FIRST-PERSON: How is it possible ...?
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- How is it possible that in North America -- the land of promise, possibility and plenty -- millions of children go to bed hungry each night? How is it possible that in the most bountiful heartland on earth, food can be scarce in rural and urban areas?
As difficult as it is to believe, with a restaurant "on almost every corner," hunger is a daily reality in the United States and Canada. And this stark situation exists even in places with a church "on almost every corner" as well.
I am convinced we are not in this state because God's people don't care; we face this challenge because His people are not aware. The same blind spots that keep churches from engaging in any number of ministries keep them from recognizing the need around them.
The real answer to crushing poverty and hunger is the Gospel-driven community transformation found through the LoveLoud movement of churches. These churches take the responsibility to be the first to say, "Yes, we will care for our neglected neighbors." Churches like The Foundry Church in Philadelphia where pastor Chuck Kieffer helped people transform a plot of ground into a community garden that produces more than 500 pounds of fresh produce annually. (See related Baptist Press story.)
LoveLoud churches don't stop at providing answers to physical needs. Spiritual transformation is the heart of community transformation. So as you would suspect, The Foundry Church connects with the community through a "Garden Camp" Vacation Bible School as well as other strategic outreach and church planting. Pastor Chuck and the people at Foundry get it. An area that once was languishing has received nourishing food and Gospel hope.
The Foundry Church is an example of a church using Southern Baptist World Hunger Funds to build a bridge from a ministry that simply meets a need to Gospel-driven community transformation. The integrity of the "dollar-in, dollar-out" accountability of the World Hunger Fund, now also known as Global Hunger Relief, means Southern Baptists can rest assured what they give will be used to fuel hunger relief ministry. Just like the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, they can know their gifts to Global Hunger Relief will be used for the intended purpose.
As you prayerfully consider what you and your church will do to love your community, I urge you to give sacrificially to Global Hunger Relief. Find your neglected neighbor and love them with the Gospel.
Consider using World Hunger Sunday, Oct. 13, as a day to heighten awareness and call for commitment. Learn more about Global Hunger Relief at worldhungerfund.com. To find out how your church can join the LoveLoud movement, visit namb.net/loveloud.
Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).