International (MNN) — Today marks Day One of a summit informing people about the devastation and rise of global poverty.
"The Poverty Summit is an opportunity to bring people together that are interested in breaking the grips of poverty on the poorest of the poor and saying, 'Hey, what is God doing in different areas of the world?'" says Craig Dyer, president of Bright Hope International, the ministry conducting the summit.
The summit arose out of a realization that believers are constantly inundated by urges to help and to give in order to fight poverty overseas, but they are seldom just presented with the facts. Poverty Summit is a chance for people not only to get the facts about global poverty, but also to learn how Bright Hope's various programs are working, what sort of results they're seeing, and how they're doing it all through the local church.
The three-day summit will focus one day on Africa, one on Asia, and one on Latin America, looking at various aspects of global poverty and how Bright Hope has been able to help lessen them.
Dyer says the ministry will also discuss how fighting poverty is not only a command of God for His followers to obey, but how it has also given Bright Hope numerous opportunities to share the Gospel.
"[Helping the poor is] an opportunity for us as believers to say, 'There's a God who loves you, who cares for you, who doesn't want you to be suffering like this. And He's come to give you hope, and come to help you with these resources, and the hope of eternity with the knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ.'"
The summit is in Chicago, Illinois, and thanks to some special partners, it is free to anyone who can make it. If you aren't near Chicago, though, you can still be involved. Segments of the event will be streamed online on Bright Hope's Web site throughout the summit, which lasts from October 5 to 7.
Take this opportunity not only to increase your knowledge about the world, but to increase your understanding of God's will for you as one of His followers. As people leave this summit, the hope is that they will have an increased understanding of how they can help in ways other than by donating money.
"Everybody is called in Scripture to help the poor," says Dyer. "So there is something that we all need to be doing in our daily life and our spiritual walk with the Lord." As you ask the Lord what that "something" is for your life, consider learning under the teaching of Poverty Summit over these next three days, and listen for God's voice.