Posts Tagged Poverty

Musicians and artists meeting the needs of the poor

This week, I read an email from a colleague who was wrestling with the role of artists in a church that is actively ministering to the poor. He felt uncomfortable with his role of preparing songs while there were families coming into the church off the street who were looking for food and clothes. I felt compelled to respond to his wrestle because it’s a wrestle that I’ve had to deal with also.

Sometimes, I start to wonder how my salary is actually justified when that money could be added to meeting the basic felt needs of the poor in my community. Wouldn’t it be better for me to give up my salary to the other ministries to the poor and then get a job teaching music and tithe some more of my cash to the meeting felt needs? We all know that art and beauty are important and valuable, but if we do art when our neighbor is starving, we have to seriously consider the verses like 1 John 3:17 “if anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

With that being said, here are some of the things that I have learned to give me the right perspective on this stuff.

1. Development vs. Relief.

There’s a difference between meeting the immediate felt need (a meal for today) and working to end the systems that create that need. Worship musicians in the church (and all artists) fit into the place of development and not into relief when it comes to doing justice. We point the poor and the rich alike to the gospel and the kingdom in a way that will heal the broken parts of the community which are the root causes of poverty. Find the purpose and value in your role and don’t be ashamed that you are not doing relief – especially because development is the more difficult and long-term process of doing justice. (I learned this from reading the book “When Helping Hurts” but it’s also classic John Perkins stuff. Read more about that process here.)

2. Stay involved in meeting felt needs outside of music.

My wife and I are foster parents. It’s a very practical way that we can love kids and their families when they are in deep crisis. This ministry has helped my music and worship planning because it keeps me out of the ivory tower of arts appreciation and in the mess of real broken situations. I don’t think that an artist who is part of the kingdom can pursue the vision of romantic genius who creates art in a vacuum. I’m not saying art needs a moral justification, but rather that artists (like everyone else) are image-bearing humans who have to stay in community – connected to the needs of the poor.

3. Do justice in your music ministry practices

Are the poor welcome in your church to participate, lead and share gifts in your ministry? Are you using just practices in how you spend the churches resources to equip the ministry? Are you actually inviting the poor and powerless or are you just singing about it? Are the songs and styles representing the voices of the poor in your community or just the powerful?

Some practical suggestions:

1. Invite a deacon to come to rehearsals

If this happens every time you have a rehearsal, maybe the folks with needs are just being drawn in like a moth to a flame by the sounds of your worship. You could have a deacon or someone who is on site during your practice to connect with them as they come in.

2. Lock the doors

Post hours when the mercy ministry representatives are available. Maybe include some emergency numbers. Don’t be ashamed of getting your work done – you have a job and a responsibility that has been delegated to you to fulfill.

Some books I’d recommend:

Evangelism – Doing Justice and Preaching Grace by Harvie Conn

Beyond Charity – John Perkins

The Dangerous Act of Worship – Mark Labberton

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The Apple Machine Skit

[On the stage there’s a box with someone inside that you can’t see who has a bag of apples and a bell. Christian is standing by the box]

Christian [with piety]: O Lord, thank you for this apple machine that you have graciously provided for me. I am not worthy of your good gifts but you have seen fit to bless me with it.

[After the prayer, he turns on the machine – the bell rings and an apple pops out of a small hole in the top of the box.]

Christian: Thank you Lord for my apple! You have blessed me SO MUCH!

Neighbor [entering]: Hello friend, I hate to bother you, but I have not had anything to eat all day and I have no money to buy food and no job to earn money. I’m so hungry that I can’t even look for work. Do you have any food to share with me?

Christian: Well, my friend, by God’s grace, I have been blessed with this apple, but in God’s sovereign providence, there’s only enough for me to eat. However, I have learned that prayer works, so why don’t I pray for you to have something to eat. [Closing his eyes] Dear Lord, please provide food for my neighbor.”

[Then the bell rings again and another apple pops out.]

Neighbor: Wow! That is one amazing machine. Now that you have two apples, do you think that you could share one with me?

