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“What is poverty? Because how we diagnose the problem determines the solutions that we use to alleviate the problem. This is the issue. Most North Americans think of poverty as a lack of material things.” – Brian Fikkert

What is poverty?  How we answer this question will determine how we try to solve it.  A materialistic definition of poverty leads to money being the solution.  A relational understanding of poverty causes us to realize that the root cause of poverty is from broken relationship with God, self, others, and the rest of creation.  This type of poverty cannot be solved in a week and affects “us” just as much as it affects “them”.  Within this framework, the role of short-term trips will be to learn and to partner with the indigenous church.  Our role will then be less visible or even invisible.


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  • GERT says:

    I agree, poverty starts in the heart, and influence the rest of the world that we live in. If there is poverty in the heart, it could also create poverty in the material world. We need to create rich hearts in order to destroy poverty in mind and physical world.

    • ITEC Team says:

      Thanks for your response Gert. Often we see the poverty of the heart and spirit manifest in broken families, financial issues, problems at work, etc… These are the symptoms of something deeper going on. These are often opportunities to meet needs practically that build bridges for the sake of the Gospel.

      ITEC Team

  • seby says:

    I very much appreciate this video. Although I don’t have much experience with overseas missions, I have experienced the truth of the need to base ministry on relationships–listening, learning, walking alongside, etc. Even in our own lives, I think most of us would agree that we don’t like other people making our personal problems their “project” in order to “fix” us. It feels demeaning. Respectful ministry empowers others through love and understanding. It brings healing to both people in the relationship.

    • Jim Tingler says:


      Thanks for the response. You are absolutely right. No matter the country or culture it is important to base ministry on relationships and respect.