Then the LORD said to him, "what is that in your hand?"
Exodus 4:2 NIV
In Exodus 4:2, God encouraged Moses to use what he had in his hand. Following this example, the training provided by Samaritan’s Purse through local Churches encourages the poorest, most vulnerable families to recognise what they already have, rather than what they do not have, and to use it.
Each Church Action Group, envisioned by Samaritan’s Purse, identifies and supports 20 vulnerable families and acts as a catalyst for change in the community.
Because of its presence among the poor, the church is in a unique position to restore their God-given dignity. By enabling people to do things for themselves, people rediscover their self-worth and learn new skills to put the resources they already have (including: land, time, access relationships...) to work in a better way.
When these families come together, they pray together. They save together. They commit to one another. They start with what they have, dream of how God could use it and then get busy!
The improvement in family livelihoods made possible through Raising Families does not go unnoticed by others in the same community, or by those from other communities. When God is at work in the community, people are attracted, inquisitive, and ask questions.
In communities supported by Samaritan’s Purse, typically 80% of the Church Action Groups claim to have envisioned, equipped and 'birthed' at least one more group. Those that thrive are likely to multiply, and continue to multiply..
Every church that has committed to Raising Families has recognised a vast increase in their knowledge and understanding of their biblical mandate to care for those in need. Each of these churches now mobilises their own resources to identify and address the spiritual and practical needs of vulnerable families in their community. In almost every case, church leaders have reported significant growth in numbers of people coming to Christ as a direct consequence of Raising Families; robust monitoring by Samaritan’s Purse suggests that on average, the number of people coming to Christ each month is at least 100.
For many pastors, this has given them new priorities, and a new perspective on their role; for others, Raising Families has given them dignity, purpose, energy and confidence in Christ and his calling of them.
'Before Raising Families, my vision was merely for a bigger church. Now it is for a better community.'
When a Church Action Group meets, the families contribute to a savings and loan scheme for the group. The amount they contribute varies but its typically around 30p per week.
Those participating in the scheme are able to take out loans from the funds. Sometimes families take it in turn to take the whole ‘pot’, others may borrow smaller amounts for more immediate needs or opportunities. Loans are typically repaid one month later.
Loans taken out as part of saving and loan schemes are used to help individual families build on their assets, buying seeds and tools, livestock, etc. Envisioned and mobilised Church Action Groups act as catalysts for change in their own communities using the Word of God, and His promises, to help communities realise that God has already made provision for them, and given them the skills they need to bring about lasting change.
Your gift will train the Local Church to understand how and why God is calling them to be His hands and feet, and to both proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel. This includes embracing all aspects of people’s lives, not only their spiritual state, but also their practical, economic, social and societal state.
The training walks church leaders through the process of liaison with Community leaders, setting up Church Action Groups, gaining confidence through completing seed projects in the community etc. Typical training modules for the equipping of practising Church Action Groups include (e.g.) how to assess the needs and assets of the community, HIV and AIDS awareness, improved nutrition, savings and loans, income generation, child protection, disability awareness etc.