Christian: [looking at the apple] Hmm, actually, I will need this apple for tomorrow. You see, friend, I can’t give away all my apples and not be ready for tomorrow. Why, if I didn’t have this apple for tomorrow then I might have to go around begging for food, too. That’s just good common sense and faithful stewardship, right?

Neighbor: I guess that makes sense, but I’m so hungry, what can I do?

Christian: Well, maybe you should try praying, that’s what worked for me.

Neighbor: [Closing his eyes] Dear Lord, please give me food for today so that I will have the strength to live and serve and work.

[The bell rings and another apple pops out of the machine]

Neighbor: [With joy] Praise the Lord, my prayer was answered! Now can you share an apple with me?

Christian: [with a patronizing tone] I’m sorry friend, but I need this apple to sell at the market so that I can use that money to make this apple machine a little more productive. See, that’s just good business sense. In fact, when my apple machine starts really producing, then I can have enough apples to share with the whole world! If I give you this apple instead of investing it into improving my apple machine, then I’m really just contributing to world hunger, right?

Neighbor: I guess that makes sense, but honestly I’m so hungry right now that my brain is a little foggy.

[The bell rings again and another apple pops out. With 3 apples, Christian is having trouble holding them all]

Christian [annoyed]: You keep bringing up your hunger and my apples. It’s really starting to become a little offensive to me. I mean, if you understood grace, you would know that I am free from the legal requirements of the law. God loves ME and your constant complaining about how I’m not sharing my food is really just legalism, you see? It’s just adding this burden of the law onto my shoulders.  Don’t you think you’re being a little Pharisaical?

[The bell rings and another apple pops out of the machine]

Neighbor: [starts to cry] I just don’t know what to do. I prayed to God for food and I know that he is good and he hears my prayer. I don’t know how much longer I can survive like this.

Christian: [sympathetically] Wow, you really are hungry. And you did pray, but it seems like God didn’t hear you.

[The bell rings and another apple pops out of the machine]

Christian: Or maybe God did hear, but he just doesn’t care

[The bell rings and another apple pops out of the machine]

Neighbor: Don’t say that. I know that God is good. I know that every day, I am able to find food somehow. I have never seen God fail.

Christian: I’m impressed with your faith. I wish I had faith like that. Lately, it’s hard to believe that God actually cares about the suffering in the world or… that he even exists.

[The bell rings 3 times and 3 more apples pop out of the machine]

Neighbor: Look at that! Of course God exists! How do you think that you got all those apples?

Christian: Well, friend, I have a more enlightened view of things then you do. I once shared your super-spiritual view of reality but you’ll soon learn that that way of thinking is just prosperity gospel. Name-it-and-claim-it! Clearly, there are physical laws in the universe that we can learn about, and use to our advantage to create wonderful things…things like…well, this apple machine for example.

Neighbor [looking more distressed]:  You mean this apple machine is something that you created by yourself?

Christian: [with pride] That’s right, good ol’ fashioned ingenuity, that’s the key to your hunger problem. Friend, the potential for you to have this many apples in your hands is within your grasp, too. You just have to believe in yourself and reach for the stars! That’s what I did, and look at me now. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if you didn’t get yourself into this whole apple-less predicament on your own because of your lack or self worth.

[The bell rings and another apple pops out of the machine]

Neighbor [grasping their gut, grimacing]: Please, I don’t mean to sound rude, but don’t you and I worship the same God and can’t you have a little compassion? Do you really need so many apples? I’m so hungry.

[The bell rings and another apple pops out of the machine]

Christian: Ah-ha! Now the truth comes out! You’re just jealous of my success. You are some kind of whiny, socialist who doesn’t know the meaning of hard work! I’m not going to enable your laziness or subsidize your selfish, materialistic, loser persona. Get a job and quit playing the victim.

Neighbor: Victim?

Christian: Yeah, you heard me. Beat it!

