World Vision's Richard Sterns: 8th Grade Youth Groups Cannot Fix Poverty

Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer | Wednesday, September 17, 2014

World Vision's Richard Sterns: 8th Grade Youth Groups Cannot Fix Poverty

The president of World Vision said this week that fighting poverty is a little bit like “rocket science.” Richard Sterns, president of World Vision, spoke about the church’s role in fighting poverty at the 2014 AEI Evangelical Leadership Summit on Sept. 10.


"I have a saying that I use, and it goes 'when it comes to solving the problems of poverty it rocket science,'" Stearns said. "Unfortunately there are many many churches in America who think it's simple. 'We'll send the 8th grade youth group into the middle of the AIDS pandemic and we'll fix it.' Poverty is rocket science."

Stearns added that the church has three different worldviews. He called them “the magic kingdom, the tragic kingdom and disparity.


We in America have this Magic Kingdom view of the world," Stearns said. "And what it does is it insulates us from the pain of the world. It Insulates us from the very distant problems of ISIS and Syria and the war in Congo ... places that seem so far away that 98 percent of Americans would never go to those places."

The Tragic Kingdom is the world that people who work in the countries see everyday. Missionaries and volunteers who travel to those countries see the dire situations that the residents live in.


"This Is the world of poverty and vulnerability, and injustice exploitation." Sterns said. "I've been to communities around the world where 25 percent of the children are dead by their 5th birthday."


said the third view is a "disparity of justice, of economics, and of expectations."



Publication date: September 17, 2014