The Healthiest Way to Give

Today I’m going back to one of the most basic lessons about poverty–one that everyone needs to understand but very few people actually get. It’s the infamous issue of dependency. Listen to this 20-minute episode to become an instant expert on the topic… or at least to get started with what you need to know. Cambodia I also took some time to address the question that everyone seems to ask: What should I do instead? It’s not hard to avoid dependency—it’s really not!—after you grasp a few basic concepts. Let me know what you think of this episode. What else would you add?

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Today’s episode is one of our foundational episodes on the theology of poverty. You can teach this material at your church by downloading our four-week curriculum free of charge.

PU 045: Six Steps to End Poverty (Laying the Foundation #4)

Why do people remain poor?

This episode addresses six obstacles to positive change for people living in poverty. When all six of these obstacles are lifted, the change process can occur.

  1. Lack of education
  2. Lack of resources
  3. Human sinfulness
  4. Satanic deception
  5. Lack of supportive people
  6. Presence of opposition

When I explained this lesson to my 5- and 6-year-old daughters, here’s the language they understood for describing the six obstacles.

  1. No school
  2. No money
  3. Sin
  4. Satan
  5. Nobody helping
  6. Mean people

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PU 044: Three Mistakes to Avoid in Short-term Missions

Good intentions aren’t always enough in missions. When churches and individuals go on short-term teams to communities in developing countries, they need to think carefully about the messages they send – not just verbally, but also through their actions. In this interview, Steve Corbett shares three mistakes to avoid when participating in short-term missions.

Other topics in this interview include the distinction between relief and development, choosing asset-based development rather than need-based development, and investing missions money wisely.

Steve Corbett is a featured speaker at Summit 2010. He is an Assistant Professor of Community Development at Covenant College and serves as a Distance Learning Trainer for the Chalmers Center. Steve Corbett co-authored When Helping Hurts with Brian Fikkert.

 

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PU 043: Preventing AIDS Among Women

World AIDS Day is December 1, 2009. In this interview, Carolyn Wetzel shares the story of 36 African women who turned away from prostitution when they were shown a way out.

Carolyn Wetzel is Health Programs Coordinator for Food for the Hungry. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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Change for Life is a new way to bring hope to those suffering from the AIDS crisis, one of the most severe health problems the world has ever faced.

When you get involved with Change for Life, Food for the Hungry will provide your church, Sunday School class, workplace or other group with small containers to collect spare coins for six weeks. As the containers fill up, the accumulation of pocket change will fund programs like the one Carolyn discussed on today’s episode. Get started here.

PU 039: When Helping Hurts

I had the opportunity to interview Brian Fikkert, co-author of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor… And Yourself.

In this conversation, Fikkert discusses…

  • Diagnosing the causes of poverty
  • How Western materialism has infected Christians’ work among the poor
  • How Christians can use their gifts to do meaningful ministry
  • Ministering out of brokenness

Dr. Brian Fikkert is Associate Professor of Economics and the founder and Executive Director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College.

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PU 038: Ideas Matter (Laying the Foundation #3)

In this third foundational episode, we look at the roots of poverty. If we provide food, health, and education to people living in poverty, will we solve the problem? Or does poverty run deeper?

Key thoughts:

  1. Our understanding of how life works must be defined by God. (Romans 12:2)
  2. When we don’t listen to what God says about how life works, poverty happens somewhere. (Matthew 12:33-35)
  3. Our quality of life is based on the behaviors of ourselves and those around us, and those behaviors are ultimately rooted in beliefs and values.
  4. We must address the root causes of poverty—beliefs and values—in order to make lasting change.
  5. Before pointing fingers, American Christians should examine our own alignment to biblical values.

Mentioned in this episode:

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PU 036: Church Partnerships

Alisa Schmitz answers questions about church partnerships. When a church in the U.S. partners with a community in the developing world, life change occurs on both sides of the relationship. The overseas community can be released from poverty, and the U.S. church can also learn and grow. Ultimately, church partnerships exist to bring about the Kingdom of God.

In this episode…

  1. The goal of long-term church partnerships
  2. Preparation for short-term mission trips and ongoing relationships (Matthew 10:9-10)
  3. Honoring the people we are serving (Ruth 2:15-16)
  4. Keys to ongoing, vibrant relationships

Learn more about Community-2-Community partnerships – long-term relationships between American churches and communities in the developing world.

Alisa Schmitz is Senior Director of Global Engagement at Food for the Hungry.

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PU 033: Why We Ship Goods Overseas

Questions and answers about gifts in kind. Are handouts ever appropriate in community development?

Andrew Crawford and Cameron Calabrese work for Gifts in Kind Resources at Food for the Hungry, a department that handles non-cash items going to other countries. In this interview we discuss if and when “handouts” are appropriate, a case study in charging a small amount rather than offering a handout, and Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda. Andrew and Cameron ask, “When was the last time you thought about Bangladesh?”

E-mail Cameron to learn more about shipping costs.

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PU 008: Dependency

Today we look at how we can minister to the poor without taking over their lives, their communities, and their goals. There is a line between healthy reliance on other people (Galatians 6:2) and unhealthy dependency. Handouts send messages beyond the goal of charity. Playing God in the lives of the poor leads to a misunderstanding of who God really is.

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Ready for the next episode in the Theology of Poverty series? Go to the menu here.

Today we look at how we can minister to the poor without taking over their lives, their communities, and their goals.

The line between healthy reliance on other people (Galatians 6:2) and unhealthy dependency

Handouts send messages

Playing God in the lives of the poor

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PU 005: The Transformation Toolkit

Four simple tools that facilitate holistic development.

This episode features four tools to facilitate holistic development. These approaches are practical methods based on the foundational material from previous episodes. They can be used on a daily basis anywhere from villages in Peru to housing projects in Chicago.

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Ready for the next episode in the Theology of Poverty series? Go to the menu here.