Yesterday I wrote about the growth of urban slums. Which leaves us with the question: “What can we as the church do about it?”  Yet our guiding question shouldn’t be, “What can we do to address the challenge of urban slums?” but rather, “What will it take to bring about transformation in urban slums?”

I talked with Jean-Luc Krieg, a mission leader in Mexico City, and here are some of his thoughts—based on a great deal of hands-on experience.

Some myths of dealing with city slums:

  • Economic growth will wipe out slums
  • Urban and rural issues are unconnected
  • Bulldozing slums will solve the problem
  • Building large-scale public housing will solve the problem
  • Outside interventions are the best option
  • Interventions can be stand-alone rather than integrated
  • Spiritual change isn’t necessary
  • Results can happen quickly
  • Women issues are separate from urban poverty
  • The problem doesn’t extend to the city political structures

Promising initiatives, on the other hand, focus on prevention, holistic interventions, and sustaining change.