A 4‑minute inspirational introduction from John for your volunteers.

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. Amen!

Wonderful! 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. Thank you.

How can I get involved?

Heather France presents a 3‑minute video about what the befriending role is all about.

So, how can you get involved as a CAP befriender? At CAP, we are here to serve the poor, save the lost, with the local church, across the nation. Whether your church is running one or all of our CAP services, our desire is to love and care for those we are serving, to demonstrate the love of Jesus in practical ways and to be bold in telling people about a God who loves them unconditionally.

Whether you are volunteering for your debt centre, your job club, your life skills group or your release group, a lot of the principles are the same. There are some key things that we can all do as we get alongside those who don’t yet have a relationship with God. It starts with being a friend. Building real relationships where people are able to share what’s going on in their lives. 

Prayer is so important. You can pray for and with people, introducing them to the God who answers prayer. It might feel scary at first, but it is so powerful when you pray bold prayers for people, and then follow up later by asking what happened after you’d prayed.

One of our cultural values at CAP is generosity. We want you to bless people generously. We must never give money but we can give of our time. We can give small gifts or cards, maybe bake someone a cake, maybe take them out for a coffee, or invite them along to a great event with lovely food. Just bless them with genuine acts of kindness.

You also need to be open to the opportunities you get to share your faith and invite people to church. Always be ready to tell people what God has done in your life, what Jesus has done for them and how their lives can be transformed.

It’s amazing what opportunities will arise when you build relationship, pray with and bless people!

We also want you to support your CAP workers. In a debt centre, this might be going on a client visit; for job clubs, life skills, and release groups it could be getting alongside people at the weekly meetings. They can’t do their role without you.

Now, I’d like you to break up into groups of three or four and discuss the ways in which you can help practically in your CAP service. How can you use the gifts God has given you to help the people you are reaching?

Heather France give some practical tips and guidelines about the befriending role.

In all of our CAP services, we are seeking to reach out to the poor, the lost and the broken. In some cases, the people you meet may be the sort of people you would usually spend time with, but in many cases they will be from completely different backgrounds, with vastly different life experiences. Debt, addiction and joblessness can affect people from all backgrounds and all sorts of people ask for our help.

We need to make sure in every situation that we are not judging the people we’re working alongside. We need to show them respect and give them value. A lot of people we encounter at CAP have never been given respect and value in their lives.

Jesus didn’t judge the tax collector or the woman caught in adultery, both shunned by society, but when given value and esteem by Jesus, it completely changed their lives.

As you come alongside people in your CAP role, they will begin to open up to you and share some of the issues they are facing. They will begin to trust you and will need to be safe in the knowledge that anything they share with you will be confidential.

It’s very tempting to share much more than we need to as prayer requests” with fellow Christians, but you need to resist the temptation to give any confidential information to anyone else unless the person has given you permission to do so.

Obviously, if you believe there is a safeguarding issue, you’re gonna need to follow your church’s guidelines, otherwise, confidentiality must always be maintained.

As a befriender, you are not trained in any of CAP’s technical procedures relating to the service. You should make sure you are not giving any financial advice to debt centre or life skills clients, not giving medical advice to release group members or job search advice to job club members.

If you have any helpful hints and tips, please bring them to your CAP manager who can then decide how best to communicate that help. You are doing a great job being a friend and building genuine relationships.

As Christians we have to find the right balance between sacrificially giving of ourselves in serving God and looking after ourselves and having time with our loved ones.

Isaiah 58, verse 10 exhorts us to spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed’, and if we do this, he will provide what we need.

One of the things God provides for busy people is rest, the Sabbath. Time off to rest and be renewed. In Psalm 23, David says about God, He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.’

In your busyness, you need to make time for yourself, for God, for your spouse and your family. For example, you need to be wise about who you give your phone number to, and then to let them know when it’s appropriate to call — when you will take their call and when you won’t. It is OK as a volunteer to decide when you are volunteering and when you are not.

Make sure you look after yourself well: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Have people around you praying for you as you take on this role and people who are looking after your wellbeing. It’s really important!

We want you to share your faith with the people you are supporting, but this should be done sensitively and taking account of their existing belief systems and vulnerability. Some people you meet may just be waiting for someone to ask them if they want to give their life to Christ. But with most people, they will need to experience God’s love through you and in the context of a growing relationship, you will be able to share more and more of the difference God can make for them.

Just a few guidelines here: Be natural. Be yourself with people. Let them see that you’re imperfect, and that God doesn’t need them to be perfect before he will accept them.