[Neighbor slinks off stage grasping their gut]

Christian: [closes his eyes] Lord, thank you for blessings. I am so glad that have shown your favor to me.  In fact, this whole “hunger” conversation has really made me appreciate what you have given to me. In fact, I think I’m going to tweet about this right now.

[Pulls out phone]

Christian: [dictating as they text] Feeling (hashtag)blessed. Anything is possible if you have (hastag)faith. God is good! LOL. (hastag)love (hashtag)grace (hastag)Jesusismycopilot

[The bell rings and another apple pops out of the machine]

Christian: Seriously? Is there any way to turn this thing off? I’m kind of in the middle of something.

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Phoenix AZ, Food For The Hungry

This weekend, I have the rare privileged to take the New City Fellowship show on the road. A few of my NCF team members, Jesse Heirendt and Joshua Saleem, and I are flying to Phoenix this week to lead worship music for an event hosted by Food For The Hungry. I am super excited about being involved in this event because FH is an organization that is walking out the kingdom in real tangible  acts of justice and mercy. This weekend is a special conference for folks who are being invited into the vision of FH in order to become partners with them financially and spiritually.

Nathan Corbitt wrote a book called “The Sound of the Harvest” . The title refers to a story he tells about visiting a region that was suffering in a famine. When he asked a local friend if there was music being made this year, the man responded, “Bila mavuno hakuna kuimba” or “Without a harvest, there is no singing.” This reflects the same meaning as Psalm 137 in which the artists in oppressive captivity hung their harps from the trees instead of using them to rejoice. Food for the Hungry’s mission statement reveals that they are about more than charity for the sake of easing our Western guilt. They are about restoring communities to a state of balance with nature and with God in which their hearts and bodies are restored to their intended pre-fall condition. This act of restoration brings with it “the sound of the harvest” when new songs and new forms of worship are born.

It will be a lot of fun to travel and to participate in this event, but it’s also taking me out of my comfort zones. Instead of our usual 10-piece bands at NCF, we will be limited to a trio. I’ve also experienced a type of spiritual oppression leading up to this event in which my character, my experience, and my standing in Christ have been attacked by my flesh and the accusations of the enemy. I’ve shared in the past about the kind of spiritual warfare that can be involved with crossing into unfamiliar territory, and so if you are reading this, please take a moment to pray for me and my friends as we put our faith into practice this week.

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He raises the poor from the dust

Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,

who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

he seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.

He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD.

Psalm 113:5-9

I’m praising the Lord today for his character. He is not like anyone or any ‘god’ ever conceived. He is not absent and  impotent like so many deadbeat dads. He’s not deaf to the cries of the poor or the barren. He is a Father who is ever-present and who works to maintain justice. I’m thankful for how He has chosen and blessed me to be a servant in His kingdom. He has saved me from my idolatry in order to do good works by faith in Christ, works that have been prepared for me to accomplish in advance. I’m thankful for how He’s given children to my friends who were barren. I am thankful for how He’s rescuing the needy from the ash heap to set them up with princes.

Praise the LORD.
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.

Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.

The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.

Psalm 113:1-4

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Worship and Poverty Alleviation – part 4: Worship as Development

Finally, I’m going to wrap up this series of posts that I started a few months ago. Feel free to go back and read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

To summarize the string of ideas at this point:

  • Worship musicians need to be given a vision for their role in poverty alleviation
  • Poverty is a bi-product of the corrosive effects of sin on creation and cultures
  • Most poverty, especially that which is caused by systemic problems,  is in need of  “development” and not “relief”   forms of poverty alleviation

I’m just about to finish John Perkin’s book, Beyond Charity. Perkins is the founder of the Christian Community Development Association. Beyond Charity is a kind of manifesto for community development. The process of development involves relocating into an materially poor community, building long term relationships, encouraging indigenous leadership, providing access to resources, and basically reversing the destruction caused by the fall. Perkins affirms that community development is not something that is fulfilled with government programs alone or even by para-church organizations. He says that community development has to be lead by the local church. Where the church is, there is liturgy, worship.

