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What Every Church Member Should Know about Poverty

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Ideal for book study or Sunday school, this book provides solutions for creating a real welcome by understanding economic class. Includes new chapter for assessing resources.


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Ideal for book study or Sunday school, this book provides solutions for creating a real welcome by understanding economic class. Includes new chapter for assessing resources.

30 review for What Every Church Member Should Know about Poverty

  1. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    This book was a hard read for many reasons. From the inception of the book the title makes a clear distinction that there is a difference between the 'poor' and a 'church member'. From an analytical/scholarship perspective the book is helpful, however I found the book to be outdated and a product of the very disease that perpetuates impersonal relationships between the poor and churches. This book was written to a white middle to upper class audience and this is the definition of a church member This book was a hard read for many reasons. From the inception of the book the title makes a clear distinction that there is a difference between the 'poor' and a 'church member'. From an analytical/scholarship perspective the book is helpful, however I found the book to be outdated and a product of the very disease that perpetuates impersonal relationships between the poor and churches. This book was written to a white middle to upper class audience and this is the definition of a church member for the duration of the book. Personally having been through poverty there are some legitimate facts in the book about the poor, however the approach and assumptions make this book only palatable to well-to-do people who are detached from 21st century life. The book attempts to inform, but the information creates a chasm that clothes the poor in an 'other-worldliness.' It seems the poor are viewed as another organism to be understood from afar and approached cautiously through scholarship and programs. I believe the intention of the book is great, however reading the book as a person who has been in poverty as well as in church communities it puts a bad taste in my mouth. The author(s) states, "The purpose of this book is to help individuals to look deeper, even into themselves, as well as into the lives of those who have need" After reading this book, it is clear that the individuals are those financially stable church members, who are 'privileged' to not have integrated experiences with the communities around their churches. Personally growing up in the inner city there are luxuries one enjoys in the freedom of speech and relationship that middle and upper class church members do not enjoy and the author(s) make that clear. American church members in middle and upper class churches can choose to integrate or not and I believe many have chose not to for difficulty or ignorance. So, in this way I believe this book is a good read to someone who has never lived integrated in a multicultural or multi-cultural community. The best part of this book is the truth that there are 'hidden rules' that govern the modern day corporate church and embedded in these rules are methods of discrimination. To those impoverished or especially minorities discrimination in churches is nothing new, although white church goes in upper to middle class churches may not be fully aware of this discrimination. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remarked "the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock Sunday morning", this book helps in shedding light on why Dr. King's statement is true, even today. This book speaks to a shared collective thought process of upper to middle class church members in America who are predominantly white and evangelical. Thus, even the definition of 'ministry' is confined to this shared theological understanding. This shared understanding is heavily rooted in Western thought and legitimacy of precepts and concepts through scholarship and intellectual prowess. Despite how factual and articulate these concept of effective ministry may be they can still be heavily induced by programmatic thinking, hence being a 'church member' rather than a 'human being' who must share in experience of a brother or sister in hard times. In some odd way the book is a product of its own vices. It reveals how the American Church operates as an organization and business that offers a Sunday service rather than an organism that grows and expands through relationship. In closing, I see this book as more of an analysis rather than a book from the heart. The stories feel generic and judgmental, the poor are perceived as alien and sort of a specimen under a petri dish. My gripe with the book is that it may unintentional provoke churches to try and fix the problem of program with more program in reaching the poor. Though well meaning, the approach leads to further organization and homogenization of church culture, which is the very thing that needs to be deconstructed. I kept reading the book thinking, cultural integration should not be this hard. Again I am aware of my own bias, therefore I gave the book two stars for the data, research, and analysis of hidden rules in economic classes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Shaffer

    This book gave me an entirely new perspective on how the church (and even schools, social agencies, etc.) should be dealing with the poverty issue that is so prevalent in our communities. If you are in the ministry, a teacher, a social worker, this book is for you.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robert P

    An incredibly insightful walk into the thought process and rationale of those living in American poverty. Very easy read and simple to comprehend. Extremely practical for those working in community help ministries or charities.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chris Waks

    Very insightful book, and very helpful in leading a conversation about the topic. I only wish it had more information.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Applies the Bridges constructs to church life

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    My teaching life was changed years ago when I read Ruby Payne's "A Framework for Understanding Poverty." I decided to read this book (co-authored by Ruby Payne) as a refresher, which is what it was. I didn't find it as insightful as "Framework..." but probably because most of the concepts weren't new. This book also includes the three quizzes of "Could you survive in... poverty, middle class or wealth?" Those quizzes are a must for anyone who hasn't taken them. Every church member should underst My teaching life was changed years ago when I read Ruby Payne's "A Framework for Understanding Poverty." I decided to read this book (co-authored by Ruby Payne) as a refresher, which is what it was. I didn't find it as insightful as "Framework..." but probably because most of the concepts weren't new. This book also includes the three quizzes of "Could you survive in... poverty, middle class or wealth?" Those quizzes are a must for anyone who hasn't taken them. Every church member should understand the hidden rules of generational poverty. This book didn't offer solutions as much as I had hoped, but it brings up lots of questions and encourages Christians and church members to discuss and work out their own ideas and solutions.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David

    There were a lot of key thoughts that were helpful in this book. I am glad I read it in part because it also helped me think through some things more deeply because I disagree with some of the assumptions that seem to be underlying the book about poverty. Growing up, my family, along with most of the people in our community were quite poor financially, but were very rich in other ways that I think are more important. Family, neighbors, helping each other, and a general sense of gratitude were mo There were a lot of key thoughts that were helpful in this book. I am glad I read it in part because it also helped me think through some things more deeply because I disagree with some of the assumptions that seem to be underlying the book about poverty. Growing up, my family, along with most of the people in our community were quite poor financially, but were very rich in other ways that I think are more important. Family, neighbors, helping each other, and a general sense of gratitude were more evident than I see now that I am a part of the middle class, and I think that is actually a deeper poverty than not having "enough money". I have experienced both, and disagree with several things said in the book. Even so, it was a helpful read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julianna May

