Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review // Addressing the Needs of the Poor: A Church Mobilization Guide by Mark E. Hazen

I’m excited to introduce to you a new book on the market written by MY DAD! My parents both have such a heart for those in poverty. Dad recently decided to retire to focus on a ministry that will both encourage and enable churches (and individuals) to meet the needs of the poor. He started with the Benevolence Support Services website that lists agencies serving to those in poverty. Now, he a book and will be doing workshops to help churches build their own ministry.

We can all use a little encouragement to get outside our comfort zones to help people – it is so much easier when we are equipped with the Love of God and some practical tools to get started. I encourage you to check out the site and spread the word!
(Note: The book is available for purchase HERE.)
Here is my review of the book:

Poverty is such a widespread reality here in America and it is evident that we as individuals, neighbors and churches, do not always know the best way to approach the issue. This book fills the gap between a person in need and those with a heart to help.

The author starts the book with a discussion of why Christians (the body of Christ, aka the church) should be concerned about the poverty issue. From there, we read about the faces of poverty, stereotypes, current statistics, and even “meet” a few living examples of those in need. The reader is then encouraged to consider their own situation while exploring what I believe is the gem of this book: existing ministries that serve the poor in all capacities. The author has interviewed pastors and directors of ministries that operate food banks, shelters, healthcare facilities, transitional housing, mentoring programs and more. It is inspiring to read these examples. If one had any doubt that the church could make a difference, hope is restored by reading these testimonies.
This book does more than just tug at the heart strings as it also offers basic tools for getting started. There are practical ideas for how to piece together a ministry, whether large or small. The “Rules of Engagement” chapter offers wisdom for working with those in need, encouraging a healthy level of discernment to balance fervent compassion. Included in the back of the book are several sample forms that can help keep an outreach ministry organized.

I highly recommend this book to pastors, ministry leaders or any individual wanting to know how they can address the needs of the poor. This book should not be mistaken for a “ministry in a box” type resource…one that you can just assemble and go. I believe it is more valuable than that. The book causes the reader to ask questions about their own church, community, and resources, then become engaged in a solution that fits.