Build relationships with the poor, Baylor professor urges

November 7, 2017
Gaynor

WACO—Try to talk with Gaynor Yancey about needs and deficits, and before long, she will steer the conversation toward a discussion of assets and opportunities.

Ask her to conduct a community assessment, and where others see overgrown vacant lots, she sees available space churches can use to plant community gardens or develop neighborhood parks.

So, when confronted with a state where one child in four lives in a household that struggles to avoid hunger, rather than become overwhelmed by the need, Yancey grows energized by the possibilities.

“Historically, the church has always cared about hunger,” said Yancey, professor in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University and director of the Center for Family and Community Ministries.

Most Christians recognize they have a responsibility to feed the hungry, she noted. The challenge rests in helping congregations move from doing ministry for the poor to ministering alongside the poor, she added.

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