“Employment builds hope, produces dignity, and creates a sustainable solution to poverty.” -Peter Greer, Created to Flourish
Human flourishing is linked to meaningful work, but in a world plagued by poverty, barriers to work are common and complex. Hope International President Peter Greer is hopeful that the church today is heading in the right direction to help alleviate global poverty through employment-based solutions.
“There has been a change of mindset. 10 years ago, there might have been more questions from a mission’s committee about ‘what do you mean a job or entrepreneurship as part of missions? Aren’t we just supposed to give everything away?’ That conversation has changed in many churches, and there’s a growing recognition that helping individuals have a job is part of loving our neighbors.”
There are practical ways the church can help alleviate poverty by equipping and mobilizing communities with the gift of work. Peter says to get started we need to be asking ourselves important questions that get to the heart of poverty alleviation.
“Is this about us going in and doing for others what they are very capable of doing for themselves? Is it possible that even the language that we use reinforces the problems? Are we honoring and showing individuals that they are loved; that there is dignity?”
After we come to a greater understanding of our purpose out on the mission field, Peter says the second piece is getting involved locally.
“All around us, there are opportunities to go and serve and equip individuals. Organizations like The Chalmers Center or Jobs for Life are wonderful organizations serving locally and trying to change this paradigm from a model of aid, to a model that says, let’s help individuals grow in their relationship with God, and let’s help them be prepared for meaningful work.”
Peter Greer is president and CEO of HOPE International, a global, Christ-centered microfinance organization serving throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Internationally, Peter served as a microfinance adviser in Cambodia, technical adviser for Self-Help Development Foundation in Zimbabwe and managing director for Urwego in Rwanda.How employment can alleviate poverty