The Heart of Poverty


An Overview



Course description The course will help you develop a basic understanding of poverty in the United States and this county. About 33,000 people live in poverty in Chester County, but the need is significantly greater than that. We will discuss what poverty is and what causes it, the impact of hopelessness and hope, what the Bible says about poverty, and dispel myths about the poor. We blend elements of the Bible, stories, testimonies, and our personal experiences to help people develop a heart for the poor in Chester County. Our sessions culminate with a discussion about opportunities to serve the poor right in our own communities.


Facilitators – Roger Wayne, Special Projects Coordinator, CYWA (Community, Youth, and Women's Alliance) and Jim Ford, Founder & Director (retired), Good Works, Inc.


Format – Four one-hour classes (adult Sunday school classes or weekday evenings), half-day seminar


Session content 


Session 1 – Understanding the Poor                               Session 2 – Appreciating the Poor

Poverty as another culture                                                  Federal Poverty Level

What does the Bible say about poverty?                               Wealth in Chester County

Causes of poverty in Scripture                                             Poverty in Chester County

Criminal justice system                                                       Communication and language 

Mental models of poverty and middle class                            Hidden rules of poverty and middle-class


Session 3 – Developing a Heart for the Poor                    Session 4 – Serving the Poor

The Good Samaritan                                                           Desired outcomes

Holy discontent                                                                   Guiding principles

Hopelessness and hope                                                       Levels of involvement

Overcoming the burdens of poverty                                     Opportunities for service

The Wage Gap video                                                           Impact and benefits


Testimonies of participants:


"I am embarrassed to say that I have often considered poverty a result of laziness.  During this class, I realized that poverty is caused by many factors and that the lack of hope seems to be very near the top.  What an eye-opening experience!”               Don Thompson, Paoli Presbyterian Church


"One of the best things we ever did was host The Heart of Poverty seminar, which helped our staff, volunteers, and board members get a realistic perspective on the challenges that poor families in our community experience. One volunteer shared that her life was changed and she can work more effectively at the Point to serve the least among us."

 Dwayne Walton, Executive Director, The Point

       (a Christian youth center in Parkesburg)



For more information or to arrange for a seminar/classes, please contact Jim Ford at or 610-761-0473 (cell)