What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty, by Bill Ehlig and Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.
How does a church begin a systemic effort to build a congregation involving many people who live in poverty?
Whether we like it or not, this is a burning question for many pastors and committed lay people. The reality of our congregations is that most of us do not have enough money to go around for our own families, much less to take care of the others around us. If we take to heart the exhortation in Micah 6:8 And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God, then we immediately run into a wall if we seek to love God in the here and now with the needy who find their ways into our churches.
Dr. Payne has a wealth of experience—both personal and professional—to bring to this topic. She is the leading U.S. expert on the mindsets of different social classes, and for 30 years Ehlig has been a minister in urban settings both here in the U.S. and other countries.
This book is written to unpack the hidden rules of different economic classes, and to help us bridge the gaps between them, while loving our neighbors. Some of the topics include language patterns, violence and conflict resolution, family structure, money and stewardship, assessing resources . . .
Each chapter is written in a format to help make it teachable. They open with a stories to illustrate the challenge being addressed, some observations (backed up by data), explanations, applications, and questions to help us examine this situation more honestly.
Read it. Use it. Challenge your pastor and your neighbor with it.