Did you know that our nation’s churches devote, on average, less than 2% of their annual budgets to helping the millions of people around the world who are trapped in extreme poverty? This, in spite of the fact that throughout God’s Word, central to our churches and worship, we are repeatedly told of God’s desire for His people to be agents of justice and mercy and care in a hurting world…
David Platt, in his book Radical Together, poses a simple but profound question for our churches: “Amid all the good things we are doing and planning, are there better ways to align with God’s Word, mobilize God’s people, and marshal God’s resources for God’s glory in a world where millions of people are starving and more than a billion have never even heard of Jesus?”
The biblical call to demonstrate God’s love for the poor and oppressed applies to Christ’s followers, both individually and collectively. The call to intentional sacrifice, to pick up our cross and follow Him, must certainly apply as much to our churches as it does to each of us as individuals. Should not our churches be at the very forefront of doing justice, mercy, and care among the world’s least and last?
Our collective witness, Christ’s name among the nations, is at stake. Our churches’ apparent indifference (2%!!!) is a profoundly negative witness. As Mark Labberton writes in The Dangerous Act of Worship, “Meanwhile our suffering world waits for signs of God on earth… God’s plan is that we, the church, are to be the primary evidence of God’s presence.” When our churches, by far the wealthiest on the planet, turn their backs on the least and last, a watching world tragically equates the Church’s indifference with God’s… Surely, we can do better than this!
It’s time for our churches to get involved — our churches need to hear from us!
Think of it…..
Our Churches are in the Ideal Position to Champion the Work of the Parachurch
…especially those explicitly Christian humanitarian organizations (e.g. World Vision)
who work to lift the world’s poorest people out of Extreme Poverty.
Our Churches can step up and play an effective, crucial role by:
- Actively promoting, within their congregations, the parachurch’s efforts to reach out in Christ’s love to the least and the last
- Providing their congregations regular opportunities to make designated, sacrificial gifts to support the parachurch’s work
- Intentionally and directly supporting the parachurch’s work with a portion of the church’s missions budget.
The result of such a “championing” — for the world’s most desperately poor people,
as well as our collective witness both at home and abroad — would be staggering!
The resources on this page have been prepared to help give voice to those
who wish to urge their churches towards this end…
A Call to our Churches… (pdf) Urges our churches to take a bolder and more faithful action in tangibly demonstrating God’s love for the desperately poor by actively championing and supporting the work of the parachurch.
The Scriptural Imperative… (pdf) Answers the question, “Why should our churches concern themselves with extreme poverty?” This question is of first importance, being foundational to properly grounded Advocacy and Proposal efforts.
Inviting the Parachurch into Our Churches… (pdf) Makes the case for the local church to actively partner with Christian humanitarian organizations to create and promote opportunities for sacrificial giving aimed at serving the least and the last.
Experts in “Helping Well”… (pdf) Explains why the parachurch is ideally positioned and equipped to assist churches in their efforts to serve, with maximum effectiveness, those living in extreme poverty.
An Open Letter to Church Leadership… (pdf) Advocates for the inclusion of parachurch organizations within our churches’ donor-directed giving frameworks as a potent way for the Church to more deeply engage with the problem of extreme poverty while strengthening discipleship, local congregations, and our collective witness. (read or share as webpage here)
Let my Heart be Broken… (via youtube) This video from LifeCenter WPA presents a beautiful and stirring call to make a difference in a hurting world.
A Scene We’d Like to See… (pdf) based upon the observation that the Church is in the ideal position to champion the work of the Parachurch, this piece imagines how the local church might follow up on the sermon Answering the Call, above.
Simplified Small Church Missions… (pdf) Illustrates how small, under-resourced churches can create an effective and meaningful missions program, simply and without burdensome budget commitments.
(Consider using A Scene We’d Like to See, above, to introduce the topic…)
Top Parachurch Organizations… (online) Our list of exemplary Christian humanitarian organizations noted for their commitment to best practices for transformational community development among the world’s poorest peoples — give to these organizations with confidence, knowing that your gifts will indeed make a lasting difference.
Trends in Effective Giving… (read online) For those concerned with the problem of extreme poverty, this article examines some of the current thinking on giving with effectiveness in mind.~
Sign the Call… (online) Can be adapted for circulation via email, or as a missions initiative (or even petition) within your church or Christian community. If you share just one thing from this site, share this one! (for pdf version, click here)
What Moves Us… (pdf) Notes some of the problems, solutions, and opportunities in connecting the broader Church (meaning ourselves and our churches) with the world’s least and last; useful for those who wish to create interest among their friends and in their churches. (read or share as webpage here)
Donor Directed Giving… (pdf) Describes in-depth a win-win solution to the frustrating problem of the dilution inherent in giving to church general budgets when the aim is to give sacrificially to help the least and last.
Book Summary: The Hole in Our Gospel… (pdf) Provides a condensed version of this award-winning book’s powerful message; share with church leaders to create interest in reading the book and using it with their congregations, as a template for discussion in leadership teams or small groups, or simply share among your friends.
The Hole in Our Gospel: Resources… (pdf) Provides a list of resources helpful in using this powerhouse book effectively in a church setting; many churches using this book for sermon series’, congregation-wide book studies, or small group work have found themselves transformed and revitalized.
We hope that you’ll find the tools on this page to be useful in urging your church
toward a bolder and more faithful response to the problem of extreme poverty.