Empowering people with choice
Pathways from Poverty is an initiative that seeks to empower people from across the world by offering them choices and creating pathways to enable them to escape from poverty.
An introduction from Mike Betts
It strikes me that remembering the poor is more than an apostolic responsibility. At its core it is an act of obedience too. The aim of Pathways from Poverty (PfP) is to work with the poor through the relationships that we have in Relational Mission both overseas and in the UK.
My working definition of ‘the poor’ is those who have been disempowered to the extent that they do not have choices. This disempowerment may be social, economic or physical but this, for me, is about people having choices. I hope this definition will help us to stay focussed on the real needs and not just money issues. Pathways from Poverty is not about giving out short term financial aid; it’s about creating sustainable pathways out of poverty that bring dignity and empowerment. I want to see Relational Mission enabling the poor to have choices restored to them as part of the DNA of our movement.
Pathways from Poverty is an enabling initiative of Relational Mission. It’s not a bolt-on to Relational Mission, nor is it separate in any way from who we are as local churches or a movement of churches on mission together. It is part of who we are. I hope you find this useful in how we move forward together ensuring that we ‘remember the poor, the very thing that I am eager to do’.
Read about how we're responding to the humanitarian crisis here.
So what next?
A new conversation
Having kick-started the Pathways from Poverty Christmas appeals, which have been enabling major projects in Kenya and Ghana to provide pathways out of poverty, the initiative has widened its scope to explore how Pathways from Poverty is expressed within Relational Mission churches in the UK and Europe.
We spent some time in conversation with church leaders in the UK and Europe about their current community involvement, their plans and aspirations for the future, about what would help them to achieve more and what knowledge, skills and expertise they may have within their own church that could be shared to help other churches in the Relational Mission family.
The results of the survey have been collated into the Pathways from Poverty Development Report. It lays out a plan to help churches in the Relational Mission family to move forward with their work in the local community.
What does this mean for the future?
The outcome from our survey is that Pathways from Poverty will focus on supporting, encouraging and equipping local churches in their community-based action, through the development of web-based resources, one-to-one mentoring, networking and training events and the sharing of best practice to enable churches to more easily start new projects, go deeper with others and work together to find God inspired solutions to the problems of deprivation and poverty we see all around us.
Four key principles have emerged through this consultation process, which you felt were important in helping to define Relational Mission churches' involvement in the community:
- We are all equal: Our work must be undertaken with people, loving and valuing everyone as Christ does.
- Keep social action and church connected: Our social action activities must be well-connected to the church. The gospel must be an integral part of our Kingdom action and one shouldn't run ahead of the other.
- We are in it for the long haul: We want to offer support that has long term impact, enabling people to get onto sustainable pathways out of poverty, and not just look at short term crisis aid.
- Sharing God's vision: It is important that we are motivated by God’s vision for the impact he wants us to have in our local community, rather than just reacting to the needs we see all around us.
We've collated a matrix of the activities, specialisms and future aspirations of individual churches. Please do let me know if your church has started new ventures or activities, so that I can add them into the matrix.
Get in touch
The Pathways from Poverty team is available to talk through any aspect of church social action with those in Relational Mission churches who want to do something, but are not sure where to start. Contact Julia Miller at email@example.com and see how the Pathways from Poverty team can support your church's Kingdom action.