This morning, started with panel discussion, Engaging Local Poverty, with Mark Horvath, David Ruis, Greg Russinger and Grace Yi.

I came in a little bit late, but the panelists shared some really important parts of what it means to engage people (not just developing more programs):

  • The church must move from event-driven, sales-quota organization to a compassionate heart.
  • Compassionate = to suffer with.  If you’re going to live as one who is socially involved, must learn reciprocal relationships with others, learn to suffer with them.  Attitude: I’m going to invest in others, rather than swoop in and save them.
  • Attitude of have’s against the have-not’s breeds arrogance.  Mercy, not sacrifice; friendship, not condescension.
  • David Ruis:We don’t really know if we’re helping unless we’re listening
  • Mark Horvath: If every church just helped one homeless person, thousands would be helped in every city
  • Online question: If a church gets the message loud and clear and wants to start a friendship-based outreach — Greg Russinger: Takes time, listening, the monastic disciplines of attentiveness, reverence for another human being
  • Greg Russinger: Welcoming the stranger creates disequilibirum in your life. Of all the things Jesus lists in Matthew 25,welcoming the stranger most reveals your heart, including judgments, biases, etc.
  • Move away from NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude
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