The Texas Christian Community Development Network held its annual No Need Among You Conference on October 5-7, 2016, hosted by Cliff Temple Baptist Church in Dallas. There were 520 people in attendance at a conference that focuses on how to empower the poor and revitalize communities.
Dr. Larry Ashlock
Dr. Larry Ashlock is the Director of the Doctor of Ministries degree program at Carroll Institute and is the Founder and Executive Director of the Baptist Center for Global Concerns in Arlington, TX. He has years of experience in ethics and pastoral leadership that focus on educating, raising awareness, and involving people in global social justice concerns in order to enhance human dignity and encourage holistic peace. Dr. Ashlock led a workshop at the “No Need Among You” Conference entitled “Hungering for Change: Building and Sustaining a Table of Ministry for the Food Insecure.” This workshop provided key tools to design, implement, and evaluate a Biblically-based table of ministry to the food insecure.
Dr. Ashlock shared, “Many hunger-related ministries focus on food distribution for large numbers of people. The workshop equipped individuals, groups, organizations and churches to provide holistic and sustainable grass-roots ministry to the food insecure. The focus was a person-to-person method that centered around ministry at the Table. It was aimed toward bringing about a life change in both the one providing the food and those that receive it. Training included a ministry-tested, 360-degree model that focused on the whole person. A thorough how-to plan was presented that included Biblical-theological, moral, and practical ideas.” Dr. Ashlock and his team at the Baptist Center for Global Concerns are involved in a ministry called “Mary’s Table” that provides classes that help women learn how to prepare healthy meals for their families and encourages the women to go and do likewise for others who have needs. Friends of the Center provide a week’s supply of groceries and recipe books to the women who attend.
He explained the pressing ministry reality that
most community-focused ministers have volunteered in crisis centers and soup kitchens, chaired crisis center committees, responded to numerous food drives, and donated many Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas dinners, yet hunger and poverty remain. The countless faces of hunger are stamped on our minds and hearts because we often see them on a regular basis. We have all experienced this merry-go-round of despair—reach out for help, temporary relief, and eventual return. Too often, helping ministries fall short of truly helping the hungry (specifically food insecure) due to a lack of effective and efficient assessment.