“Love your neighbor as yourself.” As a body of believers, we sincerely want to express this love to people both near and far. But we’ve also learned that in our desire to help, sometimes we can cause damage we didn’t anticipate. Through prayer, study, and healthy discussion, we’ve developed the following principles to guide us toward an active, compassionate, and helpful way to love our neighbors.
We take our guiding principles from the Bible and When Helping Hurts. We recommend reading both!
1. We are committed to both King & the Kingdom
Caring for the body and soul are equally important.
The great part about the Gospel is that it emphasizes both word and deed, both the King and the Kingdom. As Christ followers, we should be caring for both the body and the soul. We’re committed to communicating the gospel message and also restoring and developing the broken natural and social aspects of communities both locally and globally.
2. We recognize the difference between relief & restoration
We’re working to understand the difference, enabling us to help, not hurt.
Relief is the immediate and temporary provision of emergency (free) aid to reduce immediate suffering from a man-made or natural crisis. Restoration is working with people to restore the positive elements in a community back to their pre-crisis conditions. By recognizing if a project is for relief or restoration helps us determine our approach. We are dedicated to understanding the difference.
3. We partner with other churches + organizations
We can’t do it alone. We’ll make more progress together.
We partner with other organizations that complement our strengths. We understand we all have something to offer, and we’ll team up with groups who specialize in planting churches, offering relief, developing leaders, and developing communities. When finances are involved in our partnership with an organization, financial accountability is important. The organizations we partner with financially will have systems in place to manage the resources and to effectively report on the goals stated at the beginning of the project.
4. We exercise asset-based development
We recognize and affirm what God has placed in others, rather than replacing it.
We value the strengths and gifts already at work in individuals and communities, so we’ll identify assets that can be strengthened rather than identify the problems we feel that we can solve. We’ll begin with questions rather than answers, and we’ll seek to involve others in identifying solutions together rather than applying our own blueprint approach.
5. We recognize our mutual brokenness
Restoration is a two-way street and it happens through relationship.
Poverty is the result of brokenness in our personal lives and in the world around us. It manifests itself in many ways and we all suffer from its effects. For many in the world, poverty results in a lack of material resources. But poverty also manifests in the form of a God-complex, a lack of meaningful relationships, a lack of purpose, materialistic values, and so on.
Because we all experience poverty in some way, we embrace our mutual brokenness and recognize that poverty alleviation and community development should help everyone involved to be more of who God made them to be. In doing so, we will avoid a paternalistic approach to helping others. The playing field is level, and we need each other equally.