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101 Ideas for Ministry to the Poor

Developed by Diana Lewis of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

Pray and Remember

  1. Pray, first of all, for God to show you any attitudes about the poor that need adjusting.
  2. Pray for the poor of the world.
  3. Pray for the poor of the United States.
  4. Pray for the poor near you- yes, it’s here, too. Find out how many low income people are in your area.
  5. Billy Graham said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayer for which no one ever bothered to ask.” Pray for God to bring people out of poverty.
  6. Remembering the quote from #5, pray for God to open the heart of your church to the poor.
  7. Remember God’s grace that was extended to you when you work with those in need.
  8. Remember when you see someone in need how great the Father’s love is for them.
  9. Remember to see the potential for a new creation in every person you see.
  10. Prayerwalk a needy area of your town/county. Don’t know where to go? Call your local Department of Human Services office and they can tell you where the poorest areas are.

Look and Impact Your Area

  1. Look at your community with fresh eyes. Where are the needs? What do you see, hear, smell, touch?
  2. Invite the Missions Ministries Team to help your church do a community needs assessment to really look at some of the greatest needs in your area.
  3. Give out Bibles in your area through all kinds of businesses and organizations.
  4. Sponsor a yard sale, with the proceeds going to a poverty ministry.

Examine Your Church’s Present Resources

  1. Think about the vehicles your church has: Could they be used to help transport needy people to appointments, interviews, outings and to church?
  2. Think about the senior adult or youth trips that your church takes. Could a free scholarship be offered to an unchurched needy senior or youth each time?
  3. Think of your kids’ summer camp outings. Could a needy kid or two get to go every summer with your kids? Think of the impact on their life.
  4. Think of all your regular weekly activities for children and youth. Could you bring in unchurched kids for choir, mission activities, other special activities?
  5. Does your church have Mother’s Day Out? Is there a way a scholarship could be provided occasionally for a low income mother to have a day off?
  6. Does your church serve a Wednesday night meal? Are there needy people that could be brought in to that and then they also will experience Bible study and fellowship with believers? Could your leftovers after a meal be sent to a shelter or other ministry?
  7. Does your church have parents’ night out or parenting seminars? Invite the community to come to these.

Get Out Into the Community

  1. Do a door to door survey. Find out about people in a needy part of town- a mobile home park, or other low income area.
  2. Survey and ask “What are some of the needs of people in this neighborhood?” Value their comments. They know the area better than we do.
  3. Go door to door and simply ask, “How can we pray for you or your family?” This will open doors of opportunity for your church.
  4. Offer to pick people up for church and take them home.
  5. Sponsor a block party in a needy part of town. Get to know the people and let them get to know your church.

Hunger Ministries

  1. Read up about hunger in the United States and then look around for it where you live.
  2. Learn about the Southern Baptist Global Hunger Fund. Get your church involved in observing Global Hunger Sunday every year.
  3. Host a carnival, meal, or gather change for world hunger.
  4. Check with your school and see if it has the Food 4 Kids program offered by Rice Depot. If not, call Rice Depot 501.565.8855 and find out what is involved in getting this free service into your schools that helps send food home with needy kids in backpacks.
  5. Collect food items that are needed most for an existing food pantry.
  6. Volunteer to go help sort and bag food for them.
  7. Ask your pastor or church staff if you could fix little bags of non perishable, easy to open food for them to keep on hand in the church office (peanut butter crackers, pop top fruit cans, juice boxes, peanuts, oatmeal cookies, other items that don’t have to be cooked).
  8. 3Buy fast food gift certificates to give out to people you see who need a meal.
  9. Start a pantry in your church.
  10. Fix sack lunches for needy kids in the summer or senior adults for the weekend.
  11. Deliver meals on wheels to seniors. Churches can go in together and divide up the days.
  12. Serve a hot meal once a week for the needy in your town.

