God’s word tells us that caring for the poor is the responsibility of corporate/government entities, individuals, and the poor themselves.
We’ve been called, as individuals to go out into our community and serve the poor.
In western civilization, we have a tendency to consider poverty as a material issue; a lack of things and money, but poverty is much more complex.
“Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings.” -Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor
There are four foundational relationships that allowed us to experience the fullness of life as God intended, but because of the fall and introduction of sin, are now broken.
- Relationship with God; the primary relationship. We were all created to love, serve, and glorify God. This broken relationship results in worshiping idols, denying God, and materialism.
- Relationship with Self. We are reflections of God and his heart; created with dignity and worth in Him. When this relationship is broken we may experience either thinking we are God or have a low self-image.
- Relationship with Others. We’ve been made to live in community; to love and encourage one another. Brokenness in this relationship results in being selfish and being abusive or cruel to others.
- Relationship with Rest of Creation. We are called to be stewards of the world God created. This broken relationship may result is becoming a workaholic, losing your sense of purpose, or materialism.
When Helping Hurts, Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
We all experience poverty because we all live in a fallen world! That’s why you’ll hear SERVE 6.8 say we serve those experiencing “material poverty.” We know we are poor too, but have been called to serve our neighbors who experience material poverty as a symptom of relational poverty.
“Working to reconcile the four foundational relationships so that people can fulfill their callings of glorifying God by working and supporting themselves and their families with the fruit of that work”- When Helping Hurts, Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
SERVE 6.8 believes that poverty alleviation is approached through reconciliation of relationships, but recognizes that we are simply ambassadors; that Jesus Christ is the ultimate reconciler.
When working with the materially poor we must first, recognize that both individual and society are broken; contributing to poverty and being in need of reconciliation. While SERVE 6.8 acknowledges that broken societal systems contribute to material poverty; we primarily focus our services on the individual.
We also believe that individuals fully experience their dignity and worth in God by earning material things through labor and using their gifts to work and contribute to the larger society. Our goal is to provide services that allow guests to retain their dignity and self-worth by seeking their investment in their solution and creating a mutual exchange. We also work with individuals at the Resource Center using an assets based approach to create goals that lead towards reconciliation of the four foundational relationships.
Our overall approach to working with guests experiencing material poverty depends on the guest’s current life circumstance and if their situation calls for a relief, rehabilitation, or a development approach.
Relief: emergency and temporary aide because of a natural or man-made crisis. This approach has little to no investment from those needing assistance.
- We provide relief services through the Food Pantry and Clothing Closest
Rehabilitation: restoring people to their pre-crisis condition. Those seeking assistance can begin to contribute and have more investment in their solutions while in this stage.
- Our rehabilitation services include: Financial Care, meeting with those facing a financial crisis and connecting them with resources to become stable; Community Impact, completing projects or moves that will improve housing safety and stability; and Legal Advice, providing knowledge during a legal crisis
Development: a continual process where both those seeking and providing assistance work with each other to reconcile the four foundational relationship: God, self, others, and creation. This is intended to be an empowering process with a high level of investment from those being assisted.
- Our development services include: Financial Care and Community Impact, encouraging those being assisted to connect and go deeper with their social supports/church; Career Wow, working with guests in job placement and preparation services; Budgeting, working with guests to explore their finances and create an appropriate budget for their life situation.
When Helping Hurts, Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
SERVE 6.8 is dedicated to partnering with and connecting people to the existing local church. We work to provide the knowledge and skills to equip local churches to better care for their members using appropriate material poverty alleviation and asset-based interventions. Instead of replacing existing services offered by the local church; we instead work to strengthen what exists and then fill any service gaps through our Resource Center and Community Impact programs. While we can address material poverty through our programs; we seek to address relational poverty by connecting people to a local church that will lead towards reconciliation to God and ultimately bring healing to all four foundational relationships.
When Helping Hurts by Steven Corbett and Brian Fikkert
Helping without Hurting in Church Benevolence by Steven Corbett and Brian Fikkert
For The Least Of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty, edited by Anne R. Bradley & Art Lindsley
Toxic Charity by Bob Lupton
Servolution by Dino Rizzo