Try to limit spiritual jargon and habits. We pick up so many words and actions that are not understood by people outside the church and this can be a barrier to people.

Pray with people, but don’t lay hands on them without asking permission and explaining why we do this.

Also don’t pray in tongues while praying for them. If you take them to church and they hear this gift in use, you can explain what it’s about, but we feel it’s not appropriate in a one-to-one setting with a non-believer.

Another way we would love you to be involved with CAP is in promoting the work of CAP amongst your friends and family, within your church or with professionals you know who might want to refer people to one of our services.

Just remember to be sensitive about what you share with different people. Everyone wants to know about the life changing work of our debt help, job club, life skills, and release group services.

How people are helped by the long-term support and community aspects of what we do, that can transform their circumstances; people love to hear great stories. But the real life changing stuff, where people choose to put their faith in Christ as a result of our work, may not be appropriate to share directly with everyone.

Be sensible about this.

Hopefully they will see the difference in the person’s life and they’ll ask them directly.

And as you promote the work of Christians Against Poverty to friends, family and contacts in order to increase support and awareness of the charity, don’t forget to ask them if they would like to support CAP financially by becoming a Life Changer.

Get Life Changer forms from your CAP worker or direct the person to the CAP website where they can set up a regular gift.

We would love you to help as we celebrate success with the people we are working with. As they reach milestones on their journey when they become debt free, get a job, or achieve a significant goal on their journey, please really celebrate that with them.

When someone makes a decision to follow Christ, you will be there in the early stages of their journey as they take their first steps, as they connect with church and find out more about the decision they have made. Celebrate with them too, because this is the most important thing they have ever done in their lives.

So those are some really practical guidelines for undertaking your role.

Your CAP worker can’t do what they do without you.

And the best question you can ask them is…

How can I help with that?

How to be a friend

Rod Williams goes into more detail about what being a friend is all about.

Hi, my name is Rod and this session is about

something that I’m really passionate about.

The power of being a friend’.

With CAP’s different services we see many

people released from poverty and we celebrate

dozens and dozens of families each week

that go debt free, who find a job and who are

released from their life-controlling habits.

That is great, but our heart is also to see our

clients released from spiritual poverty

and for them to encounter the one who

can make them spiritually whole, Jesus Christ.

We do this by creating opportunities for

clients to hear the Gospel through a number

of ways but what I believe the most effective way

to reach our clients is when we become

intentional in stepping out of our comfort zone

and inviting the poor, the needy, the lonely

into our lives by becoming their friends.

Whether you are doing this already

or just about to do this, I really want to

commend you for this. You are doing

something that is going to have eternal impact.

Befriending in the CAP context is when

somebody from a church connected to a CAP

service will try and build a relationship / friendship

with a client, offering emotional support

as they journey through whatever challenges

they’ve faced, while at the same time

demonstrating the love and compassion of Christ.

So what is the qualification to be a befriender?

Three things really:

One is that you know Jesus Christ as your

personal Saviour.

Two is that you’re a good listener.

And three is that you’re friendly.

See being friendly and happy is really important.

If you’re miserable, then they are not likely

to want to know the God that you say

has changed your life.

2 Corinthians 5:20 says that we are Christ’s

ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us’.

This means that when you’re spending

time with the client you’re befriending

you’re representing King Jesus.

When you speak words of encouragement

and blessing it carries the same authority

as if Jesus was speaking those words himself.

How good is that?

See, God has chosen to reach people

through people, and the only way we can

do this effectively is by spending time with them.

When the person you’re being a friend to

sees how much you genuinely care for them

as individuals, that will earn you the right

to tell them about Jesus, to share testimony and

sow precious seeds of God’s love into their hearts.

When Jesus was on earth he was known as

a friend of sinners’.

This was because he would often spend

time with those who were far away from God.

As he said in Mark 2:17, It’s not the healthy

who need a doctor but the sick. I have not

come to call the righteous, but sinners.

He invited them into his life,

he went round their house,

he ate with them, and in doing these things

he was showing them that he cared.

What an amazing model to follow.

Zig Ziglar once said,

People don’t care how much you know

until they know how much you care’.

When they see you really do care for them

they will listen to what you have to say.

When you begin to build a relationship

with the person you are befriending,

you are giving away what you’ve received

from God; his love, his friendship, his kindness,

his peace, his goodness and hope.

And how you do this may be different each time.

