Free teaching materials for pastors

A pastor approached our booth at The Justice Conference. He asked me about Food for the Hungry—what we do, and how we think about poverty.

I shared that we believe that poverty is caused by broken relationships. And so we work through relationships, walking with communities to end poverty.

“Our church believes that too,” the pastor said. “We just went through a four-week study on it called Poverty Unlocked.”

I had to smile. “Really?” I exclaimed. “I wrote that curriculum!”

The pastor hadn’t realized that Poverty Unlocked was affiliated with Food for the Hungry. That’s because it’s a curriculum that we provide free of charge, focused on the Bible’s teachings on poverty, through a free download.

The local class that went viral

When I first wrote Poverty Unlocked, I thought it would be just for my own church. Our missions pastor, Mike, had perked up when he had heard that I was interested in teaching about the biblical response to poverty. He asked if I would take a crack at teaching a month-long class on a weeknight.

Needless to say, God had other plans. Soon other churches were asking to use the curriculum. We placed it online as a free download. Today, hundreds of churches have used Poverty Unlocked, with many thousands of people discovering the message.

Four weeks of discovery

The course takes audiences through God’s heart for the poor, the narrative of Scripture in regard to poverty, and best practices in world missions. It’s full of fun, memorable activities that engage participants in the theology of poverty.

Each week has a focus that contributes to the participants’ understanding of God’s work among the vulnerable—and their place in His response.

Week 1: From Paradise to Poverty: How God’s World Got this Way

Week 2: Roots of Poverty

Week 3: Sustainability: Change that Lasts

Week 4: Walking Like Christ

Handouts are provided for each session, and the writing is straightforward so that anyone can teach it.

Here's a banner from Poverty Unlocked at my local church, ROCKHARBOR, back in 2010.

And now, you’re invited

It has been exciting for me to see the way that Poverty Unlocked has taken off. Every day, pastors, church leaders, and small group leaders are downloading these teaching materials to use in churches across North America and all over the world. I hear from many of them who write to me sharing how their churches have responded. Many teach small groups or Sunday School classes. Some pastors use the stories and concepts as sermon outlines on poverty. Trip leaders use the course as their team training for mission trips.

If you haven’t checked out the four-week class yet, this is your invitation! Visit the Poverty Unlocked website and start your free download.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I am still teaching the Poverty Unlocked course regularly at my own church! (If you live in Southern California, contact me. I’d be delighted to have you join the next class. )

About Wendy McMahan

Wendy McMahan is grateful for her front row seat in watching God “reconcile all things to Himself.” (Colossians 1:20) She still can’t believe that she gets to participate in His story every day. Wendy and her husband are proud parents to two daughters and have been foster parents to children of all ages. Wendy serves as Director of Church Engagement at Food for the Hungry. She hosts the Poverty Unlocked podcast.

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