Often times when we believe we are doing good, we are in fact doing harm. When this happens we may all stand back and shout "I was only trying to help!" but the damage is done, and often cannot be reversed. Such is the case with many of the ways local congregations have contributed through their various projects such as short-term missions. This book, When helping Hurts, discusses ways in which Christians can help those in poverty without harming those who are already suffering, and how to keep themselves from getting hurt. Beyond helping those in need, it is also the call of every Christian to act responsibly and wisely, while yet being "innocent as doves". In a world of increasing violence and hunger this book is quite timely and will help churches be more effective in both helping the poor ad spreading the gospel.
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 economic development strategies appropriate for North American and international contexts are presented, including microenterprise development.
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. Previously, Steve worked for Food for the Hungry International as the Regional Director for Central And South America and as Director of Staff Training. Steve has a B.A. from covenant College and a M.Ed. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia.
DR. BRIAN FIKKERT is a Professor of Economics and the founder and Executive Director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College. Dr. Fikkert earned a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University, specializing in international economics and economic development. He has been a consultant to the World Bank and is the author of numerous articles in both academic and popular journals. Prior to coming to Covenant College, he was a professor at the University of Maryland--College Park and a research fellow at the Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector.