A new report in the LA Times shares an eye-opening statistic on poverty growth in US suburbs.  The number of people living below the poverty line in the suburbs has jumped 67% since 2000.

That is a staggering statistic.  Financial stability in the USA is a critical issue.  Education, healthy marriages and families, health care, and many more important areas are effected by people’s ability to earn a living and budget appropriately.   We know there is a direct connection between divorce rates and financial struggles in families.  If financial challenges are growing in our area, then we can anticipate marriage struggles to follow.  This is just one example of how growing poverty has the potential to erode the quality of life in our communities.

Organizations in our area, like Christian Community Service of North Reading, have seen a dramatic increase in people in need of the services of a food bank in recent years.  Unfortunately as we see poverty increase in the suburbs we realize that most suburban areas are not equipped to assist those in need.

Enter Messiah Lutheran Church.  Our congregation is dedicated to a mission of caring for those in need regardless of how they got into that need in the first place.  We help first, and ask questions later.  Regardless of how you got to the point of being in need, we are willing to help you get through this difficult time.

We do seek to assist people going through difficult times in ways that encourage personal growth.  In other words, we’re not trying to develop a system of aid that keeps people in need, but rather would like to help people develop the capacity to improve their lives to the point that they are capable of growing beyond their current needs.

To do this we support organizations that not only give out food, but also provide opportunities for education and growth.  We also provide learning opportunities ourselves.  One of our most successful educational endeavors related to personal finances has been the video course from Dave Ramsey called, “Financial Peace University.”  This 9 week program offers a biblical look at money that encourages people to get out of debt and save for big purchases through a simple budgeting strategy.  Baby steps taken one at a time in succession can move an entire family from the brink of bankruptcy and divorce to financial stability and a cooperative/loving home.

As financial challenges continue to eat away at our communities the Church has to prepare for ways to step forward to assist people in need.  Messiah Lutheran Church is on the cutting edge of helping in the suburbs North of Boston.  Please contact us if you or someone you know is in need.  We would love to share our love for Jesus in ways that really bring Good News to people in need today.

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