In today’s world, nearly 1 billion people are malnourished. Half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, and many of those people are city dwellers who must purchase the food they feed their families. As the global population grows and the earth’s resources begin to diminish, world hunger teeters on the brink of disaster. Jesus warned that in the last days there would be great famines and pestilence, but he also said that we are blessed if we feed the hungry. In his dissertation in Matthew 25 he told us that giving water to the thirsty and food to the hungry was criteria for separating “sheep from goats”; true believers from nonbelievers.
The i-61 churches are those that respond to the hungry worldwide by doing what they can to alleviate the issue. In today’s world we can no longer just give fish to someone who is hungry. We must also teach them how to fish for themselves. Not simply giving out bread, but when possible teaching and helping the hungry to grow the resources to make their own flour. Agriculture is on the forefront of the gospel if we heed the words of James, “if a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”(James 2:15-17)
The i-61 churches are those who participate locally through efforts such as food pantries, community garden projects, feeding the local homeless or partnering with organizations in their community that do.