More than 25% of the world’s population lacks adequate shelter. The need for adequate affordable housing crosses all national boundaries and generational lines. In the Mississippi Delta, a family of five huddles around the heater in a shack as the bitter wind whips through the cracks in the walls. In Honduras, a woman lives with her adult children in a corrugated tin structure that has been patched repeatedly to keep the rain out. In Rwanda, a widow who survived the genocide waits with five orphans she has adopted for a roof to cover their mud-walled shelter. In the Philippines, hundreds of families are left homeless by a relentless volcano.
The epistle of James challenges Christians to social responsibility. It is not enough to say to a needy person, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” while neglecting his or her physical suffering and material needs. A living faith calls us to hold out boldly the hope of the gospel as we fulfill God’s command to love others in both word and deed. The example of Christ and the explicit instruction of the pastoral epistles teach us to invite strangers in to a place of security and love in His name.
Recognizing the necessity to put faith into action, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) seeks to raise awareness of the need for adequate shelter for families around the world. Therefore, we resolve to challenge our individual members and member organizations to become partners with people in need of adequate affordable housing. This partnership begins with a commitment to regular prayer for those in need of adequate shelter. We also suggest participation in the observance of the International Day of Prayer and Action for Human Habitat on the third Sunday in September of each year.
Beyond prayer, we also call upon the members of the NAE to partner with our relief and development arm, World Relief, and other organizations involved in housing efforts by providing labor and funds.
Affirming that we have been called to a living, active faith, we seek to match our words with our deeds. We commit to proclaim the good news of God’s redemption of humankind with our mouths and our hands. We will pray for those who suffer because of inadequate housing, we will work together to build homes for families in need in our communities, and we will give financially so that more families around the world will have access to affordable housing.
Now is the time for the evangelical church in the United States to model the early church of Acts 4, and become “one in heart and mind…sharing everything they had. With great power they testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. And there were no needy persons among them.”