Here are some examples of things you can do

in your role as a befriender.

Keep regular contact, maybe a weekly phone call

or text message. A short text can make their day.

Send them a card with an encouraging message.

Maybe drop a box of chocolates or

bunch of flowers round their house.

Take them out for a coffee and a cake.

It doesn’t have to be expensive.

I personally have found those times

to be really effective in building relationships.

Invite clients to your house for a meal.

Take them out on an activity or to an event

you are going on.

Identify a need and look at way to meet that need.

As friendships are formed, and trust is built

you will see people open their hearts to you

and share things that perhaps they

have never told anyone else.

And these times are ideal opportunities

to offer prayer, and be able to

tell them how much God loves them,

and who knows where that will lead?

When a level of trust has been established

you are more likely to get a positive response

when you invite them to church events too.

I’ve been volunteering at a CAP Job Club

for the last six months and we have

had the privilege of seeing 75% of our non-Christian

members attend at least one event at church,

and 50% attend church regularly every Sunday

having giving their lives to Christ.

And what did we do?

We did a lot of what I have already mentioned.

But really just being Christ to them,

by saturating them with his love, goodness,

kindness and grace. It really is not that difficult.

Just the other day a client who

gave his life to the Lord

wrote CAP a poem and one line was,

Thank you for being Jesus to us’.

That is what the people you are gonna be

befriending will see in you.

Here are some questions for you to discuss in groups.

Rod Williams rounds off this session with further encouragement in this 4‑minute video.

In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says,

Whatever you did for one of the least of these

brothers and sisters of mine you did for me’.

So, when you are taking a food parcel

around to a client, it is Jesus

you are taking it to.

When you take a client out for a coffee,

it is Jesus you’re taking out.

When you invite a client around to your house,

it is Jesus you are inviting around to your house.

And regardless of what the outcome is,

when you do these things, it is Jesus

you are doing it to and for, and that

is all that matters and please

remember that when discouragement

and frustration comes, because that will happen.

But there will also be times when you

are completely astounded with

what the Lord does and the miracles

you witness, and my prayer is that,

that will be more of your experience.

A couple of weeks ago I sat down

with Jonathan, a former debt client

from Manchester, and he told me his story.

And I thought it fitted in so well with

this session. So I’m going to let Jonathan

tell you his story himself.

My name is Jonathan and six years ago

I became a CAP client after getting

into financial difficulty.

My marriage broke down as a result

of the pressure of the debt.

My wife and I split up for a short time

and I was left living alone in a room above

a pub, full of guilt, remorse and despair.

Now, I heard about CAP and contacted

them for help.

A debt coach from the local CAP centre

came to visit me and within a few

weeks there was a plan in place for me

to become debt free.

Alongside this I had also been offered,

and accepted a new job, and together,

these changes in my life also gave hope

to my wife, and we were able

to reconcile our relationship.

All these things that were happening

were amazing, but what really put

the icing on the cake was that one day

there was a knock at my door.

It was Christmas and standing there was a guy

called Mark from the church where the

CAP centre was based, with a hamper

for my family and me.

Now I couldn’t believe the kindness

and generosity that was being shown to us.

And from that moment Mark remained

in contact with me, he would send me

a text seeing how I was doing,

he took me out for a coffee,

and we even went out for a curry.

One time, when a creditor took me to court,

Mark came with me to support me.

Now, he didn’t have to do any of these things,

but he did. It made a difference.

Mark and I became good friends.

He really was interested in me as a

human being and I began to see

Christians in a different light.

Mark represented Jesus to me and little

did I know that my heart was softening.

One night I went to Mark’s church

after being invited to an event where

there was going to be food and a talk.

Now, the food may have influenced

my decision in going, but because

I trusted Mark, and other people I had

met from the church, I actually wanted

to go to see what it was all about.

That night I heard a powerful story

of how somebody’s life had been

transformed by Jesus Christ.

That night I too asked Jesus into my life

and I have not been the same since.

I have been baptised, I am in the

worship band, I now work at CAP head office,

but more importantly I know Jesus

as my personal Saviour.

It all started with a Christian who was

willing to inconvenience himself for me,

to reach out to me at my point of need.

He let his light shine… and now

that same light directs my life.

Jonathan is one of thousands and

thousands of people out there who

just need an opportunity to see love in action.

The CAP service is the open door.

You get to walk through that door,

and when you do remember you’re not alone,

God walks through that door with you.

Go in faith, go in power, go in love,

go in boldness, go in the confidence

of the gospel and just see what the Lord does.

