The issue of poverty is notoriously complicated and difficult. Simple solutions simply will not work for the long term. All of the temporary fixes have future costs and repercussions that are typically much worse and only exasperate the problem. This has caused many to decide that it is better to either ignore the problem or talk it to death. They say, “There is no solution.” Men and women of faith quote Jesus saying, “The poor you have with you always.”
There is hope. There was this village in the ancient days where a king empowered his people. He initially gave them olive trees. He taught them how tto care for the trees and the people were required to give him back a portion of the produce. This king empowered his people by offering the teaching and training for everything from the ground prep, planting, caring and harvesting. Then once he was repaid he taught them more about marketing and making new products from the olives. Soon this very poor village was prosperous. It all started with empowering the people. Empowerment is one key. Charity kills the spirit of men. We must find a way to restore life to those who are in povery and they might surprise us with their creativity and power. By the way that village became the great city state of Athens.
There is a way that we can do this but it will take great cooperation. Next, I will describe a fictional neighborhood and how all of the pieces could come together. Together is one key.
Imagine a fairly standard neighborhood. Within this neighborhood are businesses, churches, schools and residents.
The churches take the lead in reaching out to their neighbors. Pastors would no longer simply be a pastor to those who walk through their doors, but instead would serve as a shepherd for the entire neighborhood. Most neighborhoods here have multiple churches. Regardless of denominations pastors could choose to work with other churches on this portion of the community.
As they get to know their neighborhood businesses and residents they would assess the needs. The churches could act as a connecting service. A resident needs a job, they would connect the person to the business. The business needs employees the churches would connect the residents to the business. If a resident needed help with a broken appliance. The church would examine the ranks of their members and connect the expert to the problem.
Churches would encourage everyone in their neighborhood that they are valuable and can add something to the community. The residents would be encouraged to work, be employed and serve the neighborhood.
The churches would also adopt the local school and again provide connections between resources and students. This might include tutors, school supplies or afterschool care. This would also include celebrations of students graduating or preparing to go to college.
An important note is that the churches are not to provide all of the resources but rather to serve as a simple connection to the needs.
You can watch a full presentation at http://grmmuskogee.org
You can listen to the Get Grit podcasts on the podcast page to learn more as well on Itunes. I invite you to visit the Quest to End Poverty pages of the grmmuskogee.org website to discover affinity groups that will enable us to do this quest together. It is together that I seek. I desire a community that works toward solutions.
Can we do this together? I look forward to hearing from you – Rich Schaus
Send me your input and feedback at [email protected]
Rich Schaus, born and raised just east of St Louis Missouri, Graduated Central Bible College in Springfield Mo, Married for 20 years, Three kids, Distinguished Toastmaster, Author of Hero Quest, Producer of Get Grit Podcasts, Working in Rescue Mission work for over 15 years