Bright Hope is a 50-year-old ministry helping poor churches in developing countries. Their unique success path for raising the poor out of poverty has put hundreds of thousands of people on the road to self-sustainability. Bright Hope Allies are Christians, private businesses, churches and foundations who believe Christians should be active in helping the poorest people on the planet.
Below are 5 actions churches must do to help the extreme poor dealing with COVID-19:
- Pivot your thinking from disease prevention to food security. While COVID-19 is impacting the poor and putting healthcare systems at risk, far more of the poor are being impacted by the shutdowns and lack of income for food purchases.
- Help in-country (indigenous) churches survive and thrive. Many pastors in slums and remote villages have lost contact with their congregation, and therefore their weekly offerings. For churches in extremely poor places there is no online giving option. Pastors are struggling to support their families and it is difficult for them to visit needy members of their church without any resources to offer.
- Interview your missionaries or experts on how COVID-19 is impacting the world’s poorest communities. Chances are someone in your church has some expertise or a connection. If not, reach out to Bright Hope. We are happy to help.
- Encourage connection between your church and indigenous poor churches. It is time to be creative. One of our partner churches in rural Uganda began distributing soap to homes in their village. A simple bar of soap was such a blessing and is an important part of virus prevention. They were able to distribute 1,000 bars of soap!
Here’s just one idea: what if a U.S. Church asked each member to buy a bar of soap, write an encouraging note to put inside, and donate $25 for food relief for each family receiving a bar of soap? How great it would be to see food and clean hands in some of the poorest places. Creatively connecting with the poor is needed more than ever, but we must meet real needs in a timely fashion, while helping build long-term relationships.
* When seeking greater connection with churches in poor places, ask these three questions:
* What exactly are you asking for?
* What can we do, together, that will make a long-term difference in the lives of the poor?
* How can we provide help in a way that increases our connection/bond?
- Distribute Bright Hope’s free booklet, COVID-19 and The Extreme Poor: Why the Poor May Be Hit the Hardest. We need to get the word out about the poor and what is going on in their homes. Let Bright Hope be a resource for you—download the booklet and distribute freely. Co-branding the booklet is available to those interested.