Relief or Development?

relief-or-developmentAs an organization and as individuals, we continue to wrestle with best practices to engage material poverty. We continue to rest on these definitions from Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett in When Helping Hurts.

Relief can be defined as the urgent and temporary provision of emergency aid to reduce immediate suffering from a natural or man-made crisis.

Development is a process of ongoing change that moves all people involved – both the helpers and the helped closer to being in right relationship with God, self, others and the rest of creation.

There are times of true emergency, like a landslide, where relief is the proper response. Often, though, North Americans see what would be an emergency situation in their life and want to provide relief which in fact further traps the receivers in a cycle of poverty.

Fikkert and Corbett state,

One of the biggest mistakes that North American churches make- by far- is in applying relief in situations in which rehabilitation or development is the appropriate intervention.

For the Love of Missions is committed to continue to explore the proper approach to material poverty alleviation in each situation God opens the door for our involvement.

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