- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Moody Publishers; Expanded edition (April 20, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802457061
- ISBN-13: 978-0802457066
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 815 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself Paperback – April 20, 2012
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I can honestly report that When Helping Hurts is the single best book I've seen on this topic. Although this book will make many readers uncomfortable, it quickly offers hope in the form of understandable, feasible new strategies that better grasp the dignity and promise of the materially poor. It deserves a #1 spot on the reading list of every Christian who wants to follow Jesus in a genuine, mutually transforming love of neighbor.
-Amy L. Sherman, PhD, senior fellow and director, Sagamore Institute Center on Faith in Communities, author, Restorers of Hope
What an opportunity evangelicals have to make a difference in our world through the church. Corbett and Fikkert build on the growing momentum of holistic witness that's sweeping our country and globe and are eminently qualified and positioned to take motivated kingdom citizens on a Christ-centered and comprehensive journey that will pay huge dividends for impoverished people and for Christians in our broken world.
-Dr. Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action, author, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger
How can a local church make a difference, and how do individual Christians meaningfully reflect Christ's grace, when the disparities of wealth and power in our world are so great? When Helping Hurts explores biblical principles in terms of real-life situations to offer real help and grace-filled answers for such questions.
-Bryan Chappell, president, Covenant Theological Seminary
When Helping Hurts wonderfully combines heavy-duty thinking with practical tools. I appreciate their zeal to root all strategies in the institution God has ordained to bring about His goals. No donor should invest another dollar in any kind of relief effort before digesting the last page of this important book.
-Joel Belz, founder and writer, World Magazine
Churches in North America will find this a helpful way to educate congregations and then motivate them to action, both globally and in their neighborhoods.
-Bryant Myers, PhD, professor of International Development, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
A clarion call to rethink how we apply the gospel to a broken world. This book will transform our good intentions into genuine, lasting change.
-Stephen J. Baumann, senior vice president, World Relief
From the Back Cover
Good Intentions Are Not Enough
Unleashing and equipping people to effectively help the poor requires repentance and the realization of our own brokenness. When Helping Hurts articulates a biblically based framework concerning the root causes of poverty and its alleviation.
A path forward is found, not through providing resources to the poor, but by walking with them in humble relationships.
Whether you're involved in short-term missions or the long-term empowerment of the poor, this book helps teach you three key areas:
· Foundational Concepts Who are the poor?
· Principles Should we do relief, rehabilitation, or development?
· Strategies How can we help people effectively here and abroad?
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Thankfully, the authors provide plenty of hope by suggesting many ways to improve and even overhaul our charitable efforts. The book messes with my head, in a very good way.
I believe When Helping Hurts should be read by all believers who wish to serve others in need and it should be REQUIRED for all in ministry positions at your local church. Ask them if they've read this and then ask them to lead the church though a study. You will be challenged and you will be changed!
Don't miss this book. You need to read it . . . especially if you think you don't need to do so. Humble yourself and read it!
Statistics about poor people fly around like dried straw during a hurricane. If billions live on less than two dollars a day, it's easy to assume that sending along five dollars a day would be a big help. If villages lack clean water, drill wells. If youngsters are sick, send them physicians and medicine. What those examples have in common is that they are applying the perspective of educated, high-income societies to the circumstances of poor people in poorly educated, low-income societies. Sometimes those "solutions" are called for, but often they are not.
Let me explain. If you just send more money, you may unintentionally stifle efforts for people to help themselves by encouraging people to wait for a handout. If villages lack clean water because husbands want their wives and daughters out carrying water while they entertain themselves without female complaining, the wells won't be maintained. If youngsters don't wash their hands, they will just get sick again . . . with something different. Yes, sometimes people in a catastrophe just need a helping handout . . . immediate food, water, and medicine. But soon they need also different kind of help, enhancing their ability to help themselves.
It's a standard joke in many countries how the "helpers" from outside the nation drive around in Land Rovers burning up lots of scarce, expensive fuel while enjoying $100,000 tax-free incomes and not doing much good other than when they hire a local person to do some work.
When Helping Hurts addresses the hard truths behind the ways that Christians often attempt to alleviate poverty without addressing the actual needs that poor people have . . . especially such as low self-esteem, lacking confidence, and needing stronger relationships with one another.
The book covers one of my favorite examples of how resources can be wasted: How a short-term missions trip to do some minor repair work and painting might cost more than the budget needed to make a breakthrough for a local Christian activity. The authors wisely suggest asking the people being visited if they would prefer the money or the visit.
For many years in many countries, I have worked with local partners to make breakthroughs in poverty alleviation. From these experiences, I have learned the following lessons:
1. No one need go there from another country. You can send any information needed by e-mail.
2. Local people have all the knowledge and resources to succeed in alleviating a great deal of poverty very quickly, but they need someone from that country to bounce ideas around with who has done it before. Get someone like that involved, and it goes smoothly.
3. Train one person in how to alleviate poverty in one way, and a whole village can learn and apply the same lesson from that person in a short amount of time. If the people in that village each train one person a month, tens of thousands can be lifted out of poverty in two years.
4. Christian leaders who are native to these nations where poverty is rampant are extremely capable at finding poverty alleviating solutions. Encourage them and give them the resources they ask for, and get out of their way.
5. Applying technology is seldom the answer.
While I could list more things, the more profound point of the book is that Christians should approach poor people in other nations as people to develop relationships with and to learn from. I'm always impressed by stories I hear of visiting ramshackle churches sited on garbage dumps where the love of God vastly exceeds what anyone from a developed country has ever seen before. From such experiences, Christians from the developed countries can learn to appreciate how materialism gets in the way of spiritual health and loving as God wants us to do.
The problem of alleviating poverty is a lot like the problem of obeying God was during the time when Jesus was born. People were going through the motions of meaningless rituals and ignoring God's plan.
I pray that this book will help many Christians to learn to reconsider how they "alleviate" poverty.