Recently, Mark Woods wrote a hard-hitting news piece for Christian Today magazine, reciting criticisms launched against the Church of England’s approach to mission as something “almost entirely focused on the needs and aspirations of the wealthy.” The article is full of examples and statistics that effectively substantiate the argument that the church (not for lack of intention) is struggling to reach the poor.
It’s a challenging article and serves as a poignant reminder of the church’s mandate to reach the poor; the marginalised. One of the issues cited by Woods is the propensity of the church to parachute into communities with well-meaning programmes and then leave just as suddenly. It seems that the workers are few, tired and unsupported, and perhaps don’t have the tools to reach people, which makes lasting relationships that endure beyond the end of any intervention unlikely.
Our aim, at Kids Matter, is to break the generational chains of disadvantage by helping parents take authority over their families and inspire the next generation to live fulfilling, functional lives. We can only do this by being in genuine relationship with them. We hope to transform family life in disadvantaged areas through the local church by training and equipping the church with our effective and accessible parenting programme. We believe that the church has the potential to be the bringer of hope, the bringer of love and of life to individuals, communities and the world at large.
We do recognise that local churches may have a desire to reach vulnerable families but not feel equipped or positioned to do so. Our operations model hopes to solve this problem by helping the church find a local community partner who has relationships with disadvantaged parents and pair them up with a Kids Matter trained local church facilitator. The ‘partner’ (a link to the community) could even be a local parent with strong relationships in the community. This way, after the end of the 6 week programme, it is possible to invite parents into ongoing relationships with one another and with other programmes on offer in the community and in the church.
Facilitating relationships can be a tiring and often discouraging job, and for this reason we supervise and support all our facilitators on an ongoing basis to ensure they are well equipped for the difficult but rewarding task they have committed to. We are putting an excellent tool into the church’s hands, which is effective not only in helping families function better but also in drawing them into the wider community and into the church itself.
Kids Matter is invested in reaching the hard to reach and believes the church is best placed to tackle the alarming rate of family decline in the world. We have such a strong message of hope to bring to the darkest corners of our country and will make every effort to support the church as it plays its part in the transformation of society.
If you would like to find out more about Kids Matter, we would love to chat! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org