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Jonathan Kemp Director, Anglican Youth, Children & Families Ministry Anglican Church, Southern Queensland WWW.AYCF.ORG.AU. Social Action for Families. Outline. What? Why? How? What Now?. What is “Social Action”?. An umbrella heading for: Social Service activities (serving others)

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Social action for families

Jonathan Kemp

Director, Anglican Youth, Children & Families Ministry

Anglican Church, Southern Queensland


Social Action for Families



  • What?

  • Why?

  • How?

  • What Now?

What is social action

What is “Social Action”?

  • An umbrella heading for:

    • Social Service activities (serving others)

      • E.g. Feeding the hungry

      • Sheltering the homeless

      • Comforting the lonely

    • Social Justice activities (fighting for others’ rights)

      • E.g. Raising awareness of issues

      • Political protest

    • Missional activities (bringing Jesus to life for others; building God’s Kingdom on Earth)

      • Mission Trips

      • Service Projects (building schools, etc.)

Why should christians do it

Why should Christians do it?

The Lord’s Prayer:

  • “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Jesus not an ally of the r ich and p owerful

Jesus: Not an ally of the rich and powerful

The sermon on the mount

The Sermon on the Mount

  • Matthew 5-7

  • Matthew 25:31-46 (The Sheep and the Goats)

Other sources reasons

Other sources / reasons?

  • We are God’s hands, feet, etc.

  • If we don’t, who will? (Ever seen an atheist soup kitchen?)

  • Traditions / denominations

Why should families work and serve together

Why should families work and serve together?

Research findings

Research findings

  • Research says it’s good for families:

    • Most kids who said they did at least an hour of service per week reported that their parents also did lots of service activities.

    • Makes ‘family time’ a priority

    • Reduces screen time

    • Builds and serves the community

    • Allows family members to see each other in a new light

    • Gives young people opportunity to lead

    • Stimulus to talk about and teach their values

Research also says

Research also says...

Making service projects worthwhile

Making Service Projects Worthwhile

  • “This is lame!”

  • Not if:

    • Young people do actual work, not just observe

    • Adults are accepting & don’t criticise

    • Kids have important responsibilities

    • Have a sense of making a contribution

    • Have the freedom to develop their own ideas

    • Have opportunity to reflect (debrief)

Before we even get started

Before we even get started...

  • Think ‘Safety First!’

  • Legalities and policies...

  • Due diligence...

  • Risk Assessment...

  • Age / gender appropriate...

  • Blue Cards / Food handling / Cash handling / safe environment / etc...

How do we get started 1

How do we get started? (1)

  • Be clear about expectations and roles

    • (rotate the leadership)

  • Develop a cooperative atmosphere

    • (no-one likes having their work criticised)

  • Train families

    • (provide the right gear; use expert trainers)

How do we get started 2

How do we get started? (2)

  • Create meaningful projects and activities

    • (meet genuine needs; use ‘mentor families’)

  • Offer options in terms of commitment

    • (1-3 hour jobs? A week for those with more time?)

  • Debrief the experience

    • (have a discussion time; pluses and minuses of what happened)

Supermarket stake out

Supermarket Stake-out!

  • (Let’s try this process out...)

  • 1. Expectations and roles

  • 2. Good atmosphere 

  • 3. Gear

  • 4. Meaningful

  • 5. Options

  • 6. Debrief

Three levels for service

Three levels for Service

  • 1. Church

  • 2. Local Neighbourhood

  • 3. State / National / Global

You tell me local church

You tell me! Local Church

  • Some local Church projects that families could be engaged in:

You tell me local neighbourhood

You tell me! Local Neighbourhood

  • Service ideas:

Social justice for families

Social Justice for Families

  • Real v. Realistic – realistic is OK.

  • Raising funds is a valid outcome

  • But education about the world is also important

  • Think about aligning with an agency (check its integrity etc)

  • Then decide which cause feels most deserving to you

  • No need to reinvent the wheel: look around at what other people are doing.

Stimulate some discussion

Stimulate some discussion...


  • issue)

  • ‘Go Back Where You Came From’ (SBS)

  • Movies, TV, books... Talk about the issues (values). How should Christians respond?

Start to start

Start to start...

  • 1. Determine greatest need (or your passion).

  • 2. Brainstorm lots of ways to help.

  • 3. Short list to 5 or 6 and look harder.

  • 4. Short list again to 2 or 3 and think about logistics.

  • 5. Pick one and do it!

Make it intergenerational

Make it “Intergenerational”

  • Take existing service activities or mission trips, and ensure all ages are involved:

    • Food pantries and kitchens

    • Habitat for Humanity home building

    • Urban gardens to grow and distribute food

    • Yard work or home repair for homebound seniors

    • Leading worship or games at a retirement village

    • “Parents’ Night Out” (child-minding) for church or neighbourhood

Intergenerational social action

Intergenerational Social Action

  • Baking bread and taking to shut-ins or new arrivals

  • Making cards and visiting a kids’ hospital, asking families what you can pray for

  • Graffiti / litter cleanup around your church neighbourhood

  • Intergenerational 40-hour famine

  • Sending care packs and letters to missionaries or deployed soldiers

Ask if one person can do it

Ask: “If one person can do it...

  • Could a family be doing it?”

Anticipating objections

Anticipating Objections

  • What could be some reasons for families not becoming involved in Service projects?

Q does becoming involved in social action

Q: Does becoming involved in Social Action...

  • imply a particular political party or stance?

  • A: No.



Tony Campolo

Jim Wallis (shredded Bible)

Shane Claiborne

Red letter christians

Red Letter Christians



Tim Costello

Jarrod McKenna

Resource abigyear net



What now

What now?

  • Take a moment to reflect on:

  • What could you do to start taking Social Action,

  • or to

  • encourage

  • others to

  • start?

Thanks and every blessing

Thanks and every blessing...

  • “They’ll know we are

    Christians by our love.”

Even more ideas

Even more ideas...

Jonathan Kemp


  • Email: [email protected]


  • (and see the Resource books available...)

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