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The Cost of Living Crisis: A Church Response

Photo of Stephen Mathews Stephen Mathews
2 min

Local churches have the call of Christ upon them to love their neighbours, with personal contacts in their communities. Remember the biblical example of the Macedonian churches who, despite severe trial and extreme poverty, found overflowing joy in generosity and ‘urgently pleaded’ to share what they had with those in need.

Finance will often be part of the need, but time and care has at least as much value. Churches are frequently better placed than large charities or government projects to find a solution.

Help may be a combination of:

  1. Small money grants
  2. Money loans (remembering they may not come back!)
  3. Goods that fill the need (e.g. a week’s shopping)
  4. Advice (e.g. where the biggest issue may be budgeting or support with benefits).

Some key thoughts:

The person

It helps if the person is known to the church and can be personally vouched for. It’s easier to assess what is the right answer and, where money is needed, roughly how much. But remember not to increase shame in the situation by the style of assessment. Applications often are made by a member of the church and confirmed by leaders, as a quick, effective process, proportionate to the amounts being given.

Some churches have a general policy of only supporting those within the church. Others go wider into their communities, thinking of Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats. I recommend that you think through a policy on when and why you provide support, and that you are able to explain the charitable logic to local media or others.


Often crises have an immediate need (or foreseeable in the next 10 days). So, the ability to respond quickly should be part of planning. A longer-term need may be best helped with practical advice and a loose commitment to further support.

Amounts of finance

Small (and if appropriate, ongoing) payments are preferred to large one-off payments. This helps speed, flexibility and ongoing assessment of the situation.

One of the factors that impacted the Roman Empire was the realisation that the Christian Church was helping communities more effectively than the official administration. It demonstrated Christianity was not just a belief but a change in life and heart. 

Find out about Stewardship's Cost of Living Response Fund and share the hope of Jesus at a time of crisis. 

Give hope 

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Written by

Stephen Mathews

Stephen has been at Stewardship for 15 years, advising churches and Christian charities on a breadth of issues around money, culture and governance. Previous to that, he gained valuable experience working for 20 years in the accountancy profession, alongside church leadership in his spare time.

Stephen is passionate about Local Church, UK Poverty & Debt, and International Aid, with a particular focus on educational development in Africa and in youth violence and racial inequality.