debt~&2=50-Dealing+with+Debt~&3=40-Financial+counselling~

Credit Action UK
www.creditaction.org.uk
http://www.creditaction.org.uk/moneymanual-dealing-with-debt.html

Church of England
http://www.cofe.anglican.org/debt/strugglingwithdebt/

UK Citizens Advice
www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/life/debt.htm

UK Consumer Credit Counselling Service
http://www.cccs.co.uk/

Money Basics
http://www.moneybasics.co.uk/