25 ways to engage relationally with those in poverty

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Last thursday we discussed how to make poverty personal and the concept of moving from transactional serving to relational engagement.

We truly believe that relationships are key to engaging poverty. In order to engage poverty, as Christians we need to learn to love the poor, meet them, build societies that include them, and help them obtain justice. We want to help you and your churches find ways to practically engage with poverty on a relational level.

We have found that it is often helpful to have practical ideas to start engaging with the people around us. This may include neighborhoods or apartment buildings near our churches. You may already be connected to services within the city that may allow you to engage on a relational level. Most of the things on this list are normal, everyday things that many people are already doing. The hope is that we would do these things with relational intentionality. 


Below is a list of 25 practical ways to engage. Not all of these are for everyone, but hopefully there will be several ideas on the list that God uses to help you engage your neighbors:

  1. Become a regular somewhere
  2. Start a weekly open meal night in your home/ or church
  3. Host a coffee and dessert night
  4. Grow a garden and give out extra produce to neighbors
  5. Organize and host a ladies craft night
  6. Do a summer BBQ every Friday night and invite others to contribute
  7. Organize an effort for neighbors to help take care of elderly in neighborhood
  8. Become a regular at your neighborhood pool/park
  9. Host a life skills class (cooking, budgeting, laundry, etc).
  10. Prayer walk and talk to people you come across
  11. Cook out at your local park and invite the people there to eat with you
  12. Consider moving/ re-locating into a specific neighborhood. 
  13. Host an outdoor movie night 
  14. Do you laundry at a laundromat each week at the same place and time. Find ways to engage with others their.
  15. Start a walking/running group in the neighborhood
  16. Start hosting a weekly play date at a park or community center 
  17. Organize a carpool for your neighborhood or apartment complex 
  18. Ask your HOA or apartment complex if they need help with anything
  19. Host a regular Saturday morning breakfast potluck
  20. Cook an extra meal and give it to a neighbor
  21. Start a children's storytelling group at your local community center or park
  22. Organize a kids fun day at your city park
  23. Host a neighborhood block party 
  24. Invite those without nearby family over for a holiday meals and celebrations
  25. Learn and remember names