Q I have been working against poverty and hunger over the years. It does not appear I am making any progress. What more can I do?

A I appreciate your long obedience to eliminating poverty and hunger wherever you find it. I believe you have volunteered for World Renew projects when natural disasters have hit places like Houston, Puerto Rico, and Florida after devastating hurricanes. I assume you have given money to your church’s diaconate to help those in need of food. Your offerings might have helped people with basic needs of food and shelter.

It sounds like you are ready to go to the level of addressing the causes of poverty and hunger. Synod 2017 affirmed your desire for justice and equity in this area: “We believe it is a good time for the CRCNA to remember and reinvigorate its historical and passionate commitment to understanding and working to end hunger, endemic poverty, and oppression in God’s world” (Acts of Synod, p. 537).

What could you do? Here are a few suggestions for moving from individual service to advocacy.

  • Educate yourself on biblical advocacy best practices dealing with the roots and systemic causes of hunger, poverty, and injustice through websites of such organizations as the Christian Community Development Association (ccda.org), World Renew (worldrenew.net), the Office of Social Justice (justice.crcna.org), and groups in your area addressing poverty and hunger. 
  • Gather some like-minded folks to do a small-group study of biblical justice such as Micah Challenge’s Live Justly (www.livejust.ly).
  • Become a social media ambassador on hunger and poverty with the Office of Social Justice.
  • Begin a prayer group at your church and enlist others in discerning God’s direction.
  • Seek the advice and help of your church’s deacons.
  • Advocate against poverty and hunger by speaking with public officials in your area.

Do not give up fighting for the people who need our help and advocacy. I’m praying for you.

About the Author

Reginald Smith is director of race relations and social justice for the Christian Reformed Church. He attends Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

See comments (1)

Comments

I would recommend getting to know the Chalmers Center (the folks involved include the authors of "Helping Without Hurting"), as well as the Acton Institute.  Especially the Chalmers Center folk have done much more in-depth work in the areas of "poverty relief" and "community development" than any of our CRC agencies I think.  The Action Institute put out a documentary, called Poverty Inc., I believe, a worthwhile watch.