When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself
Author: Steve Corbett
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(New Edition) Forewords by David Platt and John Perkins). With more than 225,000 copies sold, When Helping Hurts is a paradigm-forming contemporary classic on the subject of poverty alleviation and ministry to those in need. Emphasizing the poverty of both heart and society, this book exposes the need that every person has and how it can be filled. The reader is brought to understand that poverty is much more than simply a lack of financial or material resources and that it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve the problem of poverty.
While this book exposes past and current development efforts that churches have engaged in which unintentionally undermine the people they're trying to help, its central point is to provide proven strategies that challenge Christians to help the poor empower themselves. Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts catalyzes the idea that sustainable change for people living in poverty comes not from the outside-in, but from the inside-out.
Churches and individual Christians typically have faulty assumptions about the causes of poverty, resulting in the use of strategies that do considerable harm to poor people and themselves. "When Helping Hurts" provides foundational concepts, clearly articulated general principles and relevant applications. The result is an effective and holistic ministry to the poor, not a truncated gospel. A situation is assessed for whether relief, rehabilitation, or development is the best response to a situation. Efforts are characterized by an "asset based" approach rather than a "needs based" approach. Short term mission efforts are addressed and microenterprise development (MED) is explored.
"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"
"I have never read a better book on practically serving the poor, and I pray that God will use [it] to equip His people to accomplish His purposes in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need for the glory of His great name." -- David Platt, author of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
"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
"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
"'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"
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