He spoke these words boldly, as if he was saying something prophetic. Then he gave a pregnant pause, and waited for the audience to delight at this great revelation. These were the words uttered by a pastor while I was attending a workshop at a church planning conference for leaders. While this statement is true, I didn’t find the words that followed particularly insightful.
He approached the topic of poverty in the same way that I have heard many American pastors and Christians quote the scripture:
“The poor will be with you always…”
When I hear both of these statements, particularly in the contexts in which they were given, I have great concern that the pastors are not challenging themselves or their hearers to respond to poverty in any tangible way. The problem with these holy references is they are both incomplete, and an incomplete truth can be just as harmful as a lie.
This past May, I had the opportunity to check an item off my bucket list. For her birthday, I took my daughter to see Kirk Franklin in concert. Hands down, Kirk Franklin is one my favorite gospel artists, and he is actually in competition with Michael Jackson to become my daughter’s favorite artist as well. We attended the amusement park with friends, hung out all day, played in the water, and then waited for the concert to start. The concert also featured Tamela Mann (another one of my favorites) and Lecrae (whom I heard for the first time). We were jamming, singin, lifting our hands, and having a great time!
Before Kirk Franklin took the stage, one of the event sponsors, Compassion International had a gentleman give his testimony and a video about the work they do to share the gospel and provide basic needs to children living in extreme poverty. I sat there, said a few “Amens,” and shook my head up and down as the gentleman spoke. Then the moment of decision came. The speaker asked if anyone who is willing to sponsor a child would raise their hand so a representative can bring them a sponsor passage. Before I blinked my eyes, my daughter’s hand was up in the air.
Welcome back the Ray of Sunshine that is Margot Starbuck on the blog today!
Raised in an impoverished community in the Philippines, the future did not look bright for a young girl like Michelle.
At home Michelle heard that she was ugly and that she’d grow up to be no more than a thief and a drug addict.
The only Christian Michelle knew was her aunt. Some members of a local church that partnered with Compassion International, told her aunt, “If you want to change your niece’s life, enroll her in the project.” They knew that’s where children’s physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs were being met by members of the church.