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Recruiting and Equipping Effective Volunteers

When it comes to poverty alleviation ministry, it’s not uncommon for new volunteers to feel excited about getting involved. They can’t wait to make a difference. But if these volunteers aren’t well-prepared for the work they’re joining, over time, they will likely begin to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. They realize that there are more needs than resources and there is always something else they could do to help. Walking through deep valleys with people wrestling with material poverty, the road is often rough and the way forward isn’t always clear. These sorts of challenges are part of the reason that The Chalmers Center regularly talks about the importance of training volunteers.

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Practical Advice for Churches Interested in Work Readiness Ministry

Restoring people to sustaining work is a key component of poverty alleviation. One of the most effective ways to work toward this is by starting a holistic work readiness ministry.

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The Significance Of Meaningful Work

In 2022, we kept hearing about the “great resignation” and “quiet quitting.” In 2023, layoffs and inflation are the headlines. No matter the year or the economic cycle, there is great need for work that helps restore people to wholeness. But work isn’t just something we have to deal with in a fallen world. It’s part of God’s good design for our dignity as His image-bearers. This goes all the way back to Genesis 1-2, where God created man and woman and placed them in the garden and told them to to subdue the earth—to exercise their creative potential in His good creation through their work.

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Why Life.Church Put a Pause on Missions

Nearly a decade ago, before Life.Church grew into the largest multi-site congregation in the country, the church paused all missions. The church was growing, but their strategy to create local and global impact wasn’t working.

Jeff Galley, Life.Church’s Leader of Life.Missions, knew there had to be a more effective framework for missions, but he wasn’t sure where to start. “There has to be a better approach to serve our communities…we really needed to think differently,” Jeff shared.

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Seed Effect Brings Chalmers’ Principles to Northern Uganda

In 2009, Seed Effect set out with a commitment to bringing Christ-centered economic empowerment to South Sudan. Seven years into ministry, civil war returned to the already fragile country—forcing Seed Effect to rethink their approach as they relocated to Northern Uganda.

With Chalmers’ influence, Seed Effect made a quick pivot—they added a savings-led model—that allowed their members to flourish.

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Restoring Community Through Work

You’d never guess through Tabitha’s bright smile that she was previously incarcerated. When she exited prison, she knew she needed a job, but she didn’t know where to start — because at her core, she didn’t believe she was worthy of a job.

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How Innovate Helped Restore OKC Strengthen Their Existing Programs

Restore OKC is a community development organization in Oklahoma City. They’re “focused on the restoration of health, environment, reconciliation, and equity with neighbors in Northeast Oklahoma City.” For the past 6 years, Restore OKC has been committed to building relationships with the people in their community and working alongside them to bring about transformation.

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Stories of Faithfulness: Learning the Value of Wholeness and Sustainability Through Innovate

Based in central Oklahoma, Branch15 was founded in 2013 to serve women in critical, life-controlling situations. Their mission has always been one of healing and restoration in the lives of their clients. Branch15’s main ministry participants have little to no support systems to address crises, which range from substance addiction to sex trafficking to abusive relationships to incarceration.

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Equipping Ukrainian Church Leaders with HOPE International

Equipping Ukrainian Church Leaders with HOPE International

Last summer, a team from Chalmers’ long standing partner, HOPE International, visited some of the Ukrainian church partners that they had supported in the early months of the war. While encouraged by incredible stories of life-saving relief work, they also detected challenges that often accompany sustained periods of relief: overextended church leaders, dependency from recipients, and frustration from volunteers. 

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Why Use Stories to Teach?

God’s work in the world unfolds to us in the big story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation, and in the individual stories told in Scripture. From the Garden to Noah to Abraham to Moses to David to the promise of the Messiah to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the church to the New Creation, we are so often given God’s truths in narrative, not only in didactic lessons or abstract categories.

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The Chalmers Center | How to Build Developmental Classes that Actually Work

How to Build Developmental Classes that Actually Work

If we’re going to pursue relational poverty alleviation ministry that aims toward long-term development, one of the main outcomes we’re looking for from ministry participants is learning. We want to see the people we’re walking with learn new skills, rediscover their dignity, and grow in their capacity to navigate the complexities of life. 

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Crossing socioecomic lines

Building Empathy Across Socioeconomic Lines

God made the world out of love, and redeems us through His love expressed in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. He made us to enjoy loving relationships with Him, with ourselves, with others, and with the rest of His creation. Because of this, our work to walk with people in material poverty needs to be relational and participatory in nature, working together with people out of love, not merely doing things for them. True relationships are a two-way street. We give and receive.

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Building a Network of Poverty Alleviation Ministry Leaders in North America

Chalmers is opening enrollment for our next Ambassador cohort. Anyone with strong experience in relational poverty alleviation ministry and a solid background in the core principles of When Helping Hurts is welcome to apply to get certified and join our network!

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using your social capital to benefit others

Using Your Social Capital To Benefit Others

One of the key messages of our book When Helping Hurts and the rest of our trainings and resources at the Chalmers Center is that how we give matters most. This means that we often need to give more, but not just money. Long-term, transformative ministry is highly relational, and that means giving of our time, energy, and networks—in short, our social capital.

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Training to Help Your Church or Nonprofit Help without Hurting

During the past 22 years, in addition to publishing books about poverty alleviation, Chalmers has been creating training for use in both the U.S. and the Majority World (of Africa, Asia, and Latin America). These field-tested programs are built on God’s story of change and community development best practices to help you put a biblical framework for addressing poverty into practice.

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How When Helping Hurts Influenced Water Mission

How When Helping Hurts Influenced Water Mission

When Helping Hurts has had a lasting influence on Water Mission. In fact, the organization requires all new staff to read it, from their leadership team to those working directly in the field. It’s critical that every team member, not just program staff, understand these principles and recognize that they do not have all of the answers to “solve” poverty.  

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Pastor Marty

How Pastor Marty Stayed in Ministry

When Pastor Marty transitioned from a bi-vocational pastor to full-time ministry, he wasn’t confident he could live in a financially sustainable way. He wanted to live a life pleasing to God, but he didn’t know how to provide for his family and his church.

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God’s Story of Change: The Fitch Family

From the doctor’s office to the dinner table.

See how Chalmers principles have become woven into the fabric of the Fitch family’s everyday life.

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