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Taking the First Step in Poverty Alleviation

Taking the First Step in Poverty Alleviation

As followers of Jesus, when we see material poverty in the world around us, our first instinct is often to do something about it. But where should we start? What’s the first step in poverty alleviation?

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Designing innovative solutions to problems

Designing Innovative Solutions to Problems

Have you ever been working on solving a complex problem and felt stuck? You knew there had to be a way forward but you just couldn’t see it? That’s how designing a poverty alleviation ministry can feel. Take the issue of food insecurity as an example. Most people are familiar with a “soup kitchen” model…

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Designing Ministries That Help without Hurting

Since publishing the book, When Helping Hurts in 2009, the Chalmers Center has received countless questions from people who want to know how to create a ministry that helps without hurting.

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The Widespread Impact of Chalmers and ABCD Principles

The Widespread Impact of Chalmers and ABCD Principles

One of Angie’s primary takeaways from When Helping Hurts was the concept of Asset-Based Community Development. For the first time, they started to look for the assets in their community before looking for what was missing.

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Facilitation as Reconciliation: Adult Education and Poverty Alleviation

Facilitation as Reconciliation: Adult Education and Poverty Alleviation

Many poverty alleviation ministries include some type of training for their participants. Of course ministries would want to provide instruction in skills and habits that lead to long-term growth out of material poverty! But we have to be careful—a lecture-based teaching style in which the teacher tries to pour content into students’ brains is not only ineffective but can be harmful in the space of poverty alleviation.

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Why Hanging Out Is Vital to Long-Term Development

Faithful Presence: Why “Hanging Out” Is Vital to Long-Term Development

Adapted from When Helping Hurts, 75-79. Defining poverty alleviation as the reconciliation of people’s four key relationships with God, self, others, and creation shapes the methods our churches or ministries should use to achieve that goal, with major implications for how we choose, design, implement, and evaluate our efforts.  Because every one of us is…

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Helping without Hurting in the Sleeping Quarters of a Rescue Shelter

A story of transformation from one of our partner ministries. When Sylvia Anderson took an interim position at Everett Gospel Mission in Northwestern Washington, she didn’t expect to still be there 20 years later. But the Lord showed her something beautiful about the opportunity to integrate her faith and work in a meaningful way. Today…

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Five causes of poverty demonic forces

The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 5: Demonic Forces

Adapted from Becoming Whole, 181-182; A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 135-39. Throughout this series on the five causes of poverty, the underlying connection between them all is the Fall. Because sin entered the world, our stories and practices are twisted by its effects, and both individuals and groups are broken and can do evil….

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5 Causes of Poverty - Broken Systems

The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 4: Broken Systems

Adapted from A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 119-124. In this series, our most recent post focused on addressing individual brokenness—the factors within a person, including personal choices and beliefs, that can contribute to material poverty. But as we’ve been saying throughout the series, there are both internal and external causes of relational and material…

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The Five Causes of Poverty: Individual Brokenness

The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 3: Individual Brokenness

Adapted from A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 125-134. We’ve been exploring the five causes of poverty in this series of posts, and it’s important to remember that any one of us can be impacted by all five causes—false stories, destructive practices, individual brokenness, systemic brokenness, and demonic forces. These factors are so intertwined it’s…

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The Five Causes of Poverty–Practices

The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 2: Practices

Last week we talked about how God’s story of change focuses on restoring us to our role as priests and rulers. Living faithfully as the royal priesthood and holy nation means that we call on King Jesus to overcome all the effects of the Fall, including all five causes of poverty. Today we’ll look at…

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The Five Causes of Poverty Part 1 Stories

The Five Causes of Poverty—Part 1: Stories

Adapted from A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 17-19, 50-52. Poverty alleviation is fundamentally about transformation—about walking alongside people and communities who are materially poor as they move to a better situation than their present one.  Doing this effectively requires us to know where we are trying to go and how we can get there….

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Partnership Highlight: STCH Ministries

Watch now for an inside look at how God is restoring marginalized communities in San Antonio, TX and beyond.     “Our partnership with The Chalmers Center is a match made in heaven. We have much in common—certainly expanding God’s Kingdom.” –Jimmy Rodriguez, STCH Ministries   With Chalmers’ Faith & Finances curriculum, STCH Ministries is putting…

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Short-Term Missions that Avoid Long-Term Harm—Part 2

Short-Term Missions that Avoid Long-Term Harm—Part 2

Adapted from Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions: Leaders’ Guide, 7-11. Last week, we shared some cautions about the real harm that poorly-thought-through short-term mission efforts can cause. This is a real issue with real-world consequences.  We can’t emphasize enough that churches and ministries from wealthy countries need to work hard to ensure that they…

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Short-Term Missions that Avoid Long-Term Harm—Part 1

Short-Term Missions that Avoid Long-Term Harm—Part 1

Adapted from Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions: Leaders’ Guide, 29-31. Much international travel, particularly to and from countries with limited healthcare infrastructure, has been on hold for the past 2 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As short-term trips begin to become a possibility again, it’s important to remember some best practices for short-term…

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Skin in the Game

Skin in the Game

Adapted from A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 113-115. One of the most challenging elements of any poverty alleviation effort is identifying people who are truly ready to change.  If the goal of poverty alleviation is spirit-led transformation—seeing people restored to who God created them to be—it’s important for us to recognize that sustainable, long-term…

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A Long Walk in the Same Direction

A Long Walk in the Same Direction

Adapted from A Field Guide to Becoming Whole, 107-112. When followers of Jesus describe our relationship with God, we often use the language of a “walk with God” or “Christian walk.” That’s because spiritual growth is not a sudden jolt into greater maturity. Instead, it’s the patient outworking of the Spirit of God in our…

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The Finish Line Podcast When Helping Hurts in How We Give

Helping Without Hurting in Financial Partnership

The Chalmers Center’s Founder and President Brian Fikkert was recently interviewed on the Finish Line Podcast on the topic “When Helping Hurts in How We Give.”  The Conversation covered many themes from When Helping Hurts and Becoming Whole—including understanding when to apply relief, rehabilitation, and development in poverty alleviation as well as how to flip…

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