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Journal

ministry to the poor

Mark Junkans

Many people have gotten the idea that urban ministry is about only ministering to the poor. Urban ministry is about seeing the whole city, finding who isn't being reached and doing ministry that reaches them. The fact that a high concentration of people in the city is poor means that the church must be about ministry to the poor if it resides in the city. The church must also minister to the ethnic communities in the city, because the city is so ethnically diverse. The church in the city also ministers to the drug addicts and prostitutes as well as the down and out. The city church must minister to the orphans, the refugees, the widows and the wealthy. To pass up the poor and "worthless" in order to reach the "reachable" is to risk passing up the Lord himself. How can our church be so convinced that ministry must be to those who are most like us. We are sinners wearing filthy rags. Who could be most like us than the poor wretched soul who begs for food on the street? Aren't we all beggars at the mercy of the Lord? Jesus himself didn't go to the rich and middle class, but mostly ministered on the street. The rich man doesn't dwell on the street but the common man does.



"Don't the poor and common come with a lot of baggage?" "Don't they have weaknesses that make them liabilities for the church instead of instant givers?" Yes, but they also give the church great purpose and experience. They also give the church great rap-or in society since the most common complaints about the church in today's society are that it is only seeking money and its members don't have an authentic, working faith. Would we risk polluting our youth group with the kids from "those" families in order to minister to them? Would we take the time to peel back the layers from a street wise hustler to find a soul in need of Jesus? Would people get nervous? yes they would. Would people possibly leave the church? Maybe. Would people say nasty things? Probably. We are a church full of real people with real prejudices, real comfort zones and real desires to be free from the problems of the city for a while while in church. If we need an escape from the city to be with the Lord for awhile, what about those who never escape the city and its evil? What about those who live on the edge? The church can be real and authentic to them just like Jesus himself would be.