PART 2 ~ “The Best Welfare Program is a Job” Dr. John M. Perkins

In yesterday’s post, “The Best Welfare Program is a Job”  Dr. John M. Perkins, I started processing one of the workshops, Helping Those You Serve Find and Keep Meaningful Employment, conducted by Jobs For Life (  I’m going to continue that thought into today.  In chapter 3 of Congregations in America, they took a look at “percentage of congregations participating in or supporting various social services programs”.  Here are just a few of the results (found on page 48):

Service % Participating
Food 32
Housing 18
Clothing 11
Homeless 8
Health 4
Substance Abuse 2
Employment 1

This means that at the time of this research, 32% of church congregations were involved in a Food Ministry, like a food pantry, 18% were involved in housing, and so forth, leaving a small 1% who found or created employment opportunities.  Imagine….what would it be like if at least 33% focused on Employment or Job Skills Training?  More people would have and keep their jobs, right???  If more people have jobs, then, the church would need to provide less food, housing, clothing, etc. because people would be able to provide more of their own basic needs.  In addition, dignity and self esteem would also be returned to the home.  How cool is that???

This is yet another reason why we want to provide job skills training and job opportunities to people.  How can you participate?  You can help with training, mentoring, encouraging, etc.  But, we also need job opps for folks.  Do you or someone you know have opportunities to hire some of the graduates? Would you like to help find jobs for our students?

If you know someone who might be interested, please forward this to them.

If you are interested in participating after prayerful consideration, please feel free to contact me! 

“The Best Welfare Program is a Job” Dr. John M. Perkins

Louis and I just returned from a 3 week trip.  After spending about 2.5 weeks in Oregon/Washington, we stopped in Indianapolis, IN for the Christian Community Development Association ( National Conference.  We took a way a ton from the 4 days we were there; and it’s going to take us a while to unpack it all.  However, there is one group of stats that really stuck with me, from the workshop titled by Helping Those You Serve Find and Keep Meaningful Employment, conducted by Jobs For Life (  I attended this workshop, because we are in the process of implementing their program, Powered for Life in the near future….but, more to come on that later…on with the startling stats.

Here are just a few stats…

  • Poverty – 1 out of 7 people live in poverty in the US (46 million).  1 out of 5 children live in poverty (US Census).  Most people are poor in the United States because they either do not work or work too few hours to move themselves and their children out of poverty (Brookings Institute)
  • Domestic Violence – An extensive report by the National Institute of Justice found that the rate of violence against women increases as the male unemployment increases.
  • Divorce – Financial stress and pressure not only impacts businesses but is often the leading reason couples file for divorce according to the Institute for Family Studies.

If you don’t see a need for job and life skills training from the stats above, let me share these.  The presenters  then provided the following summary from the research study called Meaningful Differences.  I hadn’t heard of it before, but found a ton of info by googling it.





Avg cumulative # of words heard by the age of 3 30 million 13 million
“Business” talk (correction, direction, instruction) 10 million 10 million
Other (including supportive, encouragement, affirmations) 20 million 3 million
RESULT I am valuable. I am worthless.

The study has many more details…but after reading up on it, I found these quite meaningful indeed.  Children hear a lot more words if they come from a family where someone is working, and they aren’t on welfare.  In addition, the types of words spoken significantly impact the child’s future.  Both groups receive the same number of directive/business/’get ‘er done words.  In poverty/welfare homes, only 23% of the words spoken are supportive, encouraging and affirming.  In what was labeled Professional homes, 67% of the words are positive in nature.  Yowza!

The end result becomes…the child grows up thinking they are either valuable or worthless.  The child (1 out of 5 children) grows up to think, ‘I am worthless’, ‘I am good for nothing’, ‘I do nothing right’, etc.

What can be done? How can we change this? What role does the church play in this? We can’t count on the teachers to make up for the loss of language skills and emotional psyche. How can we speak words of joy and hope into this?  Words that speak…’You were created in God’s Image’, ‘You are unique’, ‘You are valuable’, and ‘You were created to work’ (Genesis 1:27-28) and….it was VERY good! (Genesis 1:31)

Dr. John Perkins said “the best welfare program is a job” during one of our morning Bible studies.  This too has stuck with me.  This is where Jobs for Life comes in.  Thanks to a grant from Wells Fargo, we purchased the biblically based program, Powered for Life a couple of months ago.  At the request of some community friends, Louis and I, along with our friends, are preparing to train, prepare and equip young people to find and maintain a job.  We will be looking for people to help!  People who are willing to speak life, encouragement, and truth into the lives of the youth of our city. People who are willing to employ them. People who will train and instruct them. So…stay tuned….more to come!  Organizational meetings will be coming soon.

