The Maslow Hierarchy of needs says that unless of physical needs are met, food, water, warmth, rest, we are not able to focus on the other needs. We are serving an increasing number of the poor whose basic needs are not being met, and who view life differently.
In seeking to create a community that enables well-being we must remember the vulnerable/ poor – Galatians 2v10
We need to acknowledge and understand the differences between people, especially the vulnerable and poor. E.g. the driving forces of the poor are survival, entertainment and relationships whereas for the middle class, the criteria against which most decisions are made relate to work and achievement. For the wealthy, decisions are considered based on the effect on finance, political and social connections.
Using money for security is grounded in the middle class and wealthy. Those in poverty see money as an expression of personality and it is used for entertainment and relationships.
Words are used to resolve conflict by negotiation in the middle class and wealthy but what if you don’t have the necessary words or even respect them if you are in poverty? Violence is often the way to resolve issues.
There is a danger that a church which is mostly ‘middle-class’ will assume their hidden rules apply to the poor. They will create plans and strategies based on their rules and will only really accept people into their group that understand and conform to the hidden rules. If you really want the church to be for all, then something has to change…
From A Framework for Understanding Poverty Dr Ruby Payne 17/10/2016
Different ethnic backgrounds also need to be considered and valued when we are a Church from many nations.
There are many things already in place that contribute to well-being, shalom, some through community areas, others through Open House. We do not want to duplicate or reinvent the wheel as there are several Christian and non-Christian programmes and organisations that have expertise and can contribute towards well-being and shalom. It is important to work in
partnership where possible and sign-post people as appropriate and work to strengthen our relationships.
Examples of others we are working with.
Azalea; Noah; Signposts; Walk to Freedom; Lighthouse Ministries; Christian Counsellors; Foodbank; Red Cross.
Written by Theresa Middleton