Engaging in Ministry with the Poor
Christ calls us to be in ministry with the poor and marginalized. Our emphasis is on “with” – standing with those who are regarded as “the least of these,” listening to them, understanding their needs and aspirations, and working with them to achieve their goals. It also means addressing the causes of poverty and responding in ways that lift up individuals and communities. United Methodists believe that working side by side with those striving to improve their situation is more efficient in the long term than top-down charity.
Most of the local churches in the Nordic and Baltic countries are involved in some kind of diaconal ministry in their community. Soup kitchens, food banks, after school programmes, ministry with homeless and marginalized people, support in relation to social services, community enhancement programmes and much more. Churches are helping people with addictions and working with people recovering from addictions. Churches work with at-risk children. Churches reach out to the migrant communities, offer language and culture classes, offer hospitality and create networks.
Furthermore, we engage in ministry with poor communities in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Kenya, India, Russia and Cambodia. The mission boards in the Nordic and Baltic countries engage in projects like building and equipping schools, facilities for teachers, bridges, power supply, storage houses, cassava mills, farming and microfinance.
Inspired by our Social Principles, an important part of ministry with the poor is engaging in advocacy work making the voice of the church known on political issues like national development aid, laws on migration, war, equal rights for all people and the environment.