As part of the local connected churches Elim Church Selly Oak, along with Selly Park Baptist, Christ Church, Stirchley Community Church, Christian Life Centre and St Stephens & St Wulstans are running a Christians Against Poverty (CAP) debt counselling service in South Birmingham.
CAP was first started in 1996, and is now an international organisation which works alongside individuals and families who are struggling with debt. As well as sitting alongside these individuals and families (or ‘clients’) to practically help them manage and overcome their debt, at the core of CAP is the desire share the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The main thing to note is that CAP works! It is highly recommended by experts such as Martin Lewis (from Moneysavingexpert.com). It changes lives – both in freeing people from debt, and by them meeting Jesus. You can see some testimonies on the CAP website.
There are many ways in which to get involved with CAP. Examples include:
- Client visits: joining with our CAP centre manager Judy Ward on a client visit as she talks to the clients about their debt situation and collects information to pass back to the head office. These visits tend to take place during the day and last for around 2 hours. Whilst on a visit you may pray for the client you are visiting, entertain their children, or simply sit and observe the meeting whilst praying for Judy and the client that God will be central to what is happening
- Befriending: Judy visits each client three times, after which she leaves them in the hands of the central CAP offices in Bradford. At this point the clients will start paying into a debt repayment programme, which may last many months. To help support them through this time, the clients are linked with someone who acts as a befriender. This is someone who simply acts as a friend to them and helps support them – just as you would any friend who is going through a challenging time. They also act as a vital link between the client and the church – being a befriender is a wonderful way of showing God’s love. Practically this may include meeting the person for a coffee, going with them for a walk around a park, or sending them a text message to see how they are doing
- Prayer team: there is a prayer team which is made up of members across the connected churches which meets once a month on Tuesdays to pray for the work of CAP. The dates, times and locations of these will be publicised in advance in ‘Switched On’ but they tend to be at 8pm on the second Tuesday of each month
- Events: at different time points through the year such as Christmas there will be events put on for the clients and their families, and volunteers will be needed to help facilitate these – e.g. by setting up and decorating the venue, helping prepare food or by sitting alongside and welcoming the clients
There are many more ways in which you can get involved with CAP! These range in level of involvement, so even if you only have limited time there is still going to be some way in which you can get involved. If you would be interested in finding out more, speak to our church link Rachel Hewett or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org