Posts in “When Helping Hurts”

People and Processes Over Projects and Products

The goal of poverty alleviation is to see people restored to being who God created them to be. We want to see people understand that they are created in the image of God with the gifts, abilities, and capacity to make decisions and to effect change in the world around them. We want to see people steward their lives, communities, resources, and relationships in order to bring glory to God. In short, we want to see them become people who enjoy flourishing in their relationships with God, self, others, and creation. These changes tend to happen in highly relational, process-focused ministries more than in impersonal, product-focused ministries.


Praying for Transformation Together

Because all of us are suffering from brokenness in our foundational relationships with God, self, others, and creation, we all need “poverty alleviation,”—just in different ways. As men and women engaged in the work of poverty alleviation, our relationship to those in material poverty should be one in which we recognize that all of us are broken and that all of us need the blessing of reconciliation. Our perspective should be less about how we are going to “fix” those in material poverty and more about how we can walk together, asking God to bring healing to us all.


Seeking the Welfare of Augusta

How do we reach the whole of our city? Jesus is redeeming all things, so how do we lean into that and build relationships in every sector? 

repenting of the prosperity gospel

Repenting of the Health-and-Wealth Gospel: Lessons from Kibera

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.

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.

biblical framework four key relationships

A Biblical Framework for Poverty: The Four Key Relationships

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.