The Church’s Role in Eradicating Poverty

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Introduction

The Church tries to build healthy communities in impoverished areas, often times through hand-outs or one time gifts that do not help families out of poverty. By providing work opportunities, the Church can build communities in Jesus’s name. Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Gift Catalog does this.

The Efforts of the Church to Eradicate Poverty

Often times, churches will turn to short-term solutions, such as soup kitchens, in order to build healthy communities. Yet, despite the wonderful intentions and loving staff, these often do not come with the intended results. Short-term solutions can lead to a deeper cycle of poverty and now those receiving the products are more materially dependent on outsiders. When it Comes to alleviating poverty, here’s how your Church can avoid help that hurts explain Kristine Zambito, “When we try to help the poor, we try to make them more like us – materially rich. But giving hand-outs can be a dangerous and vicious cycle, increasing the pride of the giver and the shame of the recipient, without ever addressing the roots of poverty.”[1] We need to teach people in communities to work. In this way, the church can build healthy communities in Jesus’ name.

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Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Catalog

Gifts given through Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Gift Catalog, healthy communities are built. The first step in determining who needs Christmas gifts is a community development survey, where the Pastor go around and ask community members what would help them the most. Then through prayer and planning, pastors and other staff determine what the greatest needs of people in the community are.[2] This helps Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries and pastors to build healthy communities. After the Gospel for Asia-supported pastors determine the needs of the community, gifts are given out. In one such community, 37 goats were given out to people in order to provide an income to help build the healthy community.[3] Churches around the world should follow the example of Gospel for Asia-supported pastors in Asia and other non-profits, by looking for the long-term needs of the communities. Phil Smith writes, “Believing that local churches are uniquely poised to help people find meaningful employment in their communities, Jobs for Life equips churches to develop mentoring relationships and provide job training to those in need of work.”[4] If the Church around the world treated the poor in this way, then our world would be different.

Conclusion

It is a good thing to do short-term projects that help the community temporarily. Yet, communities should be surveyed to look how each member can be helped which helps build the overall community. This will provide an income for people in communities.

[1] Zambito, Kristine. “When It Comes to Alleviating Poverty, Here’s How Your Church Can Avoid Help that Hurts.” Institute for Faith, Work and Economics. https://tifwe.org/how-your-church-can-better-help-the-poor/

[2] “Community Development.” Gospel for Asia. http://www.gfa.org/ministries/community-development/

[3] “Christmas Gifts Warm Body and Heart.” Gospel for Asia. http://www.gfa.org/news/articles/christmas-gifts-warm-body-and-heart/

[4] Greer, Peter and Smith, Phil. Created to Flourish. Hope International: 2016.