God bless.

The power of your story

Wendy Parkinson talks about the importance of your testimony and how powerful this can be in your role.

Have you ever read a book where

you are so captivated you

can’t put it down?

It made you cry, it made you

hold your breath?

There is power in a story!

Your testimony is a gift

to everyone you give it to.

Revelation 12:11 says,

They over came by the blood of the

Lamb and the word of their testimony’.

Your testimony gives hope.

Never think that it’s not special.

It’s about your relationship with God.

How he was there with you.

Your testimony does not have to be

dramatic. We have to show

the love of God and how powerful

he has been in our lives.

It does not have to be about your salvation.

You may have grown up in a Christian

family and not have experienced any

real hardship, but whatever God has done

in your life it is significant.

God has given you stuff to give away,

and it’s your responsibility to use what

God has given you and to get it out there!

People can’t argue with your story,

because it is exactly that: your story.

John 3:11 says,

I tell you the truth, we speak of what we

know and we testify to what we have seen.’

Your testimony must be about God

working in your life.

1 Corinthians 2:1–5 says,

When I came to you my message was

not with wise and persuasive words,

but with a demonstration of the

Spirit’s power, so your faith might not rest

on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power.’

Our testimony needs to be told with passion,

always emphasising God’s ability to

transform lives and situations.

It’s all about our experience with God.

It’s our hope and our clients’ hope,

for the promises of God in the future.

Here is Emma using an opportunity to

share her testimony with somebody.

So, I come from a really big family,

so I have four older sisters and one

identical twin sister.

And growing up with so many female siblings,

it became quite an issue for me,

just with the comparison that would

always happen between us.

And it became a particular struggle

for me and my twin sister.

You know, she was just one of those

really annoying people that is just

really confident. She just didn’t care.

You know, she could wake up with

toothpaste on her face and she was

still just as confident, and she would just,

sort of, demand the attention of a

whole room at any given time.

I, on the other hand, was quite shy

and quite withdrawn really.

So I found it quite hard, you know,

I felt kinda, What’s the point

of me if Sarah is here?

You know, she’s the better version of me really.

Why do I need to be around if she’s here?’

And those feelings sort of developed into

a sort of depression and eventually

it developed into an eating disorder

called anorexia, which is where you

deprive your body of food for long

periods of time.

At my worst I was sort of having,

sort of half a meal a day,

and trying to exercise

as much as I possibly could.

We didn’t have any sort of scales in the

house because my parents didn’t let us,

but I was in a year six clothing when I was

14 years old. So you can imagine that my

body was just not able to cope with that.

It was shutting down really.

You know, I was having weeks at a time

off school, I wasn’t able to see any friends.

And, I just … my body wasn’t coping

and I wasn’t coping either.

I just felt worthless.

I didn’t understand the point in me.

And my parents are actually Christians.

They took us to church and I heard

all the stories and my mum would always

tell me about this God. This God that

made us for relationship with him.

And she’d say, Emma, there’s this Jesus,

this son, that he had, that he sent to

die for you so that you could have

relationship with him.’

And at the time, I kinda thought,

Yeah I think I’m going to heaven.

I think there’s life after death, but I’m

not really sure about this relationship part.

How did this thing that happened

two thousand years ago have any

relevance to my life now?’

But at this point in my life, to be honest,

I really didn’t have anything else to live for,

I didn’t see the point in me.

I cried out to this God, and was like,

God, if you’re there, please, please

help me, please save me!’

And, you know, it didn’t happen overnight.

I didn’t feel instantly better, but I

started to learn about who I was to God.

That he knew each hair on my head,

and that really meant something to me.

As a twin you’re, sort of, you need to

know that you’re important;

that you’re significant.

And this relationship with Jesus began

to grow and grow, and he has saved me

time and time again.

He is the rock that I’ve built

my life upon and I really

couldn’t do life without him now.

So there you can see the power

of one person’s testimony.

I would like you to now practise writing

and sharing your story.

What was life like before Christ?

How did you enter into a relationship

with Jesus?

What has God done since then?

Remember your testimony does not

have to be about salvation, but could be

a story of how God has helped you

through a difficult situation or even

how he has blessed you.

Remember we are all different.

Take ten minutes to do this.

When you’ve done that get into pairs

and tell your testimony to each other

one at a time.

Speak for about five minutes each.

Then feed back to each other.

Let’s use our testimony to change history

here on earth, and set the captives free.