Posts in “Theology of Poverty Alleviation”
Holistic Approaches to Development
Material poverty is complex, and not reducible to a single cause. Healthy, sustainable poverty alleviation ministries need to address all five root causes of material poverty—Individual brokenness, Systemic brokenness, false stories of change, broken and destructive formative practices, and demonic forces. Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at Ministry Design Principles that contribute to the kingdom community and to God’s story of change, and today we continue examining principles that equip us to replace destructive formative practices. We seek to evaluate and replace our existing practices in favor of those that empower and equip our communities.
Reframing Our Ministry Practices in Light of God’s Story of Change
Resuming our journey through the Ministry Design Principles, we turn our attention to replacing destructive formative practices in our fundraising, in our relationships with stakeholders, and in our marketing strategies. A ministry working to walk in the path of God’s story of change pursues practices that treat all stakeholders as a community of broken yet restored priest-rulers, people who are relying on the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to jointly steward their wide range of gifts.
Combating False Gods and False Stories in Ministry Design
We’ve been sharing Ministry Design Principles in a series of posts (you can read last week’s here). All these principles can, in some sense, be bundled under 6 aspects of holistic poverty alleviation—1) Forming the kingdom community, 2) addressing false stories of change, 3) addressing broken practices, 4) addressing broken individuals, 5) addressing broken systems, and 6) addressing demonic forces.
Foundational Ministry Design Principles
Poverty alleviation is complex, so principles are more helpful than blueprints for designing an effective poverty alleviation ministry. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to material poverty, and context matters, too. Ministry tools and strategies that work well to facilitate lasting transformation in a rural village in Togo might not work in an urban area in the U.S., and vice versa. Effective, sustainable ministry reflects God’s story of change and the way He has made us as human beings.
Why We Need Ministry Design Principles
Ministry focused on addressing poverty is fundamentally about promoting change. It’s about helping people and communities move to a better situation than their present one.
Resurrection as Reconciliation and Empowerment
As the Chalmers Center staff gathers with our churches and families to celebrate Easter this week, we join with Christians around the world, declaring “He is risen!”
A Call to Benevolence: Helping Your Church Love Your Neighbors in Material Poverty
The Ministry of Jesus has always been word and deed. Wherever Jesus went, he preached the Kingdom of God. As he went, he healed people who were sick and hurting and in trouble as a sign that His message was true and the kingdom was at hand.
Work and Poverty Alleviation
Enabling people in material poverty to engage in work that pays a living wage is the most sustainable way for them to no longer be materially poor. But work is so much more than just a means to gaining income that provides for our material needs. It lies close to the heart of what it means to be human.
Economics in Jesus’ Kingdom
God is bringing a kingdom far more real than any earthly power or authority we experience today. That kingdom calls Christians to embrace a whole life of economic discipleship by which we learn to live as economic citizens of God’s kingdom.
What Story Is Your Ministry Telling?
Unfortunately, several common but misguided stories of change are shaping our lives, including our approaches to poverty alleviation. Our poverty alleviation efforts often do harm because we have unknowingly and unconsciously—yet deeply and destructively—absorbed misguided stories of change from our culture.
Taking the First Step in Poverty Alleviation
As followers of Jesus, when we see material poverty in the world around us, our first instinct is often to do something about it. But where should we start? What’s the first step in poverty alleviation?
Faithful Presence: Why “Hanging Out” Is Vital to Long-Term Development
Adapted from When Helping Hurts, 75-79. Defining poverty alleviation as the reconciliation of people’s four key relationships with God, self, others, and creation shapes the methods our churches or ministries should use to achieve that goal, with major implications for how we choose, design, implement, and evaluate our efforts. Because every one of us is…
The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 5: Demonic Forces
Adapted from Becoming Whole, 181-182; A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 135-39. Throughout this series on the five causes of poverty, the underlying connection between them all is the Fall. Because sin entered the world, our stories and practices are twisted by its effects, and both individuals and groups are broken and can do evil….
The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 4: Broken Systems
Adapted from A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 119-124. In this series, our most recent post focused on addressing individual brokenness—the factors within a person, including personal choices and beliefs, that can contribute to material poverty. But as we’ve been saying throughout the series, there are both internal and external causes of relational and material…
The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 3: Individual Brokenness
Adapted from A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 125-134. We’ve been exploring the five causes of poverty in this series of posts, and it’s important to remember that any one of us can be impacted by all five causes—false stories, destructive practices, individual brokenness, systemic brokenness, and demonic forces. These factors are so intertwined it’s…
The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 2: Practices
Last week we talked about how God’s story of change focuses on restoring us to our role as priests and rulers. Living faithfully as the royal priesthood and holy nation means that we call on King Jesus to overcome all the effects of the Fall, including all five causes of poverty. Today we’ll look at…
A Long Walk in the Same Direction
Adapted from A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 107-112. When followers of Jesus describe our relationship with God, we often use the language of a “walk with God” or “Christian walk.” That’s because spiritual growth is not a sudden jolt into greater maturity. Instead, it’s the patient outworking of the Spirit of God in our…
Prayer and Poverty Alleviation—Part 2
Jesus Christ is the only one who can enable true poverty alleviation. Among the many implications of this truth is that we should be praying—a lot!