Worship is the greatest power to heal a community from the effects of sin because worship is the very process that re-aligns the human heart with the Lordship of Jesus and their familial relationship with the Creator and the creation. When we meet together in worship, we bring our hearts back under the instruction of the Word to expose our sin and to magnify the glory of the Redeemer. In worship, we get our feet back onto the Rock; all other ground is sinking sand.

Poverty is created when our worldview is corrupted and we no longer reflect the amazing image of the Father. Sin causes us to fail to love our neighbor and fail to love the Lord God. The power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ defeated death and sin and now we have the freedom to become the salt and light of the world to bring restoration. In worship we have our hearts restored to the right harmony that we aught to have with the Truth. This is the greatest resource for “development” that there is.

Let’s take the practical example of an unemployed, alcoholic man who has been born-again is now in the worship service. There’s not an instant overnight change that comes from looking at a painting of Jesus and hearing “Amazing Grace” like you see in movies. However, sitting in worship every week, he starts to hear about how he’s loved by the universe Creator. He learns that he’s been made into a new creation. He learns that God is a good God who can do anything but fail. Soon, he sees that his freedom to pursue drunkenness is actually a trap that deprives him of the good promises of God. Emboldened by these promises he gets the help that he needs to overcome the addiction. His new identity in Christ also emboldens him to pursue employment because he is no longer defined by his poverty or his lack of education. Instead, he’s a child of God who can trust in the Father to be Jehovah Jirah. He’s no longer defining himself by his lack of power in the cultures eyes, but by the immeasurable power of the resurrection of Jesus.

At the same time, worship is changing the hearts of people in positions of power in the community. These other redeemed sinners  start to affect change in the systems that contribute to his unemployment. Power shifts, resources become available, jobs start to materialize as the people of God in this man’s community draw near to the God of Justice. When the wealthy, powerful people experience the love of Jesus they begin to repent of their materialism and idolatry to capitalism, mobilizing their resources into service to the kingdom.

Worship brings us near the heart of the Reconciling God. Jesus prayer that we will be unified begins to spring into life as we proclaim that he reigns. Soon the recovering alcoholic and the recovering capitalist begin to worship together and become bound together in the brotherhood of the kingdom. Singing and praying together, these men bring a kind of alleviation of poverty that goes much deeper than the band-aid solutions that only perpetuate the relationship between the materially poor and the materially wealthy.

What’ s the church musician’s role in poverty alleviation? We lead people in songs of praise to the Sovereign Lord who proclaims freedom for the captive, who binds up the brokenhearted, opens the eyes of the blind. Coming together on the first day of the week to worship Jesus and to remember his death and resurrection  is the means by which our hearts and minds are tuned to resonated with the anthem of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The new songs of the kingdom are more than fight-songs or cheers from the sidelines – we are in the very thick of the battle for hearts and minds to invite sinners into the banquet of grace into order to make His blessings known far as the curse is found.

Sing! Sing for the Lamb who was slain sits on the throne. He is making all things new and He brings captives in His train. Sing!

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Worship and Poverty Alliviation part 3: Not All Poverty Is Alike

Please read part 1 and part 2 first.

In part 2, I shared a biblical perspective on poverty, specifically that poverty is a result of the brokenness of God’s good creation that was cause by the fall. Now I want to be clear about what I am not saying. I am not saying that people become poor as a result of their personal sins. Personal sin can perpetuate poverty, but the root causes of poverty are the presence of sin within communities and social institutions as a whole.  As the title of this post suggests, not all poverty is alike. Some poverty is the result of emergency situations that require relief. Some poverty is the result of more systemic problems which require “development”.

