Kay Warren on the Churches' Role in Helping the Poor
Kay Warren is an evangelical leader, author, AIDS activist, and co-founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with her husband, Rick, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with just a single family to fill the pews. Today it has 120-acre campus, 22,000 weekly attendees, and has provided spiritual guidance and source material to over 400,000 ministers worldwide.
In 2002, Warren became "seriously disturbed" by the scope of the AIDS epidemic; she has since set up an AIDS ministry at Saddleback and spoken out about the disease around the world. Warren is the co-founder and co-director (with her husband) of The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.
Warren has spoken to the United Nations Global Coalition on Women and AIDS. In 2006, Warren was among eight women honored for their humanitarian efforts at the CNN Inspire Summit. Warren is the author of Foundations Participant's Guide and Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God.
Question: Does the government have a responsibility to the poor?
Warren: Absolutely. But even more than the government, I believe it’s the church’s role. I believe it’s the faith community. I think unfortunately we’ve given away a lot of the things that the church has historically was – and Rick I’m sure will talk about the same thing – but we both really are convinced that throughout history, it’s been the church that was the place that the poor went to; was the place that the sick . . . You know that’s what the church did. And somehow we’ve gotten a little off kilter and given that back to the government so that if . . . Too often if people would come to churches and they might say, “I’m hungry.” Somebody might say, “Go ask for food stamps.” You know, “Go ask the government and they’ll give you food stamps.” Or if somebody is sick, “Well go to the county hospital and they’ll take care of you.” And we’ve pushed away the sick and the poor as opposed to bringing them in, embracing and welcoming them, and saying, “You’re our problem. You are not the government’s problem. You are our problem.” So I do believe the government has a responsibility, but I really believe it’s the church who has an even greater responsibility. And we need to step back up to the plate and take that responsibility back.
Recorded on: 12/11/07
Rick Warren's wife says churches not governments should help poor people.
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