In the fight against poverty, the community is the most important place:

Berlin (IDEA) – Church congregations should do more to overcome poverty in the world. The organization for Christian development Tearfund Germany (Berlin) suggests this.

It is intended to encourage people to “discover and develop the God-given potential” and thereby change their environment in a positive way, according to the new distribution of the work under the title “Churches Change the World”.

Since preaching and pastoral care have led to “changing people’s hearts for good”, churches could use this basis to respond to the needs of their communities.

800 million people are extremely poor

According to the number, nine percent of the world’s population (800 million) lives in conditions of extreme poverty. You would have less than 1.90 euros per day for living expenses.

In 1981, 42 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Although the situation has improved in recent years, extreme poverty is currently increasing again due to wars, displacement and the climate crisis.

What can you do practically

Tearfund Germany uses the example of an ecclesial community in the Kurdish part of Iraq to describe what the help of an ecclesial community can look like in practice. He launched a neighborhood program to meet the basic needs of the poorest.

He helped some people to start a small business. The project would strengthen the gifts and capabilities of those affected and ensure their livelihood. Children could go to school and poverty would decrease.

The booklet goes on to say: “At best, participants will discover the devotion and love of God they have experienced through help.”

What poverty and climate change have to do with God

Theologian Martin Knispel (61) is currently building the new “Advocacy and Church Relations” branch as a member of the Tearfund board. As he told the evangelical news agency IDEA, the work wants to make it clear “that change is always holistic”.

Global poverty, injustice and climate change also have to do with broken relationships with God, with each other and with creation. This is why we want to encourage ecclesial communities to commit themselves to restoring relationships at all levels.

This also includes defending the poor in their environment and against climate change, which affects the poor in particular. Tearfund Germany oversees projects in eight countries.

The annual budget for 2022 is 3.1 million euros. The international humanitarian organization, the “Tearfund Family”, comprises ten independent organizations which are responsible for aid projects worth around € 150 million per year in around 50 countries. The managing director of Tearfund Germany is Bernd Gülker (69).

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