If you are interested in participating after prayerful consideration, please feel free to contact me! 

CCDA Institute presents: Church-Based Community Development Intensive

CCDA Institute is coming to Richmond!  Noel Castellanos, CEO of CCDA is coming to discuss Church-Based Community Development.  See the attached flyer for details.  If you want to print the flyer, click here:  CCDA Church Based Flyer – 10.29.2011.

Be sure to register early!!!  Click here to register > REGISTER HERE!

Back-to-School Prayer Service – Hope You Can Come!

Northside Back to School Community Day






What a crazy couple of months…

So, I bit off more than I could chew!  I have every intention of picking back up on the Neighbor series, but it’s just going to take me a little longer.  If you are interested in reading the first 8-9 posts, you can find the series here:  Neighbor.  In our family, we have had 7 surgeries in the last 2 months, including 4 for Louis and 1 for me.  In addition, Louis and I had 3 funerals in about 8 days. Another friend in the hospital, gracefully living the last days of her life (I HATE CANCER!!!) and another friend who continues the diabetes battle.  Sometimes, we just gotta stop everything else…and love on our family and friends…and ourselves.  That’s where we are right now. God’s got it…I know He does.  So, the blog is on the back burner right now, while I focus on what’s really important to me…my family and friends.

Many of my neighborhood kids have moved…so Kid’s Missional Community has been placed on hold until I get back in the community more.  Although our Thursday night Missional Community gathering is still happening…every week at 6pm.  We haven’t stopped that.  No way!  🙂 I love them…with all my heart!  Can’t imagine life without them!

Will be back soon!  Promise.

Neighbor 8: Someone Who Is Unable to Ask for Help

Chapter 8 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Unable to Ask for Help”.

You know, it seems like I have addressed this in previous posts…those unable to ask are hurting, need help, cannot help themselves, appear on my path, have been robbed, half dead and naked.  Any and all of these friends may not be able to ask for the help.  So, I am kinda stuck here on who to cover in this post.  So, it will be short.  Isaiah, the prophet, said these words in Isaiah 55:8-11 (NLT).

8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

I’m going to let the Word speak for itself with no explanations. My thoughts are not His thoughts.  He wants sooo much more for us than we can possibly imagine.  Gordon offers us scripture that tells what we are to do…so let this Word not return void.  Let this scripture speak to you.  Meditate on it.  Ask the Lord…What do you want to tell me through this scripture?  What, specifically, are You calling me to do? Show me what that looks like.  Then, go and do.  Let’s do the Bible together.

Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)

8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.

Thanks God for giving us your Word to instruct, rebuke, correct and train us so that we may be fully equipped to do your work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)  I pray that through Proverbs 31:8-9 that you will speak to all who read it.  Allow this scripture to prick our hearts into action.  Teach us oh Lord how we can speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.  Use us to seek justice here on earth….so that your kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of our Savior I pray, Amen.


This is the 8th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?.  I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here:  Neighbor 1: Hurting.  

Neighbor 7: Someone Who Is Naked

Chapter 7 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Is Naked”.   Curious question…Do you say nay’ked? or neck’ed? Regardless…naked can mean nude, bare, unadorned, unarmed, exposed, unprotected, uncovered, stripped…to name a few.  Of course, the first thing we think of is undressed!  Now, depending on the situation, the naked/undressed person may be in need of a neighbor. Someone who lost their clothing while skinny dipping, perhaps. Or a woman who got caught in a rainstorm and is now in a see-through or clinging t-shirt or dress.  Because of illness, someone who doesn’t even know they don’t have clothes on or are uncovered. We need to be their loving neighbor and find them cover.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were ‘outed’? People found out something about you that you didn’t want them to know.  Or you were transparent one time and shared a private moment with a ‘friend’ who then used it against you, ridiculed you, told others, etc.  That is a very embarrassing and vulnerable, sometimes devastating moment…and you really need a friend and neighbor at that time. We need to cover you at that time. We shouldn’t get caught up in the hatin’, gossip and talk.  Instead, what if WE were the one who befriended you instead?

