Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Here's an excerpt from a great book I've been reading, When Helping Hurts.
Consider the familiar case of the person who comes to your church asking for help with paying an electric bill. On the surface, it appears that this person's problem is a lack of material resources, and many churches respond by giving this person enough money to pay the electric bill. But what if this person's fundamental problem is not having the self-discipline to keep a stable job? Simply giving this person money is treating the symptoms rather than the underlying disease and will enable him to continue with his lack of self-discipline. In this case, the gift of the money does more harm than good, and it would be better not to do anything at all than to give this handout. Really! Instead, a better--and far more costly--solution would be for your church to develop a relationship with this person, a relationship that says, "We are here to walk with you and to help you use your gifts and abilities to avoid being in this situation in the future. Let us into your life and let us work with you to determine the reason you are in this predicament" (p. 55).
This is a powerful and paradigm shifting paragraph. And I love it! This is exactly what Nativity's Missions are about locally, nationally and internationally -- entering into relationship with people and helping them to help themselves, restoring their relationships with God, with themselves, and within their own communities. It's all about relationships.

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