Worship and Mercy: how music can fix poverty

I’ve been reading a book called, When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves by Brian Fikkert and John Corbett. It’s really helped me to get a handle on how my multifaceted roles  as church musician, worship leader, and songwriter work toward helping the poor. Huh? What can a musician do to help the poor? Farm Aid, Bono, Woody Guthry, We Are the World? That’s not what I’m talking about. Musicians have an even more important role to play than just “awareness” or fund raising.

In the church, a musician’s job is to lead worship songs. I am part of a team, which includes the pastors, that plans and executes the worship services every weekend. Our job is to bring our focus back onto the cross of Christ, the holiness of the Father, and ministry of the Spirit. Poverty is not just an effect of a lack of material resources. Poverty is symptom of the broken relationships between God, ourselves, other people, and the rest of creation. The gospel and the kingdom of God is about bringing reconciliation to all of these broken relationships. When we come together to worship, we are not just having a time of good feelings and positive mental projection.  We are meeting together to recalibrate our world view to be back in line with how God intended. Material poverty is a real issue that can’t be solved with strumming a guitar; however, real poverty will never be healed by giving away more money/food/resources. The real solution to poverty has to involve people’s hearts being reconciled to God and their lives being restored to a proper relationship with God and his creation.

That’s a really quick overview of some things that I’m getting from this book. The book fleshes these arguments out with examples, stats, and scripture. It’s been a great book so far.

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