A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
About the Authors
Mez McConnell is senior pastor of Niddrie Community Church in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the founder of a ministry organization that plants gospel-centered churches in poor areas of Scotland.
Mike McKinley is senior pastor of Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. He is the author of Church Planting is for Wimps.
Church in Hard Places provides a realistic look at what it means to minister to the marginalized in poor communities. The role of mercy ministries is considered in its relationship to the larger mission of the church, and the centrality of the gospel is stressed. The authors show how mercy ministries are to be connected with local churches, and emphasize the importance of strong local churches in these communities. The book is filled with real-life stories and examples, and the authors have lots of experience in these areas.
Table of Contents
1 What is Poverty?
2 What Gospel Do They Need?
3 Does Doctrine Matter?
4 The Parachurch Problem
5 The Local Church Solution
6 The Work of Evangelism
7 The Role of Preaching
8 The Importance of Membership and Discipline
9 Prepare Yourself
10 Prepare the Work
11 Prepare to Change Your Thinking
12 Prepare for Mercy Ministry?
Chapter 1: What is Poverty?
This book is about reaching people on the margins, or reaching people in “hard places.” We tend to think of “the poor” in economic terms, but the concept of poverty can be more complicated than we normally think. Many people in the world routinely go a day or more without eating, whereas many of the homeless in America can get consistent meals, find shelter, have showers, and even enjoy some entertainment. Providing material resources is not the same as alleviating poverty, since many on the margins talk about their experiences with existential terms like “powerlessness, hopelessness, loss of meaning, and shame” rather than in material categories. Many of the poor live in subsidized housing with access to education, food, and medical care, yet they feel trapped in cycles of brokenness and misery. Churches can help with material needs, but the deepest needs are spiritual; people need the gospel more than anything. The gospel is the foundation for ministry to the marginalized and is the basis for this book. The book rests on three pillars of the gospel that we find exemplified in Scripture: 1. The gospel will spread; 2. The gospel will spread among the poor; 3. The gospel will spread through the local church. Churches are designed by God to spread the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit, and God gives the church the right mix of gifts to reach the poor with spiritual and material aid. When the poor are reached and converted, they are incorporated into the body of Christ to grow into maturity and to reach others. Churches need to look for opportunities to minister to the poor, and this may require planting and establishing new churches in marginalized communities. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
The remainder of this article is premium content. Become a member to continue reading.
Already have an account? Sign In