Block out 2-3 days. Find a guide who is intimately familiar with the world of the poor in your geographic area. Take a team of persons from your church to a site(s) in your city which provide relief from oppressive poverty. Under a directed, structured program, immerse yourselves in the world of poverty through the people you meet.
Now one moves from an occasional conversation with persons who know poverty up close to deeper conversations with many persons. You will hear their stories describing how they found themselves in this place and experience “up front and personal.” This will include social service bureaucracy frustrations the poor have endured. You will learn the principles of “first, do no harm” and “treat everyone with dignity and respect.”
You may begin to understand poverty’s spiritual dimension and the church’s calling to be an active partner in relational transformation and stabilization.