There is something one calls the "poverty line", which is the estimated minimum level of income needed to secure the necessities of life. In ministry, I have defined the poverty line somewhat differently: the estimated minimum level of income needed to keep one from reaching a point of no return. In city ministry in particular, I have come across this point of no return all the time. When you cross a certain line, it is very difficult to recover. For instance, if you lose your shelter, your clothes, your personal documents, and so on, you may be past the point of no return. OBSERVATION: We applied this thinking firstly within the Church, not outside. We did everything we could to stop members slipping across that line. Rarely did it seem to us that it was their fault.