5 Must Read Books for Everyone Going on Mission
“Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation.” (p. 74)
“Does our desire to help those in need cause us to really hurt those in need because we are not thoughtful in our approach to their needs?” This is the difficult question Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert wrestle with in When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself.
When Helping Hurts challenges the western christian community to rethink the way they do missions. They ask churches to embrace relationships over programs, partnership over ownership, collaboration over process, and holistic life change over a handout.
This insightful, challenging book transformed the way our church community participated in missions and outreach. We now require everyone who joins a team to read the book. I will caution you that the first few chapters can be difficult for us non-economists.
The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
“The Blue Sweater” is an fun, vulnerable autobiographical account of Jacqueline Novogratz’s journey from a lucrative corporate banking position to working with women’s groups in Africa. We learn how she combined two of her great passions - banking and philanthropy - to create the Acumen Fund for entrepreneurs in developing nations. This book gives us a glimpse into the author's life while walking us through the challenges of cross-cultural outreach and the realities of globalization.
Robert Lupton is the founder of FCS (Focused Community Strategies) and has 40 years of experience in urban ministries. To get through this book one needs to swallow their pride and open their eyes. The author works hard to paint a clear picture of the toxic impact of both secular and Christian charities on struggling communities, while being understanding that most involved in acts of service strive to do good. From local food pantries and community clean-up to painting buildings half-way across the world, Lupton walks the readers through turning from throwing money or short amounts of time at a problem and investing in long-term relationships that bring about lasting change in everyone involved. “There is no simple or immediate way to discern the right response without a relationship.”
In "Before You Go," experienced short term mission leader and trainer Jack Hempfling takes you on a 40 day journey that will bring you face to face with attitudes and issues that, if not addressed, will make you or your group not only ineffective but toxic on the field. Most teams are good at preparing for the financial and physical efforts of the team but fail to prepare emotionally and spiritually. This book is an amazing tool that should be used in every pre-trip training.
Captain Frost, a commercial fisherman, takes us on dangerous adventures from Cape Horn to Antarctica to the shores of North Carolina and Poland as he describes his journey from a sinking ship of slavery to his maiden voyage of sonship.
He helps us identify our orphan thinking as we look at our counterfeit sources of comfort and affection:
* Passions & Possessions
* Position & Performance
* People & Places
This book by Jack Frost should be required reading for anyone participating in ministry. Our teams all are required to listen to an audio recording of Slavery to Sonship and discussion questions are included in our monthly pre-trip training.