But, I also think of the defenseless – those who can’t help themselves.  Our God has given our friend, Sara Pomeroy, a heart for people involved in Human Trafficking.  Through Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI), Sara and her team are being great neighbors to victims of human trafficking.  In addition, they are also providing an opportunity for others to be neighborly as well through their training and volunteer programs.

RJI is a grassroots faith based organization of modern day abolitionists committed to ending modern day slavery, commonly referred to as human trafficking.

Our approach in order to eradicate this issue is to combat this crime on all fronts, through pursuing awareness, education, prevention, advocacy, aftercare and prayer.

Gordon summarizes this chapter writing…

There are a lot of naked people in our lives. They may not be without clothes, but they have in some way been stripped of their dignity, stripped of who they are as human beings, and limited in some way from being all they ought to be and can be.  They need someone to come alongside who simply will not allow them to feel embarrassed, but who intead will affirm their dignity and provided the same kind of tender, loving care offered tot he man who, many years ago, went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.

Thank you Lord for providing neighbors and friends who can come alongside us when we are feeling exposed and vulnerable.  Forgive us of times where we may have harmed another intentionally or unintentionally. Give us the strength to stand up for those who physically or emotionally stripped of their dignity and pride. Teach us how to love like the Good Samaritan and raise us up to be the defenders of those who are naked.  In the name of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.


This is the 7th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?.  I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here:  Neighbor 1: Hurting.  

Neighbor: Feedback and Stories Request

Hey, I’ve been writing on the Neighbor Series for almost a week now and would love to get some feedback.  Please send your stories to me about how this series may have touched you or encouraged you to look at the verse… “Love your neighbor as yourself” a little differently than before.

Thanks for sharing.  Now that I am 15% through the posts, I hope to collect some of your testimonies to share with and encourage others without specific names or details.

6 down….34 days/chapters to go!  Thanks for joining me for the journey!  I really appreciate it.

If you aren’t aware of the series, take a look at who’s ur neighbor? Then, pick up with the first post at Neighbor 1: Hurting and simply read 1 a day.  It’s that simple!

May God bless you and stretch you as you read this series.

Peace, Marti

Neighbor 6: Someone Who Is Half Dead

Chapter 6 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Is Half Dead”.  Wow! I guess not many of us have encountered someone who is half dead.  Louis and I have.  On our 4th date (3 1/2 years ago), Frank got shot 9 times outside our back door. By the time the paramedics arrived, he had no pulse and was only breathing once or twice a minute.  He was left for dead, but God had another plan for him.  Because Louis and I were home to respond with prayer and first aid.  he survived.  So, Frank was our neighbor that night. As time went by, Frank and his family became more than neighbors or friends, but they are family. We love them like they are our own. It’s been a real blessing for us to know Frank, Vicky, the girls and Geraldine.

But, like yesterday’s post, Neighbor 5: Someone Who Has Been Robbed,  people can also be half dead emotionally.  They may not be able to experience the full life that God intended them to have. Life full of joy unspeakable and full of glory.  God can use us to help breathe life into another person with our words of encouragement and love.  Sometimes life is just hard…and it stinks. We need to learn how to just be be there with and for our friends when they are troubled emotionally and spiritually without judgement.  Be there in love…and love alone.

Lastly, we need to be there with people who are half dead spiritually because they continue to wallow in their sin.  Gordon writes…

Ephesians 2:5 tells us that God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions –it is by grace you have been saved.”  We need to resuscitate people in the our communities who are half dead and who don’t know Jesus Christ.  For truly they are our neighbors.

Lord, thanks for using us as your hands and feet on Earth. You don’t need us, but you choose to use us to shine your glory. Forgive us for the times we are not paying attention, too busy or too selfish to notice who’s barely breathing around us. Open our eyes to see people around us who are walking around half dead emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Teach us how to love them like you love us…with patience, kindness, full of hope, and unconditionally.  In your name we pray.  Amen.


This is the 6th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?.  I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here:  Neighbor 1: Hurting.