I am curious if anyone has experience providing individuals in financial trouble with interest-free loans as a ministry of benevolence. If so, could you share what you have learned from doing this? Are there legal issues I'm unaware of?
According to Karl Barth, "Deacons cannot be expected to meet all the material needs of society, but they should be permitted to look deeper into the roots of the social issues causing those needs." This and other insights by Barth are shared with us by Dr. David Guretzki in this online article.
A strong diaconal assembly goes beyond the scope of "one at a time" mercy and benevolence ministry; together we address root causes and we conspire and act together to change the systems perpetuating poverty in our community.
The Central Union Mission in Washington, DC, exemplifies the holistic approach of faith-based organizations to alleviating poverty.