Psychology Faculty Publications

Title

How College Students View the Church's Responsibility for the Homeless 1.5 Years After a College Poverty Immersion Experience

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Winter 2016

Journal Title

Social Work & Christianity

ISSN

0737-5778

Volume

43

Issue

4

First Page

68

Last Page

84

Abstract

This qualitative study examines residual shifts of student perceptions of Christian and church responses to the homeless 1.5 years after involvement in a weekend poverty immersion experience. Three overall results were evident from the common themes that emerged from student interviews. First, participants reported believing that, generally, the church is ignorant regarding the needs of the poor and impoverished people around them. Second, students generally did not believe that the church was doing enough in order to combat poverty and/or homelessness, mentioning that the church’s outreach ministries are often ineffective. Third, students reported believing that the church is responsible to care for the poor and that Christians as a whole should be more involved than they are presently. Overall, we found students to have reported maintaining a relatively consistent and stable perspective regarding Christian approaches to poverty since the time they completed an urban ministry course.

Keywords

Poverty immersion, qualitative research, student learning, homeless, Christianity