Hi there, my name is John Kirkby and I’m the
founder and international director of Christians Against Poverty.
I am so excited and I’d just like to welcome you
to this Empower training today!
When I started CAP in 1996, I had a simple vision
to just ‘have a go’ to help people out of debt and
poverty in my local community here in Bradford.
I wanted to show them God’s tremendous love,
but God had much bigger plans than
I could ever have expected and, as you know, CAP is now
huge here in the UK as well as an international charity.
We see thousands of lives changed practically
and spiritually every single year!
But right from the start of our work, partnering with
the local church has been the only option for us.
God’s Church and God’s people hold the only
answer that can truly transform lives.
It’s only ever been people who have ever changed
lives, and that’s where you get to play your part.
As one person, I could only ever reach a very small
number of people in Bradford, and I would soon
have worn myself out had I continued to do it alone.
I needed, we all need teams of amazing, committed
people around us to make this thing work.
Whether your church runs a debt centre,
a job club, a release group, or life skills course,
it simply wouldn’t be effective without you
on team as a volunteer. Just as Aaron and Hur
held up Moses’ arms so that the Israelites
could indeed defeat the Amalekites in Exodus 17,
you are the support that your debt coach, your
job coach, your release, or life skills coach need.
You are crucial in the battle for people’s lives being won.
At CAP, our motivation for doing everything
is rooted in our faith in Jesus Christ and his love,
his compassion and his justice.
We want you to befriend people in a way that means
they experience and respond to the love of Jesus.
We want to put the gospel within arm’s reach
of every single person that we see.
Your love and care, your friendship and time;
these are all absolutely vital to seeing people’s lives
changed for eternity. And, hey,
what a privilege to know that God is waiting
to use us all to shine his light into the lives
of people who are currently living in darkness.
In Isaiah 61 it says this, and I’ll speak it over you:
‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on YOU,
because the Lord has anointed YOU
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent YOU to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour
and the day of vengeance of our God,
and comfort all who mourn, and provide
for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them
a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a
garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.
Thank you so much for being here today.
This is just the start of God using you
to bring his kingdom here on Earth.
As a team, we can’t wait to see you get started,
and I’d just like to pray for you as we go into
the rest of the day. Heavenly Father,
I lift up everybody in the room today.
Father I pray that it wouldn’t be by might
or power but it would be by your Spirit.
That you would be with every speaker,
that you would be with everybody here.
That they would sense your presence, your joy,
your excitement over their heart to serve you
through the work of Christians Against Poverty.
I pray that everybody would be deeply inspired
by your Holy Spirit to do what they can do,
and faithfully fulfil the incredible role of
support workers across the UK with Christians Against Poverty.
I pray that they would know your presence,
they would feel your Spirit, and they would be inspired
to do what they can do just as I did all those years ago.
Have a fantastic day, and I look forward
to hearing all the amazing things that you guys
can do together, and please continue to pray
that God blesses Christians Against Poverty.
We need him, and we definitely need you.