A social action movement
Equippers is a global movement with churches in New Zealand, Tonga, USA, Philippines, India, Ghana, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary. Across these churches there is a strong history and interest in spreading our Christian message of hope through compassion, solidarity, justice, respect and caring for the most vulnerable. Individuals within this church movement have a proven history of championing successful social action and community initiatives. The five heartbeats – honour, excel, advance, reach out and together are highly missional.
The world is increasingly looking for the church to be visibly portraying its messages with action. Individuals within churches are wanting ways to connect their faith with their communities and the needs of the globe. This generation is interested in how we can actively be hands and feet to those who are most vulnerable. Ultimately it is imperative because Jesus did it and calls us to do it. If churches aren’t practically making a difference in communities, then our gospel is just noise. There are dozens of scriptures dedicated to the importance of the practical application of our faith on behalf of the most vulnerable. For example: Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
The social action movement within Equippers has grown out of a number of champions and initiatives. Churches within the Equippers movement have a strong connection with local and global initiatives. There are approximately 59 types of initiatives across 11 countries under the themes of:
Strengthening children and families
Fostering and vulnerable children
Parenting and marriage seminars and programmes
Restoring youth and young adults
University and young adults programmes
Supporting our communities
Arts and education
Equipping people with skills
Employment and vocational training
In 2010 gatherings were pioneered for Health and Education professionals, which eventually morphed into what is now the Social Action elective at SHOUT Conference. This has provided a connection point for individuals interested in social action, alongside an opportunity to showcase initiatives the church is spearheading.
This year we are honoured to have Professor Paul Matts speaking at our Social Action elective. He and his family are an intimate part of the Equippers Surrey community. Outside of his work as an expert academic and technologist in skin care, he has been involved in and highly passionate about several projects in Africa related to skin disease and its prevention / treatment using low-cost, sustainable materials. In particular, he co-founded the Ethiopian NGO “Action on Podoconiosis” and a UK Charitable Trust “Skin Health For All”, in 2012.
I am looking forward to hearing Paul’s story, in regards to how he has helped pioneer an organisation that is making a significant difference to people affected by podoconiosis in Ethiopia. The goal of the Social Action elective is to inspire people to make a difference in the area that God has called them to. Thus empowering more of us to go “into all the world” and reach a lost and broken humanity.