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When Jesus commanded his followers to remember the poor, what exactly did he mean? What does caring for those caught in poverty look like for us? In this episode, John Bailey and Mark Renfroe explore why the Bible makes caring for the poor so imperative and how we practically accomplish this in the world today. There are several different types of poverty that we can encounter, and each must be addressed differently.
Key Points from the Podcast
Caring for those caught in poverty is not a political stance; it’s obedience to the commands of scripture. In nearly every society on earth, the poor are marginalized, but Jesus declared light and life to everyone regardless of their cultural status.
One of the common indictments from the prophets against Israel in the Old Testament was that leaders and wealthy people were exploiting the poor. The topic of caring for the poor is both an Old Testament and New Testament issue.
In many cases, poverty is a lack of resources but also a way of thinking and approaching the world. One of the biggest challenges for missions is finding long-term solutions to poverty where people don’t fall back into destitution as soon as the outsiders leave.
There are different types of poverty: material poverty with scarcity of money, food or resources; spiritual poverty with limited or no knowledge of God; social poverty with those who are considered pariahs and have no community.
God will give us creative ways to engage with the poor to help them, if we ask him to help and inspire us.
Solutions to poverty are most often community-based, becoming involved in the poor’s lives, mentoring them spiritually and with finances, and holding them in the security and accountability of community.
There is no way to separate ministry to the poor from the gospel. Jesus cared for the poor throughout his ministry and probably would’ve been counted among them.
Bible Verses Referenced in the Podcast
Luke 12:33-34, Galatians 2:9-10, James 2:1-6, 2 Thessalonians 3:9-11
Resources Mentioned in the Podcast
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald J. Sider
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
About John Bailey
Pastor John Bailey serves as the Chief Operating Officer at World Challenge. John came to know Christ in jail after some difficult struggles as a young man, and God has done a powerful work of transformation since! Spending 13 years in Next Gen ministry, he excelled in discipleship and helping young leaders discover giftings to serve God. John was called next to serve as a missionary and pastor in Western Europe. John and his family then returned to plant the Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, the church is a thriving body of believers excelling in outreach and missions. John has now brought his giftings and vision to World Challenge, accelerating the spread of the gospel in America and around the World.
About Mark Renfroe
Mark married his college sweetheart, Amy, with whom he has four adult children—one girl and three boys. The Renfroes have been involved in field missions work for 30 years. They served in the Arab community of San Francisco for four years before becoming foreign missionaries in 1995. Mark was asked to serve as the Area Director for Assemblies of God World Missions in 2007. As part of his role, he led missionaries and interfaced with national church leaders in the 18 countries of the Arab World. In 2017, Mark created Reaching Africa’s Muslims, an initiative to mobilize, equip, and deploy indigenous African missionaries to reach Muslims on the continent. Mark has graduate degrees in Intercultural Studies and Executive Leadership. He currently serves as the Chief Missions Officer for World Challenge in Colorado Springs.