Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Movement toward the Poor

OnMovements » Blog Archive » Movements: Some New Thoughts (To Me Anyway)

And this is the new thought to me:

How can we be serious about the Great Commission, if very little discussion surrounds seeing the poor as an unreached people group worth reaching, even though they make up 2/3rds of the world?

I realize that the poor haven’t been traditionally included in the “ethnos” category — the people/language group distinction as defined in the Great Commission passages (ie make disciples of all nations). Yet, as Hayes argues, the same kind of cross-cultural, contextualized, incarnational ministry is required to reach the poor as is required to reach other people groups.

In other words, we talk of learning a language and culture of a people group so we can do contextualized, incarnational ministry, but we rarely talk about crossing the socio-economical barrier to understand the “common realities” of the poor as a “people group.”

Yet, nearly 1 in 10 verses in the Bible speaks of the poor in some way. The poor, the widow, the orphan, the outcast, the hungry and thirsty, are central to God’s heart. And as Matthew 25 argues so clearly, Jesus wants them in his kingdom and he wants us to help get them there.

What would happen to our movement building strategies if we embraced the poor as a distinct people group worth reaching?

I wonder.

I think that Campus Crusade has struggled with the trade off between ministry to influential people (students, leaders, etc.) and the growing realization that ministry to the poor is not just a strategy but part of following Christ. That's why I think the future of our movement will be combining the two. Thankfully Bono and Bill Gates and others have shown examples of how there need not be a wall of separation between people of power and peoples in need.

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