Last year, I had the privilege of working with the Christian media channel, Revelation TV, to create a short series which airs this month! Lyn Weston, CAP’s Director of Church Engagement & Network, and I travelled down to Revelation TV’s south London studios one day in November.
Too many topics to talk about
Lyn and I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Revelation TV presenter Del Bearfoot, who himself had friends who’d been supported out of debt by CAP. Del came well prepared and eager to tell viewers how local churches can help people experiencing financial difficulties, through partnering with CAP. Between the three of us we covered everything from how to budget to the biblical mandate, from using credit to navigating conversations about money. Lyn and I were keen to spotlight the unique way that church communities provide a supportive presence to local people, so were delighted to show videos from debt-help clients, group members, frontline workers and partner church leaders, speaking on these matters too.
To be honest, even as I boarded my train to London that morning, I still didn’t know what exactly to expect. I’d had the privilege of being involved in a filming project earlier this year when CAP created new video content as part of refreshing our money coaching materials. But what would it be like filming a ‘live’ interview series for a TV channel?
When we arrived in south London, we walked into a flashy production studio with lots of hi spec equipment. Once welcomed by the crew and settled on set, the first thing I had to quickly learn was to not look at the camera! Something easier said than done. The studio was structured to facilitate a three way conversation between Del, Lyn and myself; as such, the cameras were hidden just beyond our circle — making it easy to accidentally glance into the lens — exactly what you aren’t meant to do!
The other thing I learned: green screens are amazing. When you watch the programmes, you’ll see Bradford city’s skyline (where our CAP offices are based) behind Del, Lyn and myself as we chat, but we actually filmed everything in front of a green screen. When I was filming I was thinking, ‘how can this possibly work?’ but the result is incredible.
Budgeting habits are needed now more than ever
On the day of filming, one of the production team was processing some really difficult personal news; it illustrated to me how quickly life can change. The New Year can often be a tough financial time for people, especially those on lower incomes or juggling debts. With less government support available in 2024 than last year, more people are at risk of sliding into significant debts with their energy supplier this winter. Therefore careful budgeting is going to be vital over the next few months. We’re grateful to Revelation TV for broadcasting this TV series, which focuses heavily on budgeting, in January as this is an optimum time for people to pick up budgeting advice and where to go for help.
Matching our habits to our priorities
Talking about money in this context gave me an opportunity to reflect again on why budgeting matters. Over the past year, I’ve been leading CAP’s refresh on its money coaching service which focuses heavily on budgeting skills. I have seen again and again the freedom people experience when they are equipped with the knowledge, tools and confidence to improve their financial wellbeing and begin feeling in control of their finances. Fundamentally, budgeting is all about matching your money habits to your priorities; for some people that simply means being able to pay the bills. Ultimately, we all have a limited amount of money to spend, so let’s make sure we use it on the things that matter most to us!
It’s all too easy to judge others
As we chatted about money in the studio, it made us reflect on the attitude towards other people’s spending habits. It’s easy to make moral judgements about others, and indeed ourselves, when it comes to money. Perhaps we have said to ourselves ‘I can’t believe they just bought that’ or ‘I’m such a failure because I’m in this position’. But these responses are neither helpful or in line with the teachings of Jesus. What if we were curious instead of critical? ‘I wonder why this thing, which I consider a luxury, is a priority for this person?’ What if we were compassionate to ourselves instead of condemning? ‘Navigating life and money is complicated, and I never intended to end up in this situation.’ Perhaps if we did that, we’d also be quicker to seek help when we experience money troubles, something that many people are often tragically slow to do.
The local church is vital in tackling poverty
CAP’s partnership with local churches is not only an effective way to reach everyday people who are experiencing poverty, but it also enables us as Christians to walk the extra mile. This TV series features local church leaders, workers and volunteers talking about how they went above and beyond offering simple financial support but gave practical care and help, along with a listening ear — and told us what a huge impact that makes on people. When churches offer this kind of support to people who are often feeling isolated and alone, they are providing a warm welcome into a non-judgemental environment, offering an opportunity for people to belong, to be encouraged, and to be supported as they put the pieces of their lives back together. This kind of supportive presence goes beyond practical help and breathes God’s life giving love. Part of CAP’s vision is to see the church thrive as the beating hub of its community, and we’ll do whatever we can to equip the church to ‘be’ just that — the Church.
Watch live or on demand
Episode 01: The Benefits of Budgeting
Monday 1 January, 20:30
Thursday 4 January, 15:30
Tuesday 16 January, 19:00
Monday 22 January, 05:30
Episode 02: Our Relationship with Money
Friday 5 January, 20:00
Saturday 6 January, 13:00
Tuesday 23 January, 20:00
Friday 26 January, 06:30
Episode 03: Be an Agent of Change
Monday 8 January, 20:30
Thursday 11 January, 10:00
Sunday 28 January, 20:30
Wednesday 31 January, 01:00