New reports released in the last few days indicate the extent to which poverty levels now extend to suburbia in America. What began at the beginning of this decade as a major shift in the distribution of poverty, the rise of poverty in the suburbs has accelerated during the Great Recession of the last three years. One of the best summaries of this shift is this article, complete with maps, called “Parsing U.S. Poverty at the Metropolitan Level.”
In trying to respond to this shift, churches are discovering all kinds of new ways to minister to people beyond traditional food pantry and “crisis closet” ministries. The Vineyard Church in Rolla, MO recently began a laundromat ministry to provide homeless families and others in need a place to come and do their laundry. It began when the church was approached by a family that needed to wash their clothes but had no resources. Now, according to the pastor, it serves people all day long in the basement of the church where washers and dryers are located.
How has your church been affected by the re-distribution of poverty? Have you begun any new ministries as result of responding to people in need? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We’ll share what we learn in a future issue of ALL In.