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Beyond Charity: The Call to Christian Community Development

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801071225
ISBN-10: 0801071224
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Not every Christian is called to move into close community with the poor and hurting in our country's inner cities, but neither are we permitted to stand at arm's length and allow their struggles to continue through our own inaction. John Perkins has committed his life to bringing reconciliation and development to these broken communities and seeks to expose the root issues at play in these communities in Beyond Charity.

About the Author

John M. Perkins is cofounder of the Christian Community Development Association and director of the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the author of nine books, including Let Justice Roll Down.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (July 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801071224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801071225
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By ANDREW MCHENRY on April 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a philosophy and outline for ministry among the American poor, emphasizing the role of God's people in moving beyond charity to uplifting ministry based on building relationships and program development within communities. The book is divided into three sections consisting of vision (for ministry that goes beyond charity), gospel (bridging theology with specific practices of ministry), and messenger (directed towards those considering a role in these types of ministry).
Good: The book is founded on Perkins' years of personal experience and knowledge of social ministry in helping at-risk populations and improving neighborhoods. The stories he shares of ministry successes in Pasadena, CA and Mendenhall, MS are powerful and compelling, as are the numerous people he cites that have had similar successes. Also particularly useful are his six marks of an authentic church, his eight factors that create an environment of hope in communities, and his chapter on discerning God's will.
Bad: Perkins has a definite anti-welfare and conservative political perspective, which is noticable in a few places. This is coupled with the fact that he is writing primarily to church-folk who are interested in church ministries, and leads to a total neglect of prescription for government involvement in the fight to reduce poverty and produce justice. Perkins needs to be more biblically-based in this regard - see Psalm 72. Lobbying for governmental involvement is important for impacting the structural base of poverty.
Opinion: In spite of the one significant area of disagreement mentioned above, this is an invaluable handbook for Christian social ministry. I recommend it without reservation.
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Format: Paperback
My story about how I read this book is very interesting. I remember asking Rev. Lockhart for donations to go on a 'missions' trip which would last for 10 days. He answered my request instead by asking me for money. Little did I know that he was a missionary in Atchison, KS. He and his small congregation were sprawling out their lives for the realization of the Christian community in Atchison. For the past five years of my Christian walk, my picture of missions work has been radically transformed from an American version to that of true obedience like Jesus had. Peter was called by Jesus to feed his sheep. The question is this: How can I feed sheep if I am not interacting with the sheep on a daily basis? True shepherds step in the mess on the sheep and continue to work. John Perkins writes from a truly selfless sacrifice for the sake of Christ. He has actually lived out that which he has written - for that reason my ears perk up. As a teacher, I told my high school class that if they want to participate in missions, they MUST READ Beyond Charity by John Perkins.
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Format: Paperback
Perkins causes his readers to question their motives for giving to the poor, including calling them to the important task of relocation. A deep committment is required for community development and Perkins thoughtfully discusses development from a biblical basis.
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Format: Paperback
The subtitle of this John M. Perkins classic is 'The Call to Christian Community Development.' It is indeed a call, a charge for Christians to something different, something beyond hand outs and programs in the 'rough' neighborhoods of America.

In this 1993 book, Dr. Perkins presents his 3 R's of Christian Community Development. The first R (relocation) continues to lead many believers into the 'hood to minister and be ministered to.

This book is still relevant today. Well worth another visit even if you or your study group has read it before. Look at it with fresh eyes in this age of gentrification AKA reverse 'white flight.'

Christian community development is intentional. It hinges on interracial sensitivity, sincerity, interdependence, justice, and empowerment. Not on prosperity or personal/individual good, and other American ideals.

Listen. Learn. Love.

--
Linda Leigh Hargrove is the author of two works of fiction: The Making of Isaac Hunt (2007) and Loving Cee Cee Johnson (2008). Her writings blend suspense, humor, and faith into compelling stories about race and class in America.
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I found this book easy to read, well organized, full of helpful examples and stories, and very practical. I recommend it to anyone interested in getting more involved in city/urban ministry. It would be a helpful book to also give students or newcomers to a ministry/church organization. Perkins does a great job giving a broad outline and 'plan' of sorts with specifics to flesh out his points. I have been challenged and have learned a lot.
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