Posts in “Helping Without Hurting”

Five Ways To Empower Older Workers & Volunteers

Five Ways To Empower Older Workers & Volunteers In The Modern Workplace

I became an “older” woman overnight. Let me explain: for fifteen years, I lived in a community with a median age of 65—Naples, Florida. I celebrated my 40th birthday just weeks after moving there.


You’re Not the Hero: Avoiding Paternalism in Short-Term Missions

Healthy, effective approaches to addressing material poverty start by recognizing and celebrating the gifts and resources God has already placed in a community. This can include natural resources, people, families, neighborhood associations, schools, businesses, governments, or individual skills.

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Before You Go: Defining Success in Short-Term Missions

As the summer season approaches, many church groups in the U.S. are preparing for short-term mission trips, whether inside or outside the country. They may be thinking through the details of their plans, making travel arrangements and packing lists and prayer sheets, and raising funds.

From Knowing to Doing

From Knowing To Doing: How Chalmers Ambassadors Are Helping Ministries Incorporate Helping Without Hurting Principles

Earlier this week Justin Lonas, Director of Foundational Products at the Chalmers Center, hosted a webinar with two of our Ambassadors and two ministries they recently served. During the conversation, Justin shared that the basic premise of the Ambassador program is discipleship. Our purpose in training and sending out Ambassadors is to support churches and organizations as they walk alongside and empower people in their community who are facing the challenges of material poverty.

living within your limits building partnerships for ministry

Living within Your Limits: Building Partnerships for Ministry

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!

Chess, Hope, and Poverty in Rural South Africa

Hope, Restoration, and Chess in Rural South Africa

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.

Watermark Health and Chalmers

Flourishing through Holistic Healthcare

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.


Helping without Hurting in Holiday Giving: Moving Beyond Handouts

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.


Understanding Poverty: A Brokenness That Affects Us All

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.

Implications of the four key relationships

Implications of the Four Key Relationships

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.

Medford Gospel Mission

Restored Ministries Restore People: The Story of Medford Gospel Mission

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.

Doing benevolence ministry in your unique context

Doing Benevolence Ministry in Your Unique Context

In our Helping without Hurting in Benevolence Ministry training, we share principles and tools to help you build a ministry that leads to real change. But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every church. In order to create a benevolence program that works for your specific church context, you may need to make adjustments to fit your church’s specific capacity.


Helping End the Orphanage Era

“30,000 Haitian kids live in private orphanages. Officials want to shutter them and reunite families.” This was the headline of an Associated Press article published this summer in over 600 media outlets around the U.S.. It shares how Haiti’s orphanages and children’s homes have long served as a band-aid to more complex problems, such as extreme poverty and lack of access to quality education.


Investing in Change: Helping that Helps

Poverty is a complex issue affecting billions of people around the world. In 2023, the World Bank estimated 3.6 billion people worldwide were living on less than $6.85 per day and over 650 million were living in extreme poverty on less than $2.15 per day 1 If God’s people want to follow the heart of our gracious and compassionate God and take seriously His commands to care for those in poverty (Ex. 23:6, 11; Lev. 19:10, 23:10, 25:35-39; Deut. 15:4-7; Gal. 2:10; James 2:1-7; etc.), we should not let staggering numbers like this pass us by.

Why poverty is more than a lack of material goods

Why Poverty Is More than a Lack of Material Resources

Adapted from When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Ourselves.

Defining poverty is not simply an academic exercise. The ways we define poverty—either implicitly or explicitly—play a major role in determining the solutions we use in our attempts to alleviate that poverty.

Going Beyond the Four Walls of the Church

Going Beyond the Four Walls of the Church: The Impact of Community Ministry

Local churches often make a significant mistake when it comes to helping those in poverty. They sometimes create divisions in their efforts that aren’t really necessary, according to Scripture. When we split up the act of spreading the message of God’s transformative power (evangelism) and the act of serving others or providing practical life skills (service or technical programming), we give the wrong impression that the world is fragmented. We make it seem like God’s work is separate from helping people in need.

Helping People Experience Financial Stability

Helping People Experience Financial Stability

As the Director of Programs for Restoration House in the Knoxville area, Lori Haskell has years of experience working with single moms who find themselves in difficult circumstances, especially when it comes to finances. They want to be financially self-sufficient but often lack the training and support they need to get there.


Mutual Transformation in God’s Family

People are not projects. Please listen to these words and take them to heart. All human beings are made in the image of the living God. This means we are never merely projects defined by our economic statuses, our material possessions, or our vocations, graded on some scale of how well we are doing at life. Rather, we are equal in worth and in dignity, and this is true across race, nationality, age, culture, and gender, etc. In the same way, the church is full of beautiful, broken people gathering together to embrace Jesus’ love and to extend benevolence to all people. Doing benevolence well is an act of love in itself.