Churches often are perceived as open, welcoming environments. Many times, that's what they are. But congregations, without even realizing it, sometimes make themselves inhospitable to impoverished people.
Many church folks genuinely want to be available to those in their communities who are experiencing poverty. However, churches and synagogues are often operated with a middle-class mentality. This middle-class mode of thought makes it difficult for those from poverty to assimilate into the congregation. In this new book, Payne, a national expert on poverty, and Ehlig, an ordained minister, use stories to help illustrate the way people from poverty view middle-class churches. They then provide solutions and tactics to teach church members and leaders some of the special considerations that can be afforded the disadvantaged. One recommendation, for example, is that congregations reach out to the poverty-stricken in a way that shows mutual respect and not a sense of charity.