The church is commissioned by God to bring healing to wounded lives, restoration to broken systems and relationships, and economic security where there is hardship.

However, so often churches in America struggle to support families impacted by poverty in ways that are relational, holistic, and lasting. Have you experienced this struggle in your efforts to start Faith & Finances in your community?

The Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE) is a tool that can help move your church or faith-based ministry into a deeper understanding of poverty that facilitates meaningful dialogue and engagement. COPE is a 2.5-hour experiential simulation that is designed by the Chalmers Center’s ministry partners Think Tank.

COPE gives participants a glimpse into the lives of low-income people living in your community and participating in your ministries. COPE portrays real-life stories of families impacted by poverty that go beyond the stereotypes often seen on the news or written about in the paper. The experience also captures the role that the church and the broader community plays in their interactions with under-resourced families.

The Chalmers Center collaborated with Think Tank to develop COPE: Faith Edition. It is designed with input from church leaders and ministry participants that desired to help the church identify better ways to engage their communities. Check out this video demonstrating how COPE is being used by the Restoration House in Knoxville, TN, to build community awareness.

Could a COPE be a good resource for you to help your church grasp the larger vision of Faith & Finances? Visit the Think Tank website and explore whether how you may bring a COPE to your community.

About the Author

  • Jerilyn has a B.A. in Psychology from Biola University and an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has worked in a variety of educational and youth development programs in the U.S., with an emphasis on urban communities. Her position at Chalmers synthesizes several things: love for people, passion for training that empowers disenfranchised people, and a desire to see God’s church be all that He meant it to be. Jerilyn and her husband Duane have two children.

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