Jennie Pollock
The church should have a role in the UK’s Covid recovery

A YouGov poll, commissioned by Bible Society in January 2021, has found that 51% of people in England and Wales believe the Christian church has a role to play in “serving the poor and supporting those on the edges of society” as we ease into the post-Covid world. Only 14% said it should have no role at all.

Commenting on the research at last week’s National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, Rhiannon McAleer said, “This is something we see consistently in research: non-Christians see a role for the church in serving those in need. … Our challenge is to speak well into this new landscape, sharing with our communities why the church cares about the suffering, the poor and the bereaved, but without triggering their barriers and fears.”

This will involve both learning from secular agencies and helping believers to understand God’s heart for the poor through their study of his word.

This is the heart behind the Monday Mercy videos we have begun to produce (watch them all here, or subscribe to our YouTube channel to ensure you never miss one), and what we mean when we say we want to start ‘moving beyond projects’.

God’s heart for those who are suffering or experiencing poverty isn’t just that they be made physically whole, warm and wealthy – Jesus was clear that wealth can be a huge barrier to entering God’s kingdom (Mark 10:17-29, Luke 12:13-21). We are called to meet people’s physical needs (James 2), but we mustn’t neglect their deeper need to become “rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom” (James 2:5).

In the Bible Society research only 15% of respondents said the church should be “Helping people encounter God” in the wake of the pandemic, and 12% that we should be “sharing the news of Jesus”. We want to see that statistic change. We want to make Jesus as popular as food and housing and employment – and that isn’t going to happen in society unless it happens in the church first.

Graph showing results of YouGov poll

So watch the Monday Mercy videos. Download our Social Action Course and study through it with a group of friends – or with your whole church. Book in for our Churches that Change Communities conference. And look out for more resources like this that will equip you to have confidence in God’s call to share the bread of life alongside the daily bread we have to offer.