There are so many different avenues that we could take when seeking to help those in need and there are so many thoughts and opinions about it all that sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed and confused; however, I have learned that I can’t stay in that place of confusion. I must be obedient to God’s call to love and serve the poor so therefore I must study and learn and ask the Lord to reveal to me what He would have me do and how He would have me respond. I pray that is your response too – to dig in and ask the tough questions, to learn and grow, and not just bury your head in the sand and let people walk on by.
The following are just a few of the great resources that I have studied that I hope will help you learn even more about the world of poverty and help you learn how you should respond when you meet that new friend on the street.
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert
This book is also a 6 week group study that you can do with a small group or on your own. You can also access Right Now Media (which is a GREAT resource in general) for the videos or on the web.
Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton
This is a very similar read to When Helping Hurts but a little stronger! They tend to lean toward the idea that “all charity is toxic” which I believe is not always true in every situation. I mean you can’t “throw the baby out with the bath water” as my grandma used to say.
Seeking Shalom *this is an ECourse by Focused Community Strategies in Atlanta, GA
This is an excellent class that explains poverty and how to work with those in poverty pretty well. This group is connected with Robert Lupton, the author of Toxic Charity, so they follow many of the same principles. It’s explained well though and I always love being able to interact with others and chat about what I’m learning! (I’m weird like that.. ha)
Bridges out of Poverty or Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne
Ruby Payne is an educator and shares about the impacts of poverty in the classroom and while this is “different” than poverty that we see on the streets, it helps us understand how poverty is effecting us across the board. It’s a great general discussion on poverty.
Loving our Neighbor by Beth Templeton
Beth Templeton is the former director of United Ministries, based here in Greenville, SC. I had the great privilege of meeting with her before I began Refuge and gained some valuable insight and wisdom from her. There is also a 6 week video series that they have produced that explains poverty and how to work with those in poverty well.
The list could go on and on of books and classes that you could take as you learn about helping those in poverty. What resources could you share with us so that we can learn more?
More than any wisdom that you have gained from books or videos though, I want to challenge and remind you to do the following:
- Ask God how He would have you respond in each specific situation and be obedient to the Holy Spirit.
- Read His word and see what He has to teach us about poverty and loving our neighbor.
Above all, We must obey the Lord when he places people in our path and help them as He would – loving and serving them well. I pray that we will do just that!
For our Spartanburg friends, I will be posting a list of local resources soon to help you as you meet and get to know our friends.