?> not going away | almost an M
Nov
07

not going away

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The economic landscape of America is changing rapidly at present and it is having and will have significant ramifications for the western church. We would do well to be aware of the trends and be thinking about not only the impact current economic developments will have on the church, but more importantly, the impact the church will have on a hobbled economy–at least those participating in the economy.

One of the most disturbing trends at the lower socioeconomic strata in the U.S. is the huge number of people on food stamps. With a 74% increase since 2007 and the current number of people participating in the program is some 15% of the population. (ht) ¬†While this puts a strain on government coffers–not the topic of this blog–there is growing concern that these food stamps will contribute less and less to the daily needs of recipients due to growing inflation–especially in the key “core inflation” category.

Another troubling trend is the foreclosure issue that has been an albatross for the U.S. since 2008. This key factor continues to be a drag on the whole of the economy with some signs of an uptick in foreclosures on the way.

A third issue to address quickly is the massive concerns surrounding the developed world right now–specifically in Europe. With Greece being an ongoing concern, Italy is now moving to the forefront of the economic discussion. The concerns for Italy make it look like a whale in comparison to Greece being a minnow. Many are referring to Italy as “too big to fail, but too big to save.” If Italy, or Greece, or Spain, or Portugal were to succumb to the debt pressures facing them and not be able to finance their debt, the ramifications are significant, but unknown.

So what does the church do? Well this is not intended to be a doom and gloom view, but it seems essential that we are aware of the macro and micro issues that impact both existing and would-be disciples. The combination of the above factors and others should impact how we minister, allocate resources, live on mission in our local and global context, etc. More on this in the future, but for now I will link back to a series of posts on things the church would do well to consider.

the obvious

prioritization

toward building programs

pursuing conversion

Also, here’s a first-hand account of one living in poverty and the food-stamp system.

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Categories : trends

Comments

  1. wgb says:

    Having taught an in depth Bible Study using Larry Burkett’s Christian Financial Concepts, there is a great need for churhes to educate their people in the area of finances.
    There is an excellent tool available that changes lives in a short period of time that is relatively easy to administer; Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU). Dave quotes Larry throughout and has a very entertaining way of presenting practical teachings utilizing seven baby steps. We are currently leading our 18th session of FPU. We have seen well over 600 lives changed for the better. A few of the benefits are:
    * Hope
    * Peace
    * A plan
    * Spouses communicating
    * Spouses agreeing on financial matters
    * Bringing outsiders into the church (most are off of the internet)
    * Goal setting
    * Manage their finances
    * Increased giving
    * Sharing with others
    * Tithing
    * Less stress on the family
    * Debt free
    * Educating the next generation
    * Changing family trees

  2. almost says:

    I appreciate all that Dave’s efforts have done for those both in and outside of the church. His is very helpful for the individual and/or family. The same principles are important for the church. There is going to be a growing number of needs / opportunities for the church to bless those that are in need as well as an ever-present call to take the gospel to the nations. The greater the fixed costs that the church is encumbered with, the less flexible she is to step up and be a blessing. Also, the more she is concerned with doing things the way they always have been, the less she will be aware to address the changing needs around us.

    Thanks for reading and for making a difference in others lives!

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