When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself
PDF Sample

Corbett, Steve; Fikkert, Brian


Free Shipping on orders over $49

$6.00 - 60% Off

List Price: $14.99

We're sorry but this product is currently unavailable.

Clearance Title

Please Note: All clearance titles have limited availability. If we run out, your order for that title will be automatically canceled and the remainder of your order will ship as normal.

Publisher's Description

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.

208 Pages
Published July 2009

About the Author

Brian Fikkert is an associate professor of economics at Covenant College, and the founder and executive director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College.

Steve Corbett is the community development specialist for the Chalmers Center for Economic Development, and an assistant professor in the department of economics and community development at Covenant College.

Book Details

208 Pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication Date: July 2009
ISBN 10: 0802457053
ISBN 13: 9780802457059

  "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 Hurts explores biblical principles in terms of real-life situations to offer real help and grace-filled answers for such questions."
- Dr. Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary

  "Becoming more and more aware of the poverty in the world, the North American church is responding and ministering to the poor in unprecedented numbers. But this is easier said than done, as poverty is a complex problem. Good intentions are not enough, for faulty assumptions can result in strategies that do considerable harm. If churches truly want to help, this book is a must-read. It presents a biblically based framework for understanding poverty and its alleviation. The principles and strategies will help the church build an effective ministry for a hurting world, both at home and abroad.
- Dr. Paul Kooistra, Executive Director of Mission to the World

  "Globalization, immigration, and suburbanization are bringing new opportunities to minister to the poor to the front doorsteps of many North American churches. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past by running away from those whom Jesus loves so deeply. Rather, we must learn how to walk with our new neighbors in highly transformative relationships. There is no simple route to success, but this book provides a marvelous compass to guide our steps. I highly recommend it to any church that wants to be "the body" to the world outside its doors."
- Jim Bland, Executive Director, Mission to North America

  "I confess to becoming irritated when I read something -- such as When Helping Hurts -- that makes me reconsider my methods and ministry, but am usually thankful when it helps me be more effective in serving the Lord. The authors struggle with an ambivalence that arises from the desperation of poor people around the world and the often stumbling efforts of those of us who try to help them. Poor people need help, but what is the best way to help them, and how do we keep from hurting them? These are the issues at stake.
 This book has wonderful stories that illustrate the dilemma faced by those who would do good. It may be a bitter pill to swallow that, having invested in a worthy cause, you hear that the results have caused damage to the very people you meant to bless. Please see this book as an encouragement to do things right and not as a condemnation of anyone's sincere motive to help the needy.
 Though the authors are men of education, knowledge, and experience, they confess their own struggles in the application of these principles. As someone who has once been poor, and has worked all of his years in ministry to help the poor, I encourage you to read and ponder the principles in When Helping Hurts"
- Randy Nabors, Pastor of New City Fellowship, TN (PCA)

  "When Helping Hurts is the most important book for the church to read as it seeks to serve the poor in ways that make a lasting difference. Corbett and Fikkert biblically define poverty, highlight why past initiatives haven't always lived up to expectations, and provide practical ways for extending the kingdom of God in inner cities and to the ends of the earth."
- Peter Greer, President, HOPE International

  "Corbett and Fikkert have done a masterful job integrating insights from Scripture, social science research, and community development practice to give readers sound, practical, and effective strategies for equipping people to have more effective ministry to the poor. In this excellent book you'll discover new ways of approaching short-term missions (that truly help the poor rather than hurt them) as well as new ways of providing long-term economic empowerment of poor people both in North America and across the world. When Helping Hurts should be required for all church leaders, academics and church members."
- Steven L. Childers, President & CEO, Global Church Advancement; Reformed Theological Seminary

  "From the early pages, where the authors promptly and humbly confess how they have "messed up" in their own efforts to alleviate poverty, to the last chapters where their vast experience and on-the-street wisdom show through so helpfully, this is a book that wonderfully combines heavy-duty thinking with practical tools. As a journalist, I appreciate the author's story-telling and descriptive abilities. As a churchman, 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

  "What an opportunity evangelicals have to make a difference in our world through the church as we move deeper into the third millennium! Corbett and Fikkert build on the growing momentum of holistic witness that's sweeping our country and globe. Given their work nationally and internationally both personally and through the Chalmers Center, Corbett and Fikkert are eminently qualified and positioned to take motivated kingdom citizens one a Christ-centered and comprehensive journey that will pay huge dividends for impoverished people and for Christians in our broken world. When Helping Hurts will help the hurting -- and us as well."
- Ronald J. Sider, Palmer Theological Seminary

