Throughout the world, corruption is a problem that perpetually destroys good work. This is especially true in developing world communities, who are already vulnerable to exploitation due to their economically powerless position. Those living in poverty desperately need assistance in alleviating corruption. This assistance very well could come through local churches, but since these churches too are very poor, outside funding—in the form of grants—is needed to turn the plans of churches into action. Here are five ways that healthy churches can make life better for those living in developing world communities. (When I speak about churches, I’m talking about Christian communities of people—not buildings.)
Jesus calls Christians to a higher standard of ethical living than others. The ethics of Christianity are intended to be applied in all situations with all people—loving your neighbor, and thus treating them as Jesus would treat them, is meant to be applied to all people. This baseline view of others can create an ethical baseline for a community.
Healthy church communities create trust-based situations. Christians are also used to training others, since discipleship is part of the model Jesus proposed. These two factors combined, make Christian communities an ideal hub for training and learning for an entire community.
Traditionally, churches have often been first responders to aid and general poverty relief, since it is part of the calling of Christianity to help the poor. Churches are also full of people ready to volunteer their time for the betterment of the lives of others. This can make the meeting of basic needs much easier for an outsider. In addition, the goal should not be for an outsider to do the work, but instead to empower people from a community to meet the needs of their community.
One of the ongoing problems of corruption, especially in poverty relief situations, is the misuse of funding. Healthy churches really get to know, and love, their communities. In the process of doing so, they become sources of truth about communities and their true needs. They also serve as people who can identify who is properly using funding and who is not. In a situation foreign to the Western world investor in a community’s betterment, this is vital to success.
Christians can serve as a hub for bringing accountability to the lives of others. In Jesus’ Economy model, we simultaneously work with entrepreneurs and church planters in the same community. Christian church leaders serve as accountability partners and ethical trainers for the entrepreneurs we help, to ensure that the standards of Jesus’ Economy are held.