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Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development Paperback – December 1, 2011


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Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development + Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It + When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books; Revised edition (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570759391
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570759390
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bryant Myers is professor of transformational development at Fuller Theological Seminary. A lifelong activist dedicated to Christian relief and development work around the world, Myers served as Vice President for International Program Strategy at World Vision International, where he worked for thirty years. His other books include The New Changing Context of Global Mission, and The Changing Shape of World Mission

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Customer Reviews

I would highly recommend this book to Christian Colleges/Universities teaching classes in Transformational/Community Development.
Andrew Rayner
Both are vital lessons for the health of the community, and both can be easily passed on by the local people, while working in a field or sitting under a tree, etc.!
RG
Myers gives the Christian development worker understanding for how think about and practice relief work throughout the world in a holistic way.
E. Hulbert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Kerk Burbank, Ph.D. on April 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Walking with the Poor..." is simply the best single book about holistic Christian development theory, theology, and real Christian organizational practice which I have read to date. The purpose of the book in Myers' own words "is to describe a proposal for understanding the principles and practice of transformational development (positive material, social and spiritual change) from a Christian perspective. It is my intention to try to bring together the basic streams of thinking and experience. The best of the principles and practice of the international development community needs to be integrated with the thinking and experience of Christian relief and development nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Then these two streams of experience need to be informed and shaped by a biblical framework for transformational development." For the most part, Myers achieves his purpose.
Myers quotes liberally from many other development thinkers and theologians from both economically developed countries and lesser developed countries. He uses wonderful diagrams that are worth their weight in gold for those who learn visually, and his appendices list pertinent Biblical texts and ways to evaluate spiritual transformation in a community. If you are a Christian working anywhere in development, you need to read this book! "Walking With the Poor" introduces a variety of development paradigms and theological reflections about development to those who may never have studied development formally and includes material likely to be new to even the more experienced development practitioner.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By RG on April 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. I mean I LOVED this book! It probably took me longer to read it than it took the author to write it, because I kept underlining it and pausing to consider the concepts!

My only two concerns were this: The book should be marketed to ALL followers of Jesus, not just those people who work in full time humanitarian aid! Every follower of Christ is called to make disciples--and we need to recognize that this means holistic discipleship--promoting the advancement of health in every area of life: spiritually, physically, mentally, etc. That is primarily what this book is about, and every follower of Christ can benefit from it.

The other issue I'd like to bring up is that the book refers to having to work with the local institutional church, and how even though that is often difficult, it has to be done. My concern here is that there are other ways to integrate "church" into community development--like discipling the people to start their own simple fellowships. Too often institutional churches provide perpetual spiritual "relief" rather than "development". By that I mean that the pastor or leaders just "tell people how it is" rather than helping new Believers dig into the Bible on their own. It's like a spiritual "welfare program". Is it reasonable to suggest that since holistic community development means helping people to help themselves spiritually as well as in other ways, then we should promote/facilitate the kind of churches that model this? The house/simple church movement that encourages "every member ministry", church as a lifestyle, shared responsibilities, dialogue over monologue, etc., should at least be a strong consideration.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David P. Thoresen on March 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
While this book is not an easy read, it is extremely thought provoking and enlightening. Everyone involved in any kind of mission work will benefit from the wisdom and guidance in this book. I've already bought 30 copies for key folks from our church involved in or planning transformational development work locally and internationally.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Newbrander on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, practical presentation of what biblical transformation can look like. An excellent presentation of the biblical story & world view, with a helpful and practical description of the kingdom of God and Shalom. It presents poverty not simply as an economic issue, but a relational issue with a spiritual root.

I have already given away several copies of this book and plan to give more away. Should be required reading for all churches and church planters.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Esther Knott on January 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for those interested in the transformational work of development. I read it on my kindle, but if I had to do it over, I would order the hard copy. There are numerous valuable tables that would be easier to see in a printed book. I appreciated the text to speech function as it enabled me to listen to huge sections while driving or working around the house.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Hakkeem on November 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Walking With the Poor is a seminal book on working in transformational development. If you want to help the poor, and you care about whether the poor people you come into relationship with are really helped, then you need to read this book.

Myers gets into the basic questions that we need to face in work with the poor. What are the root causes of poverty? What is God calling us to in our relationships with the poor? What are the end goals for them and for us? What kind of attributes and tools does a transformational development worker need to have to answer what God is calling us to and reach those end goals? Because of the fundamental nature of these questions and the wide body of theological research that Myers surveys in pursuing answers, it can often get dense. But if you care about the answers to those questions, the material deserves a careful read.

There's far too much good stuff to summarize, so I'll just highlight a few things that helped me. In looking at the causes of poverty, Myers's surveys of Jayakumar Christian's investigation of the "web of lies" that entrap the poor and of Walter Wink's list of "delusional assumptions" were both helpful. The information on "God-complexes of the non-poor" is also especially good. In looking into what constitutes Godly, Kingdom-focused transformational development, the explanations of what kind of end goals we're looking for, how we can best go about evaluating our progress, and what kind of person it takes to meet these goals were all worth copying and saving. The final sections on bringing together evangelism and development were also excellent and prayerfully thought out.
This is the kind of book that I know I'm going to have to go back to and read again as I continue my journey of working alongside the poor.
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