  "For over fifteen years I've worked alongside other Christians in efforts to effectively address poverty at home and abroad. I can honestly report that When Helping Hurts is the single best book I've seen on this topic. While accessible to beginners, it is rich with insight for veterans, too. With solid biblical exegesis, engaging stories from the front lines, and practical, no-nonsense advice, Corbett and Fikkert offer essential wisdom desperately needed in today's church. The book will make many readers uncomfortable: it reveals the unhealthy and frankly unbiblical ways congregations have undertaken to help the poor in their local communities and abroad through short-term missions. But it quickly offers hope in the form of understandable, feasible new strategies that better grasp the dignity and promise of the materially poor. This book deserves a #1 spot on the reading list of every Christian who wants to follow Jesus in genuine, mutually transforming love of neighbor."
- Amy L. Sherman, Senior Fellow and Director, Sagamore Institute Center on Faith in Communities and author of Restorers of Hope

  "Corbett and Fikkert fill some important gaps in our thinking and acting about poverty as Christians. 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. A biblical framework for thinking about poverty is presented in an engaging way. More importantly, the authors shift the conversation away from the needs of the poor to a call to build on what the poor already have -- willing hearts and minds that just need an opportunity. The book closes with a compelling call to support ministries of micro-enterprise development."
- Bryant L. Myers, Fuller Theological Seminary

  "Steve and Brian have rung the bell -- a clarion call to rethink how we apply the gospel to a broken world. When Helping Hurts lays out the principles and practice for transforming our good intentions into genuine, lasting change. I couldn't recommend this book more highly."
- Stephen J. Bauman, Senior Vice President of Programs for World Relief

  "We live at a time when it has become popular to be an activist for the poor. But before we all run over to Africa to "do something," this book is a must read! The impact of good but uninformed intentions leads to unintended consequences that can be damaging to everyone involved. This book will help all of us -- churches, mission agencies, Christian relief and development organizations, and donors -- to establish the right foundation for our ministry to the "least of these" and for the church to do this work as God intended"
- Daryl Heald, Senior Vice President of The Maclellan Foundation

  "This is a book that every church leader should read. It takes the church beyond the common Band-Aid ministries to ministries that truly make a difference in the lives of the people they seek to serve. For too long the church in America has kept people in a relief mode by their well-intentioned attempts at assistance. By reading this book, church leaders can help their churches move past relief to recovery and development. I highly recommend this book!
- L. Jean White, Coordinator for Church and Community Ministries, Ministry Evangelism Team, North American Mission Board

  "When Helping Hurts offers a timely message to the North American church that being well-meaning and well-resourced and even amply generous does not mean all is well! As North American churches and individuals move more and more toward hands-on involvement with communities and churches in the developing world, there will be a natural tendency toward creating asymmetrical relationships where Global South counterparts are not viewed as equals and partners with invaluable talents, resources, and funds. As two men who have walked their talk over many years of holistic engagement with developing-world communities, Steve and Brian provide a credible and humbly toned corrective to this unhealthy and unbiblical dynamic. This book is a must-read for any Christian who hopes to be globally aware, biblically grounded, and thoughtfully engaged international relief and development."
- Paul Park, Executive Director of First Fruit, Inc.

  "When Helping Hurts is an important resource for Christians who are concerned about seeing people's lives transformed in a way that goes beyond paternalism and embraces a Christlike, whole-person approach to loving our neighbor. Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert share insights that will help those of us who care for the poor understand that our own brokenness might be our greatest asset in our quest to be wounded healers in a world desperate for hope."
- Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association

  "Corbett and Fikkert provide readers with an introductory yet realistic examination of the problem of poverty. Avoiding an "us" versus "them" mentality that recognizes the brokenness in both poor and rich people, the authors encourage evangelicals to engage in biblically based, kingdom-focused mission that avoids a "one-size-fits-all" response to local and global poverty. From their lofty heights on Lookout Mountain, Corbett and Fikkert use down-to-earth language that is straightforward and simple without offering simplistic solutions. They note the relatively new phenomenon to poverty's shift from urban centers to suburbs, and suggest effective and up-to-date strategies such as asset-based ministry, appreciative inquiry, asset mapping, and microenterprise development."
Phil Olson, Pastor, Church on the Mall, Plymouth Meeting, PA, Affiliate Staff, Evangelicals for Social Action, coauthor, Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community With Good News and Good Works

  "Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert are offering North American churches and the poor of the world an invaluable service by writing this book. Our present cultural practices of benevolent giving do not bring transformation and dignity to the poor or to ourselves. Well-intentioned Christianity is not enough Please heed this timely message.
- Gary Edmonds, President of Breakthrough Partners

  "The insights into the root causes and meaningful solutions to chronic poverty are outstanding. THis work should be read by all who are called to serve the world's poor
- Chuck Bentley, CEO, Crown Financial Ministries