Monday, August 30, 2010

When Helping Hurts - a book review


Have you ever wondered why, with all of the efforts to help alleviate poverty, there is even more poverty today than 20 years ago?  In their game-changing book, When Helping Hurts, Corbett & Fikkert help us better understand the problems associated with relief efforts to the poor and offer us us practical solutions to those problems.

Interjecting real-life examples into their well-reasoned study, they help us unravel the mystery of why so many relief efforts fail to produce lasting results.  They explore the issues behind poverty from a biblical perspective and help us determine which of the 4 primary causes is responsible for each specific instance of poverty.  Once we understand the cause, we can focus our efforts in the right direction so that those efforts produce meaningful and lasting results.  They help us understand why applying a North American solution to a Majority World problem is often a failure and show us how to more effectively capitalize of the assets of the impoverished people for long lasting results. 

Although I've been intermittently involved in short-term missions since I was teenager, recently I've been struggling with how I feel about their effectiveness.  This book has been a tremendous help in refocusing me on the how and why of missions and has challenged me in new ways to help the poor of this world without hurting them or me in the process.