Housing and Other Home Ministries

  1. Join Habitat for Humanity and help build houses for needy families.
  2. Volunteer to paint the home of a needy person (call DHS or a home health agency for a name).
  3. Do yard work: rake leaves, trim limbs, clean up yard of a needy person.
  4. Mow the grass for a needy person who is elderly or disabled.
  5. Build a ramp for a needy person.
  6. Teach basic home repairs (fixing a leaky faucet, a toilet, a roof leak, etc.)
  7. Volunteer to clean house for someone.

Children’s Ministries

  1. Provide funds so a needy kid can go on a school outing.
  2. Provide self esteem programs for children.
  3. Teach goal setting.
  4. Provide a place for kids and youth to play basketball or soccer in a low income area.
  5. Build a park or prayer garden in a low income area.
  6. Get permission from the school to eat lunch with kids who don’t have a parent ever come.
  7. Be a volunteer babysitter for a teen mom finishing school.
  8. Donate infant and children’s car seats to those who can’t afford to buy them.
  9. Donate band instruments to your school for low income kids.
  10. Host a party at your local Head Start center.
  11. Donate coats, gloves, lice shampoo and other needs to your local school.
  12. Offer a free scholarship so a needy kid can take art, music or gymnastics classes.
  13. Provide affordable, quality child care.
  14. Sponsor a wholesome, fun movie night for kids in an apartment complex outside.
  15. Be a big brother, big sister, a mentor for a kid.
  16. Provide after school activities for kids.

Employment Ministries

  1. Call Employment Security office or a Community Action Agency in your county and ask if they need business clothing, shoes, jewelry for women getting job training.
  2. Start a job search/help wanted matching service.
  3. Provide transportation for low income people to get to job appointments/interviews.
  4. Be a mentor to someone out of work.
  5. Start a Christian Women’s Job Corps and/or Christian Men’s Job Corps in your association.
  6. Provide classes on how to get a job and keep a job.
  7. Teach life skills and goal setting to adults who need a job.

Senior Adults

  1. Involve your children and youth in sending cards to nursing home residents.
  2. Get floral shops to give you flowers they are getting rid of & deliver to home bound seniors or nursing home residents.
  3. Call your local home health agency and find out who needs a visit that never has company?
  4. Fix an extra meal for seniors who live alone and deliver it for the weekend.
  5. Find a way to help seniors buy part of their medicines. Any little bit helps.
  6. Help seniors change light bulbs, take down their curtains to wash, etc.
  7. Make a phone call to an unchurched senior every week.
  8. Donate fans for the summer heat for needy seniors.
  9. Build a ramp/rail for a senior.
  10. Help them write letters, write out bills.

Homeless Ministries

  1. Call your local homeless shelters, domestic abuse shelters and find out what kinds of programs they could use.
  2. Call and find out what they need donated: washcloths, shower caps, shampoo, underwear, whatever their greatest need might be.

Literacy Missions

  1. Start an English as a 2nd Language ministry. Call your state Baptist office and find out how to have a training session for your church.
  2. Get trained in Adult Reading and Writing ministry. Call your state Baptist office and find out how to get trained.
  3. Start an after school Tutoring Children & Youth ministry. Call your state Baptist office and find out how to have a training session for your area.
  4. Gather school supplies, prizes, flashcards, learning games for a tutoring ministry.

Health Care Ministries

  1. Provide free health screenings at your local church.
  2. Start a free medical/dental clinic with the churches of your area.
  3. Donate used medical equipment (walkers, wheelchairs, shower chairs, etc.).
  4. Donate old reading glasses to an organization that works with low income people.

Migrant Ministries

  1. Take bottles of water out to the fields where migrants are working.
  2. Have a “Cottonpatch” VBS for the migrant children out by the fields where parents are working.
  3. Donate gloves, warm shirts in the winter.

Other Ministries

  1. Offer free haircuts.
  2. Offer parenting training.
  3. Fix the cars, do oil changes for needy people.
  4. Donate furniture.
  5. Sew unusual sizes of clothing for clothing ministries.
  6. Donate your good used shoes and clothing.
  7. Donate maternity clothes and baby items to a local Pregnancy Care Center.
  8. Go on a Mississippi River Ministry mission trip nearby.
  9. GO!