What is the Under-Resourced Church?
If one part of the body suffers, then all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, then all the other parts share its honor. 1 Corinthians 11:26 ERV
Under-resourced churches are small, remote, or isolated, with limited access to Bibles or the help they need to understand God’s Word, to grow in their faith, and share the Gospel in their communities.
- They survive in the midst of extreme poverty and crime—hidden in the shadows of their cities, villages, and slums and beyond the reach of basic opportunities.
- Facing persecution from local governments and majority religions opposed to the Gospel, they are denied basic religious freedoms and often suffer injustices.
- They are so remote that they are ignored in their countries, and there are few if any churches nearby with believers to help and encourage their faith.
- Easily exploited and vulnerable—especially youth and children—because of their poverty or lack of opportunity, they often struggle with literacy, which traps them in poverty and without hope of reading and understanding God’s Word.
One striking example comes to mind. In India today it is becoming more and more dangerous to follow Jesus Christ due to the rise of religious extremism and poverty. Access to God’s Word is difficult, and the cost of a Bible exceeds a week’s wages for many, and those who confess their faith in Jesus experience persecution, violence, and marginalization—including forced reconversion to the majority religion accompanied by physical threats and economic retaliation. This is happening every day in thousands of remote villages—directed at people from a lower caste and especially against women and girls who are often denied the opportunity of basic education because of religious and cultural prejudice. Yet, even in the face of such threats, they put themselves in danger just so they can learn to read and write, and discover the promise of God’s Word as they do so.
As I have traveled to learn the needs of under-resourced churches, I have witnessed firsthand their struggles and the dramatic difference in their lives, their churches, and their communities when they receive the Bibles, biblical resources, and training they need. Equipped with God’s Word, they are eager evangelists—even in the midst of persecution and poverty.
When we think about believers who struggle yet thrive in under-resourced churches there is something important we should feel—we are the under-resourced Church. As God’s Word says, “If one part of the body suffers, then all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, then all the other parts share its honor.” Together, we struggle or thrive. Together, God is asking us to respond.
This mission to provide God’s Word to the under-resourced Church is clear and compelling—this is the right thing to do. With your help, those in need can receive training in evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and literacy to strengthen the broken, ignored, and forgotten. In Bible studies and person-to-person encounters, in the most remote places of the world and those living in the shadows of our largest cities, we can change the lives of our sisters and brothers in Christ. And when we do, our lives will be changed with theirs.
An under-resourced Church in Zambia, Africa
A newly planted church in Sri Lanka meets
A church in Peru, Latin America