Monday, July 13, 2009

How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor

I haven't yet seen a copy of this book, but it looks worth our time: When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself. The book is published by Moody and written by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett, both economics professors at Covenant College and a part of Covenant's Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College.

Here's a description of the book:
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.

And here's a blurb from Bryan Chapell:

Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert are zealous to make sure that we honor the gospel not only in word but also in deed by caring for "the least of these" as Christ instructed. But 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? And how do we show material care without drifting into a social gospel devoid of spiritual priorities? When Helping Hurtsexplores biblical principles in terms of real-life situations to offer real help and grace-filled answers for such questions.
For more info, see the book's page at the Chalmers Center: