Ok, so if you’ve read this at all, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of the book “When Helping Hurts” because it explains a lot of the problems we Christians have when it comes to helping people. We think our good intentions are enough… but the sad truth is sometimes even the best intentions can still cause harm to the people we are trying to help (and to ourselves). One of my roles is to prepare short-term teams who come out to help with iThemba, and I am SO excited because I am hopefully going to be able to do some training with our local church here in Hilton, South Africa, about some of this stuff.
But sometimes you just can’t read a book. Sometimes, you want someone to just tell it to you. I understand. Enter THE BEST 20 MINUTE VIDEO ON SHORT-TERM MISSIONS AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TO HIT THE INTERWEBS!
Why I love it:
1. The first part succinctly sums up some of the unasked questions we really should be asking about short-term trips: How are we framing these trips to ourselves and others? Are they really helping? Is it ethical to take a trip for 2 weeks that could pay the salary of 7 local people? We don’t have to stop short-term trips, or feel guilty about them, but how can we fit them into a long-term impact model?
2. Then there is an awesome 3 minute info-graphic explaining how to define poverty. (Hint, it’s not about money, it’s about broken relationships).
3. The second part unpacks a Christian view of poverty as broken relationships, and talks about how we need to make sure our “helping” is really addressing problems and not creating dependency or feeding into a “god-complex” that helpers sometimes get.
If you’re working at a church, if you’re on a missions committee, if you’re remotely interested in poverty and want to help, if you’re going on a short-term trip, or have ever been on one… take 20 minutes and watch this. And if your’e super fired up, you can buy the book (Helping without Hurting in short-term missions) and gain access to ALL the video sessions.
Sometimes things are so good, you can’t just keep them to yourself.