Journeying Together in Mission… Importance of working WITH people
As I pen this article, Baptist Care SA is preparing to present to the State Government’s Select Committee on Poverty in early June.
Poverty is multidimensional and complex:
Poverty has various manifestations, including lack of income and productive resources sufficient to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments; and social discrimination and exclusion.
It is also characterised by a lack of participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life.
(United Nations, 1995)
In economic terms, the cycle of poverty is described as the “set of factors or events by which poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention”. However, for those families and individuals where the cycle of poverty has been intergenerational it might be described as “This is my life”.
Tragically, intergenerational poverty results in defenseless children being born into a poverty trap. Without supportive intervention, it is statistically likely that a person born into poverty will remain in poverty throughout their life. This means they can’t earn enough fast enough to escape poverty and to make matters worse… they may also be confronted with multiple barriers to acquire it, creating a self-reinforcing cycle of entrapment in poverty.
Working with and on behalf of SA’s Baptist Churches, our dedicated staff are working WITH hundreds of children and parents who are trapped in the depths of poverty. Compounded by the insidious effects of intergenerational trauma this sadly often leads them to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs, to suffer episodic and chronic mental health issues and results in children being exposed to the life-long trauma of their own parents and communities particularly amongst Aboriginal families.
It seems to me if we, the people of God, are to be an authentic expression of His love and compassion for His people, then it’s critically important that we respectfully walk alongside those that are impacted by poverty of both spirit and opportunity in life. It is extremely important that we do not do things to them or for them, but WITH them. Thus, I believe the:
- Glory of God can be seen in simple acts of acceptance and grace that lead to restoration.
- Lord is calling His people to work together, patiently and compassionately to shed light into the darkness of lives that are struggling to break free from poverty and layers of adversity
- We all have a role to play in alleviating poverty. (How will you respond?)
Reflection: ‘So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal’
(See Corinthians 4:13-18)
May our Lord reveal His blessings to all who see what is unseen by this world and seek to walk respectfully WITH others.
Chief Executive Officer