How to hang on in urban low-income neighborhoods

Churches in low-income areas face even more difficulties than churches in more affluent areas. In order to run any type of organization two important resources are needed finances and human resources. Larger churches have volunteers but they also employee individuals who ensure certain task and duties are accomplished. Small churches often aren’t afforded that luxury. In business, salaries are a great driver and for volunteers seeing the impact of their work is a great motivator. Unfortunately when working in low-income businesses non-profit, not for profit, religious, or for profit a lack of income and a lack of support can be devastating. How do we overcome these issues? Well, the only advice I can give is small successes. Joyce Meyers in her book Battlefield of the Mind has a chapter titled “little by little”. It was so impactful on our church in our spiritual development and business development. If you are reading this blog, I have to believe you are the enterprising type.

A frustration I had was putting so much into things and watching others around me not understand at best or not care at worst. The hours of creating new innovative idea or massaging unproductive processes, with what seems like no results, was maddening. It is easy to get weary and well doing, but you have to take the small victories. Having a victory in the win column no matter how small is a win. In areas where support and resources are at a premium and heartbreak is common, praising the small steps towards you goal can be the difference between lasting the test of time and seeing this growth through or throwing in the towel too early.

Writer Patton Dodd of the Atlantic wrote, “Sociologists, like Robert Putnam and Ram Cnann, have shown that religious participation is in its steepest decline among lower classes. Church attendance is correlated strongly to higher levels of education and income. Working class and poorer families are less likely to participate in a religious community than any other socioeconomic group. Religious faith and practice is a reflection of human beliefs, but it is also a marker of economic realities, including the gap between affluent and distressed neighborhoods.”

“Communities that are arguably in most need of the social supports churches provide are the communities where churches seem to be vanishing — and where new, upstart church activity is not happening.” Brooke Hempell, the senior vice president of research at Barna Group, noted that church work in economically disadvantaged or economically mixed areas presents a higher degree of difficulty. “Churches in urban areas tended to be extremely financially strapped,” she said. “Not only is it more expensive to operate but they are also serving more needy populations.” “That’s the loop of church economics: It needs money to serve people, but in many cases, it gets that money from the community it serves.”

We have to work harder but the end game has a bigger payoff. Anything worth having is worth working for, and the only place success comes before work is the dictionary. I say all that to say there will be challenges and issues, and days where it feels like it’s too much, so enjoy the victories no matter how small. They are building blocks to something greater!

Later Dayz,

J

#rttmtp2b #imperfectmiracle #stayprayedup

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