Four Prescriptions for Ministering with the Working Class
By Scott Hughes
In the first webinar in the “I See You” series, Rev. Dr. Tex Sample named the sources of pain and challenges faced by working-class people. While the working class is the largest demographic group in the United States, it is far from a monolithic group. Dr. Sample points out in his book, Working Class Rage, “[The white working class] must not be stereotyped into some simplistic template of false consciousness and right-wing extremist views seen as the carriers of racism and sexism.”
Beyond the pervasive dynamics faced by the working class (primarily but not exclusively the white working class), Dr. Sample and Scott Hughes briefly named four prescriptions for ministering with the white working class:
1. Listen for the source of pain.
Some might be surprised to discover the pain experienced by those in the working class, no matter their race or ethnicity.
2. Question assumptions.
We cannot assume those in the working class all share the same ideology or perspectives. We, also, cannot assume to know the challenges faced by others.
3. Search for ways to work together.
It is often when we work or play side by side that relationships are deepened and we find common needs and areas of agreement.
4. Use family rhetoric and note the importance of story and place.
Rev. Dr. Tex Sample emphasized that among the working class is wisdom shared through storytelling and proverbs. Speaking in theory and “university” language will likely be met with distrust and skepticism. Similarly, for the working class, place serves as an important marker and grounding for identity.
To learn more about the working class and the pain they experience, watch the recording of the first webinar below. The second webinar in this series, “Seeing and Reaching/Working Across Race and Class Lines,” will be Thursday April 29, at 7 p.m. CDT.
 Tex Sample Working Class Rage: A Field Guide to White Anger and Pain. Abingdon Press, 2018.
Scott Hughes is the Executive Director of Congregational Vitality & Intentional Discipleship, Elder in the North Georgia Conference, M.Div. Asbury Theological Seminary, D. Min. Southern Methodist University, co-host of the Small Groups in the Wesleyan Way podcast, creator of the Courageous Conversations project, and facilitator of the How to Start Small Groups teaching series.