Churches and pastors are often eager to respond to the problems of global poverty and injustice. Yet before they take steps to address these problems, pastors -- like anyone else -- want to know how they can make a difference. Because there are so many hurting people whose communities face complex obstacles, I’m frequently asked what one person or one church can do.
If you’re a fellow church or ministry leader, you know that God doesn’t promise that the odds will always be in our favor when accomplishing the work He has set before us.
When church leaders look today at the scale of global poverty, it’s easy to feel like the numbers are stacked against them.
- 1 billion people suffer from a lack of adequate nutrition.
- Half of the children in developing countries are born into poverty.
- 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day.
Compared to those staggering figures, the size of the average church in America is just 186 regular attenders. Sounds a bit like Gideon facing thousands of Midianites, “thick as locusts,” with just 300 men.
What can a typical church in Michigan or Oklahoma do when poverty and justice issues are so big, global, and daunting? When pastors ask me what their church can do to help meet the needs of hurting people around the world, I give them four ideas.