8 Forms of Poverty
Last month Deanna and I were able to visit three of our mission partners in Guatemala. It was truly rewarding to get to know the people and see firsthand what God is doing in these areas devastated by poverty, crime and corruption. I was able to preach in Spanish almost every day, sometimes twice a day, and come alongside our missionaries, pastors, leaders, and many to whom they minister.
In many ways, seeing what is happening in Guatemala’s poorest areas is coming full circle for me, as I grew up in similar areas of Mexico City. I was particularly impressed and challenged by one of the ministries, Potter’s House, and its heart for meeting the needs of one of the poorest communities in Guatemala City.
This community is comprised of the thousands of people who live around the garbage dump and make their livings scavenging from what others throw away. As Deanna and I spent time with them and were able to pray with and speak with many in the community, I was able to see love and kindness in action.
Potter’s House has identified something called the 8 Forms of Poverty. It’s an idea, or understanding, that is shaping the way they think about ministry. I believe it is not only bringing the Gospel to thousands in that community, but also helping meet basic needs and communicating God’s love in action.
The 8 Forms of Poverty
- Spiritual Poverty: Lack of relationship with God
- Intellectual Poverty: Lack of access to knowledge
- Poverty of Affection: Lack of love
- Poverty of the Will: Lack of self-control
- Physical Poverty: Lack of health
- Poverty of Support Network: Lack of family and community
- Poverty of Civic Involvement: Lack of community cooperation
- Economic Poverty: Lack of resources
We often limit our understanding of economic poverty. But it is so much more than that. It’s a pervasive, cyclical state that is multifaceted and multi-layered. As we see poverty from the perspective of these “8 Forms”, we see that just one response to poverty is inadequate. In fact, all are often necessary, especially in the world’s poorest regions. This list also reminds us that “Spiritual Poverty” is the greatest poverty of all. We can meet al other needs, but if this need is not met, people will still be without hope.
We’re only a week away from Harvestfest. As a church, we will not only come together to pray, give and in some cases consider going. But we will also come together to celebrate many of the great things God is doing worldwide through our Harvest Fund, including at Potter’s House. In addition, we will have a chance to learn — to learn from ministries and churches across the globe — about how we might best continue to minister to the needs of those directly around us, the forgotten, that are often caught in these “8 Forms of Poverty.”
Will you join me at Harvestfest this year?
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