I recently read a book written by Robert D. Lupton called Toxic Charity: How The Church Hurts Those They Help and How To Reverse it. I have written a summary of the book which can be found at
There is much that challenges the way will help the poor. He suggests an Oath for Compassionate Service to include the following.
· Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
· Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
· Strive to empower the poor though employment, lending and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.
· Subordinate self-interests to the need of those being served.
· Listen closely to those yo week to help; especially to what is not being said-unspoken feeling may contain essential clues to effective service.
· Above all, do no harm.
Lupton challenges the church on how it does missions.
“Most mission trips and service projects do not:
· Empower those being served
· Engender healthy cross-cultural relationship
· Improve local quality of life
· Relieve poverty
· Change the lives of participants
· Increase support for long-term mission work
…most mission trips and service projects do:
· weaken those being served
· foster dishonest relationships
· erode recipients’ work ethic
· deepen dependency”
These lists come across as highly negative; however he has positive suggestion on how we can do better in his book. I just don’t have space this month to complete the summary. My hope is you would buy the book and wrestle with these issues for your church.