Monday, January 21, 2008

Debt and Poverty

Last week a group of Christian leaders got together to share what is happening in our lives. The issue of financial freedom came up and I was happy to hear that several of them have both a weekly emphasis upon financial issues along with semi annual or quarterly video sessions about the need for Believers to use their financial resources wisely.

Some have a "Creed" about financial and practical resources they ask the congregation to read each week. This emphasizes that finances are important not only as a tithe but as resources for living.

Rex Schrolucke, Pastor of Trinity Christian Fellowship, is using a 13 week DVD series by Dave Ramsey to teach his, Financial Peace University materials. Rex was very positive about the practical ways his people have benefitted from the training.

I recommend Dr. Ruby Payne's book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty as a great resource. It has helped me understand how background and culture influence our approach to financial issues.

Many churches and Christian groups give money and resources to the chronically poor without realizing they might be making the problem worse for the current and future generations.

City Cure of Cincinnati uses Dr. Payne's approach in an ongoing ministry to help people break the cycle of generational poverty. Contact them at:

Roger Howell
(513) 345-1023

What have you found helpful to get people out of debt and poverty? Let us know.


paula clare said...

Hi Gary,
I know both you and I harp on the issue of "relationship" all the time, but I have truly found in my 30 years of ministry to the poor and impoverished that taking the TIME required to help one learn to fish is FAR more appreciated, well received, and beneficial than merely giving someone a hand-out as a temporary fix to their poverty. People (this is true in both the "haves" and the "have nots") seem astounded when we give of ourselves . Not necessarily when we come with a check from an "agency" or "organization" (which they will usually also try to accept graciously) but when we come and give out of our OWN resources...our time, money, talent. Out of a heart of can we do otherwise when "the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts?"

Gary Sweeten said...

Paula, Great comment. When I get involved with people personally it certainly enhances my empathy and my desire to help them learn how to "fish" for themselves. When we get the government involved it is impersonal. I love it when Christians get involved.

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