Kingdom Building in the Slums

Fresh out of seminary armed with a vision and a heart for souls you hit the ground running in the community to which you are called. Hopefully, you build a pretty solid foundation over several years and before you know it, your church plant is growing.

Chances are, that’s your dream. No fault in dreaming. I’m sure many, if not most, church planters have had a similar dream at some point. It’s easy to dream that way. And that’s certainly reality for a few. 

There’s a segment of ministers, however, who dream differently.

This segment of planters and/or pastors long to reach the lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor. In other words, the least likely for astronomical growth and self-support segment.

I have some experience in this area. I serve in a church that my dad planted almost 20 years ago in what would be considered a bad part of town.

Our church is in that part of town where you catch someone breaking into a parishioners vehicle during a worship service. It’s also that part of town where families turn up in droves to receive food assistance four times a week.

We’re still there–offering emergency assistance and attempting to meet the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional needs in one area of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s inner-city.

There are ministries who are attempting to offer the same kind of aid in more desperate parts of the world.

Living Bread Ministries is one such group. Living Bread’s mission is to plant missional churches among the global poor and equip them to care for their communities.

Specifically, Living Bread reaches out to the favelas or shanty towns of Brazil.

Ever heard of Brazilian shanty towns? The best favela in Brazil would make Chattanooga, Tennessee’s worst housing project look like Beverly Hills. Take our most crime-ridden housing project and subtract running water, electricity, police presence, and basic building structure.

According to LBM’s founder and president G. Patrick Hubbard, there is no organized vision to plant churches among the very poor. But, he continues on his blog, “there should be.”

Rather than focus on what the global church isn’t doing, however, let’s focus on what Hubbard and Living Bread are doing.

Since 2004, LBM has planted eight missional churches among the urban poor in the least evangelized region of Brazil. According to its official website, however, one of LBM’s goals is to spark a global movement for church planting among the poor and needy.

In other words, Hubbard and Living Bread are all about advancing the Kingdom of God in the farthest reaches of the earth.

There was someone in the Bible who had a similar purpose. His name was Jesus.

In one of the premier Messianic prophecies, Isaiah penned the words:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.“

In the book of Luke, Jesus took the pulpit of the local synagogue and read that very scripture to the religious crowd. The crowd promptly ran him out of town and would have killed him then and there had God’s plan allowed.

While the crowd was ticked at Jesus’ assertion that He was the fulfillment of that prophecy, outreach to the poor has never been popular among the overly religious.

True Kingdom building is an uphill battle and Living Bread is building the Kingdom in some of the least evangelized and most desperate parts of our world.

That’s God’s dream.

Visit livingbread.org. Look at, pray for, and consider supporting the work that Patrick and Barbara Hubbard are doing among the desperately poor. 

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