Poverty 101

If you’ve been around Shepherd, you have probably heard about our Poverty 101 training. This unique training helps challenge stereotypes about poverty and ultimately gives you a better understanding of the poverty mindset. If we are going to break the cycle of poverty in the lives of our neighbors, then we need to make sure we understand as much as we can about poverty.

If you’ve been through our Poverty 101 training, you know how useful this information is, no matter where you live. So, in the months to come, our Poverty 101 concepts will be featured here on our Shepherd News blog. We wanted to bring these concepts to you, so you can better understand and help alleviate poverty in your context. These articles will be written by our Poverty 101 educator, Tim Streett.

Tim Streett has lived and worked in impoverished communities for 30 years in cities including Boston and Chicago. He spent 17 years as a resident of the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood in Indianapolis. He serves as the Assistant Director of Shepherd Community Center. His primary role at Shepherd is to provide continuing education to staff, volunteers and partner churches through Shepherd’s educational outreach. Tim utilizes his thirty years of experience combined with a formal education in sociology and theology to teach about issues of poverty, urban development, and urban ministry.

Tim is the former Executive Director of Jireh Sports, a mentoring program utilizing alternative sports, which grew out of a partnership with seven inner-city churches in the Martindale-Brightwood Community of Indianapolis. Jireh Sports merged with Shepherd in January of 2008. Jireh Sports was established in an old warehouse which sits on twenty acres of land. Shepherd Community successfully worked with the Exxon Mobil Corporation to remediate environmental contamination on the property. The land is now home to the Edna Martin Christian Center and a new school. Tim also founded The Ralston Trust, a charitable trust which seeks to acquire and redeem vacant and distressed property within inner-city Indianapolis.

Prior to taking the helm at Jireh Sports Tim served for seven years as the Minister of Urban Outreach for the East 91st Street Christian Church. In that capacity he was responsible for the development of partnerships and outreach ministries in the inner-city communities of Indianapolis. Tim also served for a time as the leader of contemporary services and preached most Sundays before 1000 members of 91st Street’s congregation.

Tim has a significant teaching ministry focusing on issues of racial reconciliation, forgiveness, poverty and urban ministry. As a fifteen year old Tim witnessed the murder of his father during a random robbery. As an adult he reached out to establish relationships with each of the men convicted of the murder. One of those relationships grew into a friendship as Tim helped the man establish a successful life upon release from prison.

In the fall of 2013 Tim and his family moved to a small town in Southern Indiana so that he could pursue further studies in Louisville and care for his ailing father-in-law. This move also was an opportunity to begin to experience the context of rural poverty

Tim has a BS from Purdue University, an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is currently a doctoral candidate at Bellarmine University. He is married to Stacy, who was the Media Specialist at The Oaks Academy and now serves the same role at Switzerland County School District in Vevay, IN. They have a twenty-year old son Gabriel, who is a student at Ball State University, and an eighteen-year old daughter Mary Elizabeth, who is currently having a gap-year before starting college.