At my last church, we had an administrative assistant who handled all requests for help in consultation with the senior pastor. It wasn’t until I moved to Bracebridge that I realized how difficult it is to help people in need in a way that genuinely benefits them. It’s easy to allocate a gift card from a benevolent fund—it’s much harder to truly help.
When Helping Hurts is a solid resource for churches developing a benevolent policy. Corbett and Fikkert not only examine the needs of the materially poor but also the heart issues of the givers.
One of the most helpful parts of this book was Corbett & Fikkert’s distinctions between the type of aid needed:
- Relief: Immediate short-term aid to stop the bleeding.
- Rehabilitation: Working with people (not for them) to help their situation.
- Development: A more broad based look at the causes of the poverty.
How many times have we thrown relief at a situation that requires much more labour-intensive (and rewarding) rehabilitation?
This book puts poverty in its theological context and will help you and your church to develop sound benevolent and mission policy.
—Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself, Expanded Edition (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers 2009, 2012).