Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I’ve pointed out that churches are better at meeting what Abraham Maslow calls basic “physiological needs” than we are at meeting the next level of “security (or safety) needs.” Security needs are needs to feel a sense of security and safety in your life, e.g. by regular employment, general peace with your health, a safe living environment, etc. Pew research points out that these are attributes that also characterize a middle class life. It is time for the church to realize that she must stop overlooking safety needs and also direct her ministries towards meeting important “security” needs.
There’s nothing wrong with meeting physiological needs, such as help with food, housing, clothes and etc.
But the church just as robustly must address the next level: “security needs” which include helping people obtain secure employment, a safe family life, a decent place to live and a generally healthy life. Unless we meet this next highest need on Maslow’s pyramid, people won’t be interested in the next level need (just a little bit higher) to belong to a community and enjoy it’s fellowship.
Read this Pew Research which underlines the principles of security needs. And for more ideas regarding how churches can meet safety needs, see The list in “Cure for the common church: God’s plan to restore church health.”
What Americans say it takes to be middle class by ANNA BROWN, Pew Research, 2/8/16.
What does it take to be considered part of the middle class these days? The vast majority of American adults agree that a secure job and the ability to save money for the future are essential. The public is more evenly split when it comes to owning a home and having the time and money to travel for vacation. But one thing is now less likely to be seen as a requirement: a college education.
While the economic gap between college graduates and those with a high school education or less has never been greater, the share of adults saying a college education is necessary to be middle class has actually fallen since 2012, from 37% to 30%, according to a Pew Research Center surveyconducted Dec. 8-13, 2015.
There is a wide gap between men and women on this measure. About a third of women (35%) say that a college education is needed to be in the middle class, but only 26% of men say the same. Millennial women outpace Millennial men in educational attainment, and indeed the gap in opinion is wider between women and men who are ages 18 to 49 than among those ages 50 and older.