Strategic guidelines for alleviating poverty in part of the Reformed Churches of Synod Midlands : a pastoral study
Makungo, Ntshengedzeni Robert
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Poverty in South Africa and Africa as a whole has become a major problem, hindering the development of the entire continent. The problem of poverty affects all the spheres of life. People affected by poverty do not enjoy life to such an extent that they can feel counted among the blessed in the country. They feel depressed about their situation and strive to find solutions for their problem. One of the major causes of poverty in South Africa and in Africa as a whole is inequality and injustice. That is, the poor become poorer while the rich become richer. Poverty as one of the major problems we have inside and outside the church, needs serious attention. Chapter 2 consist of the following principles: Firstly, God is revealed as a God who treats both rich and poor equally and demands every person to have an open eye and heart for poor and needy. Secondly, the church must follow the attitude of Jesus, feeling empathy for people in need and acting in love and compassion towards them. Thirdly, the leaders of the church, especially the deacons, must defend and help the poor and lead the congregation to obey God in loving to people in need. Fourthly, the members of the church must be involved in the needs of the poor amongst them and take responsibility for widows and orphans. Fifth, the church must act as a community of love under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and address the need of the poor. Sixth, the poor must be thankful for the love of others and satisfied with the help they receive from the church. The principles were identified after studying the Scriptural portions in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19: 9 and 10; Deuteronomy 15:4; Proverbs 22:9; Proverbs 6: 9-11 , Jeremiah 22: 1 6; Ezekiel 16:49, Ezekiel 22:29) and the New Testament (Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 9:14-17; Acts 2:42-47; and James 2:14-17). Chapter 3 consists of a literature study, with an emphasis on Sociology. Different stakeholders are involved in alleviating poverty, although not yet on a satisfactory standard. There is still a need for the stakeholders and the church to be more actively involved in alleviating poverty. Orphans, widows and street children are not cared for enough or at all in some instances. Chapter 4 provides some practical theoretical perspectives to try and change this situation. The principles stated in this chapter should be seriously considered. In this case God's love towards the needy and the poor is very important. Chapter 5 is the practical theoretical theological perspective on alleviating poverty in the churches in the Synod Midlands. Chapter 6 offers some conclusive guidelines. If the guidelines in this chapter can be taken in to consideration and taken seriously, they can ensure a better way to alleviate poverty inside and outside the church.
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