We envision the local church in Africa effectively caring for the dying, orphaned and widowed, and unified in this mission with the church outside Africa.
Hands at Work in Africa believes in the church and in their mandated responsibility to care for ‘orphans and widows in their distress’ (James 1:27). Our vision is a challenge for the church. Will the institution that the church has become simply fulfil religious cravings, or will the church spend itself on behalf of the hungry (Isaiah 58:10), lifting the cause of the fatherless (Psalm 82:3), and becoming Christ-like in its humility and servanthood. Can religion be as pure and faultless as this?
The Local Church
The local church in Africa, like anywhere else in our world, is full of broken and bruised people. But in the poorest communities in Africa where we work, the scale of suffering could perhaps be unrivalled. Many of these churches largely consist of women, mostly grandmothers, and children. These women and children, with their own stories to tell of trauma and abuse, continue to see the cycle of poverty spiralling around them. Despite this tragedy, many of them have united to do something transformative in their own communities. As compassionate Christ-followers, they are holistically caring for Africa’s most vulnerable children every day. These Care Workers from the local churches have identified the most vulnerable in their community and through the support of Hands at Work and their church, seek to bring healing and restoration to each broken life.
The Church on the Hill
Surrounding our vulnerable communities in Africa are churches who can have a positive influence on the great work of the local Care Workers. These churches can play an essential role in lifting up the arms of their African brothers and sisters. They can use their resources and influence to protect, uphold and develop our vision of care for the most vulnerable. Hands at Work seeks to mobilise these churches, challenging them with the same scriptural mandate to defend the cause of the fatherless and uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed (Psalm 82:3). We invite the church on the hill, through the sending of volunteers and mobilising resources, to play an active part in transforming communities across Africa.
The International Church
Hands at Work believes that the church is the hope for our broken world. We believe that in every church there are wounded people in need of freedom and redemption and new life. When people from international churches come to Africa, we trust God that they will experience a transformation in their own lives. Often, people testify that they came to Africa ready to give, returning home having received abundantly more from the poor than they gave. How does this happen?
We believe in a two-way transformation where the body of Christ can unite in doing something beautiful for each other. When the international church comes to serve in the most vulnerable communities, they encounter Jesus in a new and very real way. What can flow from these encounters is a radical, zealous pursuit of justice and righteousness. While in Africa, these international churches rediscover the lost art of servanthood. The raw faith they encounter in Africa deeply challenges and encourages them.
Our church partnerships are founded upon relationships, not programs. We desire for churches to form a strong, transparent and long-term relationship with Hands at Work, joining a global community of people who are seeking God’s heart and running in pursuit of it. Churches join us in helping to be rebuilders of broken walls in our communities (Isaiah 58:12). Their partnership with us is not a financial transaction or based on a one-time project or two-week mission trip, but based on long-term relationship with us. The international church partners with Hands at Work to build strong, high walls which protect the vulnerable, lift up entire communities and transform people’s lives. As the international church commits themselves to doing this, they also experience new life. They find deeper purpose and meaning to being a follower of Christ in the 21st century and they turn from being an inward looking church to one that looks outward and seeks to make a true difference in the world.