‘I am puzzled by which Bible people are reading when they suggest that religion and politics don’t mix.’Desmond Tutu
This sums up what lies at the heart our advocacy work. We see following Jesus where the need as greatest as a whole-life response. Our faith gives us hope for the future and a deeper understanding of poverty. It inspires us not only to address current needs around the world, but also to tackle the root causes of poverty and injustice. We ask the question, ‘What perpetuates poverty?’
Our Advocacy Team works with people in the UK and around the world to address the underlying causes of poverty, bring justice and support good development. We do this by helping people change their own lifestyles, challenging unfair systems and structures, and by influencing the policies and practices of powerful decision-makers.
WHAT DOES ADVOCACY LOOK LIKE?
Advocacy can mean many different things around the world. In the UK, we encourage people to speak out on issues of poverty and injustice, whether directly with politicians or by sharing our petitions with their churches.
Around the world, our Advocacy Team works with individuals and churches to help them demonstrate their faith through actions and lifestyle changes that challenge destructive policies and practices. For example, in Uganda, local communities are holding their local government officials to account for providing services such as healthcare, education and water. Meanwhile, in Brazil, movements of Christians are lobbying politicians for environmental justice.
We have worked on many issues over the years. Our current priorities are climate change, which is one of the biggest drivers of poverty around the world, and access to clean energy. Our work on the circular economy – an economic model with a focus on reusing resources rather than discarding them – also offers an unparalleled development opportunity. It’s good for the economy, could save lives and will definitely create jobs, lifting people out of poverty and protecting the planet.
WHY DO WE DO ADVOCACY?
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus proclaimed: 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour' (Luke 4:18–19).
Jesus’ entire ministry shows him bringing hope, liberation and inclusion to everyone in all areas of their lives, especially those who were marginalised and downtrodden. This theme of restoration runs throughout the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, we see God’s story of salvation unfold, as he invites his people to help bring restoration. As Christians we are called to be involved in advocacy work as part of this picture of ‘putting things right’.
Jesus challenged the people, systems and structures that created injustice of his day. Our faith is a response to good news and it demands a response to injustice. In our fragmented world, we’re still called to proclaim this good news and that includes challenging the systems that keep people in poverty. God has placed Christians in many different areas of work and levels of society, all of which need to be influenced and transformed if we’re to see poverty alleviated.
To help get a fair and sustainable world, we need a big movement for change, and we believe that the church is well placed to lead it. Join with us and be part of generation that grabs hold of this hope, the people who take joy in their responsibility to build a better world for God’s glory.