On April 17, 2014 my colleagues and I are attending a Jobs for Life webinar at Hope Southern Indiana. Jobs for Life is a radical, outside-the-box nationwide group of folks doing ministry for and in the 21st century. Latoya King has written her Top 10 Reasons Why Churches Don’t Focus on Work to Attack Poverty, on their blog from authority. She sees exactly what we see and I have to confess, I just printed LaToya’s article out to use as a teaching tool and to e-mail to our board. They are exactly what we at Clean Socks Hope having been praying about and working toward since we had the honor to visit Focused Community Strategies in March of 2012. I am also extremely proud that Northside Christian Church, our partner and home church has taken that path as well.
For me, Lotoya’s final quote of the blog was the most profound, “..the original Church in the book of Acts, describes a church that ministered to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor. This is a model that we can emulate. Jesus ministers to us in both word and in deed. We are called to be just like Him.” Our friend Shane Claiborne puts it this way, “As Christians, we should be the best collaborators in the world. We should be quick to find unlikely allies and subversive friends, just like Jesus did.” Amen guys, AMEN!
I included an excerpt below and a link to LaToya’s Blog Post. Enjoy!
“Last week we learned that . The majority focuses on providing food, clothing, and shelter. Relief activities are extremely helpful, especially in times of crisis and great need. Churches have even used food, clothing, and shelter as ministry tools to share the Gospel. But, relief efforts are rarely enough to lift people out of generational poverty. Although they have met immediate needs, if left unchecked these efforts encourage dependency and diminish the dignity of men and women. Relief efforts often harm more than they help.
According to Maimonides’ , the greatest level of charity is to support someone by “…giving a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . .” A job does this. If a man or a woman has a job, he or she is empowered to provide for himself/herself. What if a prostitute, an ex-offender, a welfare mom all had meaningful work? It would change everything.
So, I surveyed my friends and colleagues and asked them why. Some are pastors, elders, ministry leaders, seminary professors, nonprofit professionals, stay-at home moms, and your “average” congregate. Each are believers in the Gospel, involved in their church beyond Sunday morning, and have a heart to serve others for the Lord’s namesake. I have not coached them. I just asked them this question, “Why doesn’t the church use work as a mean to attack poverty?” Here are their voices – their top 10 reasons why.”