Multiple Deprivation = Missional Obligation

Just wanted to share this map with you – it shook me to my boots when I first saw it 4 years ago and it still does today! It’s the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (2005) that colour codes the nation according to the social depravation in each political ward. Taking into consideration such factors as income, employment, health, education, housing, access to services and community safety, the map shows in stark clarity the hotspots of poverty and social concern in Wales. Basically, the darker the shading, the more deprived the area.


For those who don’t know Welsh geography, the valleys, home to 1.3 million people, is the really dark blob that stretches from east to west across the majority of South Wales. The poverty in many areas is both inescapable and inexcusable. The South Wales Valleys is one of the poorest regions of western europe, and the church is in serious decline, with greying congregations holding the fort as the younger generation either don’t give a stuff about church, or jump in their cars and travel to the bigger, cooler, more ‘exciting’ churches in the cities south of the M4. That bothers me, and this is why…

God’s heart for the poor is clear throughout scripture. Jesus clearly underlined this when John the Baptist’s mates asked Him to confirm that He actually was the Messiah. He told them: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. (Luke 7v22) Taking the gospel to the poor is at the heart of the gospel and it authenticates the ministry of Jesus. Therefore, as you look at this map, please do so prayerfully and with an open heart.  The valleys need the gospel preached to them. But…

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'” (Romans 10v14-15)

Surely for the church of Jesus Christ in Wales right now, these areas of multiple deprivation should be considered a missional obligation!

For the WIMD 2008 interactive map and for a detailed breakdown on all Welsh regions, click here

One thought on “Multiple Deprivation = Missional Obligation

  1. A picture paints a thousand words. It’s not a pretty picture at that.

    I’m sure I’ve seen this before, but it shocks me everytime. Somehow obligation seems like too nicer word though, from the looks of things its more than a polite gesture but a desperate need…Count me in!!

    ….Keep up the good work!

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