Savings Groups as Transformational Development

In When Helping Hurts, Brian Fikkert writes, “Development is not done to people or for people, but with people.” He talks a lot about savings groups as an example of good “with” type development. Our friends John and Kate Marsden at Mustard Seeds Shared established one of our favorite savings group programs in the known universe 🙂  So we asked John to share from their experiences doing development with people in Bangladesh. •••••••••• My legs were growing stiff from sitting cross legged on a mat in the shade of a mango tree. Sweat trickled down my back from the sticky heat of a South Asian summer. I was sitting in a circle with fifteen Bangladeshi village women who had been conducting their weekly savings group [...]

By | 2017-09-13T11:16:40+00:00 June 20th, 2017|Categories: Stories, Mobilizing Local Resources|Tags: |

When Helping Hurts: Closing Thoughts

In seminary I had a professor that compared our course work to that of drinking from a fire hydrant. You catch what you can and let the rest flow by. To some degree, that is how When Helping Hurts, was for me the first time I read it. Filled with insightful thoughts and challenges, it gave me much to consider and pray through. As I have continued to try to love the vulnerable in my city I have continually gone back to this book for encouragement and guidance. Not because it has all the answers, but because it steers me towards a biblical reminder of the brokenness that we all face. Sometimes a reminder of how difficult and deep poverty is helps to reset my [...]

By | 2015-08-06T05:30:11+00:00 August 6th, 2015|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

From Paralysis to Relationship

In the second half of chapter 11 of When Helping Hurts, the authors give some practical advice for effectively partnering with communities in the majority world. We love their suggestions. We asked our friend Celeste Brown de Mercado to add her perspective as well, since she was part of a team that facilitated church-community partnerships in Bolivia with Food for the Hungry. •••••••••• […]

By | 2015-08-03T05:30:09+00:00 August 3rd, 2015|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

How Saying NO Can Be An Act Of Grace

I remember about 8 years ago sitting in a Chipotle restaurant with a group of friends after church. We were talking, when a gentleman walked in and asked for money. He said something about his car being broken down on the highway and that he needed some money for something. At first I wasn’t sure what to say, because in my mind I was trying to figure out the validity of his story. I remember telling him that I wouldn’t be able to give him some money but I would be glad to walk to the gas station with him and help him get some assistance. He refused my offer and walked out the door. […]

By | 2015-07-30T05:30:15+00:00 July 30th, 2015|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

Change…1 Inch at a Time

There was a pastor that had worked at a small rural church for many years. During his time there, he had requested from the congregation numerous times the possibility of moving the piano from one side of the platform to the other. Each time his request was met with great resistance. The overwhelming response was always NO! After he retired he came back to visit the church 5 years later and he noticed that the piano was on the opposite side of the platform. Perplexed on how the congregation ever gave permission to move the piano he asked the current pastor “How did you ever get their permission to move the piano?? I tried for years and they always resisted!” The pastor replied: “I never [...]

By | 2015-07-27T05:30:46+00:00 July 27th, 2015|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

The Power of Small Wins

We’ve made it to part four of the book. I, for one, am completely thrilled that Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett added this section. If you only have the first edition then it’s worth getting the second edition to get this section. Chapter 10 is on how people change. I first learnt these ideas through Steve Corbett back in the mid 90s and they shaped the way that we developed our programs. One part of it is principle 3 – Look for early, recognisable success. Or as I would say, small, quick wins. It’s the backbone of our TCT program. Our very first training for poor, rural churches includes challenging them to do Acts of Love – small actions to show God’s love to their [...]

By | 2015-07-23T05:30:40+00:00 July 23rd, 2015|Categories: Stories, Learn and Apply, Truth Centered Transformation|Tags: |

Mary’s Story: From Outlaw to Minister

Chapter 8 of When Helping Hurts begins to look at how we can effectively engage with people who are experiencing poverty in North America. Fikkert points out: For the first time in history, more poor people live in the suburbs than in cities…Hence, many suburban churches now find themselves on the front lines of America’s war on poverty without even realizing it. (page 169) […]

By | 2015-07-20T05:30:40+00:00 July 20th, 2015|Categories: Stories, Learn and Apply|Tags: |

How Churches Can Equip People For Work

In the book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, tells the story of Travis Leach. The summarised version is that Travis had a challenging upbringing. He first saw his father overdose when he was nine. He grew up in a home with little food and even less stability. They moved frequently after landlords evicted them for not paying or having too many visitors coming and going. His mother was arrested for drug possession and prostitution. While his parents survived as functional addicts it wasn’t the most healthy of environments. On the good days his parents were passed out, on the bad they would lurch into a cleaning frenzy. […]

By | 2015-07-16T05:30:51+00:00 July 16th, 2015|Categories: Learn and Apply, From the Directors|Tags: |

Community Outreach: Serving the Working Poor

Though poverty is often seen through the eyes of the homeless or unemployed there are many hard working people in our nation struggling to stay afloat. They are called the “working poor.” The working poor can be defined as: People who spend 27 weeks or more in a year “in the labor force” either working or looking for work but whose incomes fall below the poverty level. [1] Here are a few of their stories: […]

By | 2015-07-13T05:30:11+00:00 July 13th, 2015|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

Short Term Missions: The Gift That Can Keep Giving

Short-term missions (STM) trips. What does that phrase bring to your mind? For most that phrase brings back memories of sleeping under mosquito nets, eating unknown foods and being pricked with immunizations for diseases that sound very scary. (gamma goblin or something like that…aka Hepatitis A) It’s an opportunity to see another part of the world we live in and experience what God is doing in other cultures and through other peoples. For most it represents a spiritual high, an eye-opening experience that changes their perspective forever. But what happens when you return? Can your week of conviction and tears be more than a fantastic memory? Short-term teams (for all the good and the bad) can change your life… if you let them. […]

By | 2015-07-09T05:30:10+00:00 July 9th, 2015|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |
Reconciled World