Posted by: powellsinsantacruz | September 17, 2011

A poor Church

Many people in our Church have very little money, daily survival is difficult, they do not live in fully sheltered houses, are not well educated and lack many things. There are young people who have dropped out of education to work and you can imagine the cycle starting again.

It is a huge challenge being in a poor Church. Here are a few of the things Roz and I are learning.

Firstly, we are rich. I have never had to worry about getting food on the plate for my family or had that real fear of not knowing where money is going to come from. I want to be so grateful to God for this. He has provided for me, I need to give Him thanks.

Secondly, we have to accept gifts and hospitality from people who we know can’t really afford it. We are friends now with people who have very little but they still want to bless us or feed us or give us lifts or any of the things friends do. We have to accept. Not to is so rude, to take away dignity and allow our pride to reign.

Thirdly, some Christian things need to be adapted for a poorer culture. For example date nights. When a family share one room and they all sleep together the concept of personal space or quiet times does not really work in the same way. We need to see through the cultural differences to what is true, good, from God and necessary.

Fourthly, what do we do as a poor Church? I read in the Bible of God desiring the poor to become oaks of righteousness. What does that look like? What part can we play in that? The answer is so obviously not just to give money, but what should we do? I have no real answers to this and frequently we turn to David and Sarah for their advice and wisdom.

Poverty makes life difficult- any emergencies like illnesses, accidents or job losses are very difficult to deal with when there is no spare money and no real health or social service to help.

However, even as I write this, I cannot help but think of how far many people in our Church have come already- from living on the streets to working or studying to provide for their families. It is a complex issue but I know God is at work.

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