Kevin DeYoung will be spending several days reviewing When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Ourselves, beginning today. A portion of the first post:
Social justice, mercy ministry, caring for the poor–whatever you want to call it, it is all the rage in Christian circles, especially among young people. Whenever some noble cause becomes popular there is the possibility for a ton of good to get accomplished, and the chance that a lot of harm will be done in the name of good intentions. That’s why every pastor passionate about the poor, every deacon, every missions committee, everyone interested in short-term missions, everyone fired up for “the least of these” should read this book. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert is the best book I’ve read on ministering to the poor. Corbett and Fikkert both teach at Covenant College and work with the Chalmers Center for Economic Development. ....DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed: When Helping Hurts, Part 1
Fikkert keeps us focused on actually helping the poor. If the goal is really to help the poor, and not just to make ourselves feel better or “accomplish” something, then good intentions are not enough. In fact, many of our passionate pleas to “show the love of Christ to the needy people in the world” end up hurting the very people we meant to help.
The book is divided into three parts, each with three chapters. Part 1: Foundational Concepts for Helping Without Hurting. Part 2: General Principles for Helping Without Hurting. Part 3: Practical Strategies for Helping Without Hurting. I’ll take a day summarizing each part of the book, starting today with Part 1.