Sin within a social institution can best be exemplified by the historical legacy of slavery in the United States. Slavery created a system where one ethnic group grew prosperous through the direct oppression of another ethnic group. The brokenness that slavery created within the social structures of both whites and blacks can only be redeemed through the work of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This kind of brokenness is also not fixed by a short term mission trip or a soup kitchen. It’s not fixed with the typical poverty ministries come to mind. In fact, these kinds of ministries that are designed to alleviate poverty can sometimes perpetuate the sinful systems that create poverty. Middle class folks can often come from the suburbs with what Corbit and Fikkert describe as a “god-complex”, identifying themselves as the divinely ordained rescuers of the lower class.  As these folks enter into the problems of poverty in the city, it can perpetuate the paternalistic worldview that created the problems in the first place. So, my point is that sinful institutions and brokenness in communities require a different solution than emergency relief.

Emergencies are a different kind of poverty. When an earthquake happens or a hurricane, we don’t need to talk about the broken social structures because people need help now. When people need immediate help with food, water, shelter, etc. it’s best to “put down the guitar” and get involved with meeting people’s basic needs for life. This kind of poverty alleviation is referred to by Corbit and Fikkert as “relief”.

Relief is different than “development”. Development is the process of addressing those broken social structures over the long haul. This means addressing both the sin within poor communities and the sin within the more “stable” communities. In other words, we have address the “god-complex” in the middle class as well as the sin patterns that afflict the poor. Development is a long slow process that takes decades to see much result. It’s about redeeming the image bearing nature of the humans who are trapped in poverty. It’s about reaping the good, fruitful resources that already exist with poor communities for the purposes of God’s kingdom. It’s about reconciling broken relationships between ethnic groups, social classes, or economic divisions.  Not all poverty is alike and so there is not one set poverty solution that will address every situation. Development also has to be custom designed for each circumstance.

The restoration process that comes from development is exactly where worship ministries step into the poverty alleviation  battle and leads into part 4: Worship as Development.

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Worship and Poverty Alleviation – Part 2: What is Poverty?

Please read Part 1 – Worship and Poverty Alleviation.

Richard Sterns book, “The Hole In Our Gospel” paints a vivid picture of what poverty is in today’s world: imagine 100 jetliners full of children crashing everyday and you get an idea of the number of children who die every day from poverty related problems.  Lack of access to food and water, disease, famine and armed conflict are what Sterns describes as “the horsemen of the apocalypse”. Sterns’ book is an appeal to the disciples of Jesus (especially in the “developed world”) to stop being so focused on our own comfort and safety and to actually follow Jesus’ summons to join in the vision of the kingdom of God as described in Isaiah 58 and 61.

As I mentioned in the previous post in this series, when I look at the “horsemen”, I think to myself, “put down the guitar, and get your hands dirty feeding the hungry and healing the sick.” How can I reconciled my job as a full-time salaried church musician to the call of Jesus Christ to be like the “Good Samaritan” and not walk past my neighbor in need, proceeding on to my rehearsal or worship set? Is it an offense to the values of the kingdom of God to  spend resources that could be used to provide the basic living necessities to the poor? How many children from those jetliners could I save by resigning my job and letting my salary go to the rescue efforts? Thankfully, I don’t have to resign from my job (which I love!). In fact, my job is an important piece of God’s plan for the rescue and restoration of His good creation but it starts with a good biblical view of poverty.

A biblical view of poverty starts at the beginning. According to God’s word, this universe was created good. Humans were created as image bearers, who were also good. We still possess this distinction as the apex of God’s creativity and an expression of his sovereign love and wisdom. Humans are wonderfully made to be in harmonious relationship with God, with each other, with creation and with ourselves. The bible also teaches that the inherent goodness and glory of humans  has been corrupted by our separation from God through sin. Sin has broken humanity to the degree that those harmonious relationships have been lost. This loss of harmony has created a true poverty that is the root cause of the hunger, disease, conflict, imbalance of resources, etc. that are the characteristics of material poverty.

“When Helping Hurts” presents a definition of the fundamental nature of poverty from Bryan L. Myers

Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings.

Poverty is caused by a web of circumstances that are all rooted in the fallen, broken nature of all humanity. In a sinless world, poverty would not exist. I know that this doesn’t let me off the hook yet from resigning, but I think that it gets us closer to the real problem. At the root of poverty is sin. We will not succeed in any effort to eradicate poverty without addressing the problem of sin.