    This is a simple guide that gives great insight into the different struggles & values of each social class. It also provides applicable & actionable tools for embracing and serving those that are struggling. It's a little older (and I would love an uPdated version) but still quite timely today! This is a simple guide that gives great insight into the different struggles & values of each social class. It also provides applicable & actionable tools for embracing and serving those that are struggling. It's a little older (and I would love an uPdated version) but still quite timely today!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephie

    - From Forward It's true that this book does address issues that church members face when talking/relating to people in poverty. It does so, however, without the issue of sin or redemption in Jesus being a core principle. As a church member, if you are looking to understand poverty and the differences between economic classes from a sociological perspective, you will likely find this book helpful. If you are looking to understand poverty and the differences between economic classes from a biblica - From Forward It's true that this book does address issues that church members face when talking/relating to people in poverty. It does so, however, without the issue of sin or redemption in Jesus being a core principle. As a church member, if you are looking to understand poverty and the differences between economic classes from a sociological perspective, you will likely find this book helpful. If you are looking to understand poverty and the differences between economic classes from a biblical perspective you may find this book disappointing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Al Gritten

    A very good look at generational (as opposed to situational)poverty - poverty that is passed from generation to generation. The authors study the cultural differences, the knowledge differences and even linguistic differences between those in poverty and the middle class. They look at those differences from the aspects of faith and church. Very informative book that tends to avoid overly technical or academic language, but thoroughly explores the topic of poverty and relationships. It would be a A very good look at generational (as opposed to situational)poverty - poverty that is passed from generation to generation. The authors study the cultural differences, the knowledge differences and even linguistic differences between those in poverty and the middle class. They look at those differences from the aspects of faith and church. Very informative book that tends to avoid overly technical or academic language, but thoroughly explores the topic of poverty and relationships. It would be an excellent Sunday School or small group study for a church.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Co-authored by Ruby Payne. Every one of her books contains the same chart comparing poverty, middle class, and wealth mindsets on a variety of issues. This one adds some elements around religion. While the topic and a little of the material is the same across books, each one approaches the topic a bit differently through different illustrative stories. This one made me think that while our church can do well at serving the poor, I'm not sure the poor would feel comfortable attending as members i Co-authored by Ruby Payne. Every one of her books contains the same chart comparing poverty, middle class, and wealth mindsets on a variety of issues. This one adds some elements around religion. While the topic and a little of the material is the same across books, each one approaches the topic a bit differently through different illustrative stories. This one made me think that while our church can do well at serving the poor, I'm not sure the poor would feel comfortable attending as members in our environment.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Russ Adcox

    If memory serves correct, this is a faith based summary of "A Framework for Understanding Poverty." It is more of a "workbook" and is helpful for any church member or leader who helps people struggling with poverty (which should be all of us). Most helpful parts to me where the "tests" that revealed whether you think with a wealth mindset, middle class mindset, or poverty mindset. Also found the "parent voice" and "child voice" very helpful. Good and needed read. If memory serves correct, this is a faith based summary of "A Framework for Understanding Poverty." It is more of a "workbook" and is helpful for any church member or leader who helps people struggling with poverty (which should be all of us). Most helpful parts to me where the "tests" that revealed whether you think with a wealth mindset, middle class mindset, or poverty mindset. Also found the "parent voice" and "child voice" very helpful. Good and needed read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Di

    I glossed over the theology, and found some really usefully sociological info here about cultural differences between families in generational poverty and families in the middle class. There were differences in perspective and thought processes that had never occurred to me as being related to socioeconomic status.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    Calling in on a teleconference with the author in 2 weeks. Topic: What Everyone Addressing Poverty should Know About Churches! Looking forward to hearing Bill Ehlig's personal references to the material. Calling in on a teleconference with the author in 2 weeks. Topic: What Everyone Addressing Poverty should Know About Churches! Looking forward to hearing Bill Ehlig's personal references to the material.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chanita

    "Churches are often perceived as open, welcoming environments and many times that's true. But congregations, without even realizing it, sometimes make themselves inhospitable to people from poverty. ... A thought-provoking book that is ideal for adult discussion groups, particularly at church." "Churches are often perceived as open, welcoming environments and many times that's true. But congregations, without even realizing it, sometimes make themselves inhospitable to people from poverty. ... A thought-provoking book that is ideal for adult discussion groups, particularly at church."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Practical and eye-opening. Something most churches could benefit from studying.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Donia

    I have read 2 of Ruby Payne's books re: poverty and this is an excellent companion book. I will keep this in my library and review it from year to year. I have read 2 of Ruby Payne's books re: poverty and this is an excellent companion book. I will keep this in my library and review it from year to year.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Love this book. It's a great introduction to cross-cultural discussions about poverty and has some good suggestions for churches and church members. Love this book. It's a great introduction to cross-cultural discussions about poverty and has some good suggestions for churches and church members.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    The title of this should be "What Every Person Should Know about Poverty." The title of this should be "What Every Person Should Know about Poverty."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Tremendous "orientation" to the cultural world of North American poverty. Tremendous "orientation" to the cultural world of North American poverty.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shane Blackshear

    Shame on any the church for not talking about this the same way its talked about The Purpose Driven Life.

  22. 5 out of 5

    RJ

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kurt Schumacher

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathy O'Brien

  25. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fernando A Smith

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael M Clements

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary Rebecca

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kip Corriveau

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Gaines

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