3 Ways to Bring the Dream of Pope Francis to Life

"I dream of a poor church for the poor." - Pope Francis

I am not quite sure we’ve digested these words of Pope Francis as a church yet.

It is a truly challenging vision as we seek to live out the gospel of Jesus. What is a poor church? A poor church is one where the poor are loved, treasured, and put first.

If the whole Church takes up this missionary impulse, she has to go forth to everyone without exception. But to whom should she go first? When we read the Gospel we find a clear indication: not so much our friends and wealthy neighbours, but above all the poor and the sick, those who are usually despised and overlooked, “those who cannot repay you” (Lk 14:14). There can be no room for doubt or for explanations which weaken so clear a message. Today and always, “the poor are the privileged recipients of the Gospel”,[52] and the fact that it is freely preached to them is a sign of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish. We have to state, without mincing words, that there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them.
— Pope Francis, Evangeli Gaudium 48

Christ not only embraced the poor but he was poor. He loved the poor and preached the good news to them.

There are so many exciting things happening in our church today. Programs and ministries are responding to the call of the church for a spirit of a new evangelization. This “new evangelization” is about sharing the Gospel with both those who have fallen away from the church and those who have never heard the good news with renewed vigor and new methods.

The New Evangelization is not, however, meant to simply be a program or strategy for reaching people in suburbia. We must find ways to be a poor church and a church for the poor. The poor can’t be an afterthought of our evangelization efforts.

Pope Francis challenges us that this is not a question or a problem for someone else to consider:

Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor” Evangeli Gaudium 187

So how can you be an instrument for the liberation and promotion of the poor? I wanted to share 3 tangible things you can do today to work towards this:

1.    Embrace poverty like Jesus.

You may have all the food and money you need in your life right now, but each of us has poverty in our lives. Maybe it’s brokenness from your family, a struggle you are dealing with, or forgiveness. Surrender these things to God. Ask him to use and transform your poverty for his greater glory.

Or perhaps God is asking you to choose simplicity in your life. Do you need to get rid of some stuff? Are you putting God first in your life with your finances? Are you tithing and recognizing God first?

 

2.    Make a regular commitment to a ministry that works with the poor.

Consider becoming a monthly mission partner (CLICK HERE) with Dirty Vagabond Ministries or another ministry that works directly with the poor. Without funding our ministry simply can’t happen. Whether you give $10 a month or $500 a month, your regular commitment not only helps us grow and plan our ministry, it enables you to be a part of our efforts on a regular basis. You are not just doing something for the poor, but you are invited to be a part of the Dirty Vagabond Ministries family by being a regular donor.

 

3.    Pray for the poor.

We’ve just started a weekly email with prayer intentions for our missions all over the United States. We would love to have you pray with us. Click here to sign up for our prayer email list. Prayer is a powerful weapon and we would love you to be a prayer warrior with us

Jesus could have chosen wealth, but he didn’t. He was poor and lived among the poor. He died in visible poverty, stripped of all he had on a cross. We know this wasn’t the end of the story. This worldly poverty is an invitation to each of us experience the richness of God’s glory, mercy, and grace. This is the end goal of a poor church for the poor.

I pray that you might know the wealth of God’s love and grace today as you embrace the poverty of Jesus.

- Andy Lesnefsky, Director of Mission Advancement