There’s a sad reality that there are few solid resources that help inform and instruct in ministering poverty stricken areas. Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley have helped fill that need in Church in Hard Places: How the Local Church Brings Life to the Poor and Needy.
Mez and Mike challenge many of the prevailing notions surrounding ministry to the poor. It’s often assumed that the poor don’t need to be bogged down with things like doctrine. Some often see the church as being more of a hindrance in ministering to the poor, often favoring the ministry of parachurch ministries over those of the church. The authors demonstrate that in jettisoning doctrine in ministering to the poor a disservice is being done. They demonstrate from their ministry experience that when ministry to the poor occurs in and through the local church that real transformation occurs, as this is a ministry the church cannot delegate to an outside organization.
Much of what the authors point out seems so counter-intuitive. It’s easy to think that the before one can minister to those affected by poverty their material needs must be the first priority. This however isn’t the greatest need on anyone rich or poor the greatest need is a need that can only be met with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for this book because it addresses a ministry context often ignored. Many of the areas in need of gospel-centered ministry are hard places. I’ve personally been challenged by this book and hope other pastors and church planters will take up the challenge presented by this book.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html