Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

This Week with Henri Nouwen – Focusing on the Poor

“Like every human organization the Church is constantly in danger of corruption. As soon as power and wealth come to the Church, manipulation, exploitation, misuse of influence, and outright corruption are not far away.

How do we prevent corruption in the Church? The answer is clear: by focusing on the poor. The poor make the Church faithful to its vocation. When the Church is no longer a church for the poor, it loses its spiritual identity. It gets caught up in disagreements, jealousy, power games, and pettiness. Paul says, “God has composed the body so that greater dignity is given to the parts which were without it, and so that there may not be disagreements inside the body but each part may be equally concerned for all the others” (1 Corinthians 12:24-25). This is the true vision. The poor are given to the Church so that the Church as the body of Christ can be and remain a place of mutual concern, love, and peace.” – Henri Nouwen

3 Responses to This Week with Henri Nouwen – Focusing on the Poor

  1. brent says:

    Thanks for the excellent quote! Which book of Nouwens did you find it in?

  2. jrwoodward says:


    Glad you found the quote thoughtful, or excellent as you say. It is in Bread for the Journey – page 318.

  3. Thank you for a moving and helpful insight — I notice that the acid test of the earliest Church was not established by dogmatic checkboxes, but “turning the world upside down” and the quality of relationship that produced this effect. So the Church can’t be entirely self-referential / self-validating…

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