Coming up next…Part 3 – Not all poverty is alike

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Worship and Poverty Alleviation – part 1

What sort of things does the word “worship” make you think of? Singing, preaching, prayer, sacraments, offerings, and confessions might come to mind. What things come to mind when we talk about “poverty”? Unemployment, homelessness, hunger, lack of access to resources, lack of education, lack of opportunity, lack of power are a few things that I think of. When I think about “poverty alleviation”, by which I mean the work we do as disciples of Jesus to pursue doing justice and mercy for the oppressed, how does that connect with my job as a worship leader?

This question has bothered me for a few years. When I think about my fellow staff members who are working in job training, acts of service, tutoring, education, health, or sex trafficking  ministries, it’s easy to see the connection with what they are doing and poverty alleviation. But what about me and my guitar? If I want to make a difference in the fight against poverty, shouldn’t I put down the guitar and do something that actually meets physical needs? In response to this question, people usually give me the “cheerleader” illustration which is something like this, “Kirk, we need you to give us the encouragement and motivation to go out there and do what needs to get done.” Honestly, that response is not good enough. Who would want to do that? I don’t want to be a cheerleader; I want to be on the field in the game.

This past year, I read a book called “When Helping Hurts”. That book has completely changed my mind about what my job is and how necessary worship is in the process of poverty alleviation. My whole understanding of poverty has been clarified so that I can see  a direct connection between the problem of poverty and how worship is a major part of the solution. Instead of being a cheerleader on the sideline, I can see that worship is a necessary part of the process of community development and the restoration of humanity to the glory that God originally created us to possess. So, I want to take my time to flesh this out by writing a series of posts about this subject.

Part 2 – What is poverty?

Part 3 – Not all poverty is alike

Part 4 – Worship as development

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How does it feel to be black in America?

This weekend, we had another church, Windsor Crossing, who we’ve been partnering with in ministry come to our facilities and basically take over for the whole Saturday to do a “Christmas Store”. The point of the store is to offer low-income folks in our church community an opportunity to purchase new toys for their kids at a reduced price.

I thought we could just plan to have our rehearsal in the youth room and everything would be fine. Everything did work fine for us, but there was a little awkwardness. As I pulled up to my church -where I am a member and on staff – I was met with a “can I help you?” from a few unfamiliar men directing traffic in my church’s parking lot. After parking, I passed by a bunch of unfamiliar folk, wearing name-tags and Christmas sweaters. They looked at me with an expression that communicated that I was not one of them, so I must be one of the “low-income” people. I must be a person in need. Emotionally, I felt very uncomfortable.

The next day, I was sharing my feelings with my friend, Darwin, who was also on the music team this weekend and shared my experience. Darwin, who is black, responded to my feelings by saying basically that I (a white person) got a little taste of what it’s like to have black skin in America.

Let me say at this point that I am very thankful for Windsor Crossing and all the volunteers that came out this weekend. They did an excellent job and I don’t think that there was anything wrong with how they interacted with me. Everything that I’m sharing with you was an internal experience that was an emotional (not very rational) experience. Feelings, not facts.

So what were those feelings? No one accosted me or anything really overt. For about 10 minutes, I just felt a sense of alienation in my own community. I felt like I was not one of the tribe. I was cheerfully welcomed but still an outsider. Perceived as a “shopper” at the store, I felt like the object of charity and not like a peer. (Again, I didn’t actually participate in the store, I’m just describing my feelings). It’s amazing how the phrase, “Can I help you?” is so offensive in certain circumstances.

So have you ever felt that way?

If you are black in the America, is this a true description of what can happen in stores, churches, or other institutions?

The innocent volunteers were unaware of what they were communicating to me; am I as unaware in my own interactions?

Is this an example of me just being hyper-sensitive? In a situation like this, I am the one at fault for reading too much into nonverbal cues?

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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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