For over a decade, Chalmers has worked in West Africa to launch RESTORE savings group ministries that have helped people living in extreme poverty to experience healing, peace, and freedom through restored relationships with God, self, others, and creation. This work allows us to speak from a place of experience and authenticity as we partner…
Over the years, I’ve had conversations with hundreds of ministry leaders who reflect on how, in the early years of their work with the materially poor, they did as much harm as good.
If we want to see an end to material poverty, we need a clear vision of what this looks like. Just as our diagnosis of the causes of poverty shapes the remedies we pursue, so too does our idea of the ultimate goal of poverty alleviation.
In the heart of Nairobi, Kenya, lies one of Africa’s largest slums—Kibera. Conditions there are harsh. People live in makeshift structures, surrounded by open ditches filled with human and animal waste. Opportunities for jobs and education are severely limited, as is access to healthcare, food, and clean water.
As you begin working on launching or refining a church benevolence or other community development ministry plan, you’ll quickly discover you can’t do it alone. Your church or organization can’t provide everything that everyone is going to need on this journey, nor should it!
Over a decade ago, Ruan and his family moved from Cape Town to the village of Zithulele in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, just miles away from the place Nelson Mandela was raised. His wife had secured a job as a physician at a local hospital and he was looking forward to working in youth ministry.
He read When Helping Hurts soon after his arrival, but over the next five years, he made many of the mistakes he read about. Despite hosting many Bible studies, outreach teams, and events – all of the things he brought with him from westernized Cape Town – they still weren’t seeing transformation in their rural village.
We don’t often connect our work in fighting poverty (and economic life more generally) with our worship of the living God. But we should. When the collection plate is passed around in a church service, pastors often try to connect the dots to how our giving is part of worship. But it doesn’t always register with us.
How a relational and biblical approach to financial education transforms more than just budgets.
Epiphany also reminds us that our gifts (assets, skills, experiences, and callings) are rightly offered up as worship to the King of Kings. All the ministry efforts we undertake will fall flat if we seek to serve others for our own sake. We can truly love our neighbors as ourselves when we connect our love and service for others with our worship of the God who created us both and who sustains us all.
The longing of Advent infuses our work at the Chalmers Center. Our mission is to help God’s people rethink poverty and respond with practical biblical principles so that all are restored to flourishing.
In many Ghanaian communities, families living in material poverty find themselves forced to send their children to the city to work menial jobs to make ends meet.
Inspired by our book, When Helping Hurts, Watermark Health, a nonprofit affiliated with Watermark Church, has designed its three clinics to instill value and promote dignity among their patients. The majority of their patients are uninsured and from marginalized communities who otherwise lack access to adequate medical resources. Located near a large refugee resettlement area, their original clinic has had patients from 123 countries.
As the holidays approach, many churches and nonprofits undertake large-scale food and resource drives, attempting to tap into the spirit of abundance and generosity that characterizes Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations in North America.
Tearfund first partnered with Chalmers in Burkina Faso in 2018, and since then our partnership has expanded to Côte d’Ivoire and Chad, reaching over 18,500 people.
Have you ever stopped to ponder the question, “What does it mean to be poor?” If poverty is rooted in the brokenness of the four key relationships, then the answer becomes clear: we are all affected by poverty. Because of the comprehensive nature of the fall, every human being experiences a form of poverty, a lack of fulfillment in the four key relationships—with God, ourselves, others, and creation. We’re unable to be what we were created to be and miss out on the joy that God intended for these connections. We’re like “square pegs in a round hole,” not quite fitting because we were shaped for something else.
In a previous post, we explored the significance of the four key relationships human beings are created to enjoy—with God, self, others, and creation. These relationships shed light on the complexity of human beings and help us unlock pathways toward effective poverty alleviation.
Bryant Myers, a leading Christian development thinker, argues in Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development that in order to effectively address material poverty, we need to consider the fundamental nature of reality, starting with our triune God as the Creator of that reality. God, eternally existing as three-in-one, is inherently relational, and as beings made in His image, we too are inherently relational.
Fourteen years ago, when Jason Bull accepted a position as an Associate Director of Medford Gospel Mission, he realized he needed to learn how to faithfully operate a nonprofit ministry. He remembers, “I didn’t know anything about nonprofit management or working with a board of directors. I had to educate myself!” He began reading various books to sharpen his ability to lead the organization and to faithfully serve the homeless community of Medford, Oregon.