FAQ


About Chalmers

  1. What is the Chalmers Center?
    The Chalmers Center equips churches to walk alongside people who are poor, breaking the spiritual, social, and material bonds of poverty. Visit Who We Are for more information.

  2. What is Chalmers’ relationship to Covenant College?
    The Chalmers Center was originally established as a branch of Covenant’s Department of Economics and Community Development. As Chalmers grew, it became a legally separate non-profit, but it still has close ties with the school. Visit History for more details.

Our Work

  1. Do you do consulting for churches or ministries in the midst of retooling their poverty alleviation approaches?
    No, but thank you for your interest. Chalmers has a small staff for its scope of work, and we are focused on developing new tools for churches to use to alleviate poverty. As a result, it is not feasible for Chalmers to engage in consulting work with individual ministries or churches. We encourage you to work through When Helping Hurts with your ministry or church team, completing the preliminary and closing exercises in each chapter. In addition, consider attending a Helping Without Hurting Seminar to further explore the principles of poverty alleviation.

  2. Do you have any on-site training at your offices or at Covenant?
    We do not offer on-site training at either our offices or Covenant. See US Church Training for opportunities in the US/Canada.

     


Speaking Engagements

  1. I want Brian Fikkert, Steve Corbett, or another Chalmers staff member to come speak at my church or event. How can I arrange that?
    Please visit our Speaking Engagement Requests page for instructions.

User Portal

  1. What is the user portal?
    The user portal is a portion of the site with resources that require an account to view. Creating an account is free. You just have to provide your email, first and last name, and create a password.
  2. What content is in the user portal?
    The portal currently contains:
  3. I have an access code. Where do I enter it?
    • Visit the user portal and either log in or create an account (creating an account is free). Watch this video to see a demonstration.
    • Scroll down past the existing blocks to the "Unlock Access Code" section of the page. Enter an access code in the blank, then click the blue plus symbol to add the related resources. Repeat this step for each access code.
  4. How do I access the Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions videos?
    The videos are only accessible to people who have purchased the book, although you can preview Unit 1 without purchasing the book. To access all the videos once you have the book:
    • Go to the link printed in the “Watch” section of the Participant’s Guide units.
    • When prompted, either log in or create a user portal account.
    • When creating your account, type the code that is printed in the “Watch” section of the unit into the “Unlock Access Code” field
    • If you have already created an account, you can enter the access code on both the welcome screen of the user portal and when editing your account.
    • Once you have entered the code, a link to the videos will appear on the welcome screen of the user portal.
  5. Can I download the Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions videos?
    Due to copyright considerations, the videos are not available for download. We are also unable to sell them on DVD.
  6. How do I access the resources referenced in Helping Without Hurting in Church Benevolence?
    The resources are only accessible to people who have purchased the book. Once you have purchased the book:
    • Go to the link printed at the end of chapter 3, 4, or 5.
    • When prompted, either log in or create a user portal account.
    • When creating your account, type the access code that is printed in the book.
    • If you have already created an account, you can enter the access code on both the welcome screen of the user portal and when editing your account.
    • Once you have entered the code, a link to the resources will appear on the welcome screen of the user portal.
  7. How do I access the resources and materials mentioned in From Dependence to Dignity?
    • Visit the user portal and either log in or create an account (creating an account is free)
    • A link to the resources, "International Microfinance Resources," will appear on the welcome screen of the portal

US/Canadian Faith & Finances Training

  1. What does the registration cost for becoming a Faith & Finances facilitator include?
    Registration includes attendance of the 4-week online course and 2-day live event, as well as breakfast and lunch during both days of the live event. Participants must separately purchase a copy of When Helping Hurts and cover any necessary travel expenses.

  2. Do I have to be living and working in the United States or Canada to participate in the Faith & Finances Facilitator Certification Course?
    Yes. While the online coursework can be completed anywhere with Internet access, the strategies themselves are designed and field-tested around the needs of low-income communities in the US/Canada.

  3. Why do I have to be a Christian to be certified in Faith & Finances?
    The mission of the Chalmers Center is to equip local Christian churches with holistic strategies for reducing poverty. We see poverty not just as a lack of material goods, but also as brokenness in all of our primary relationships (with God, self, others, and the rest of creation). Our training materials are designed to point people to Jesus Christ as one who can help restore these broken relationships. Thus, we seek to partner with people who share these commitments as a framework for poverty alleviation.

  4. What is distinct about Chalmers’ financial education curriculum, Faith & Finances?
    The Faith & Finances curriculum was created specifically for local churches and organizations that want to address the needs of low-income or struggling people through financial education. Faith & Finances is designed to be:
    • Contextualized—created specifically for the everyday realities of financially vulnerable adults who have some level of personal debt, no emergency fund, few budgeting skills, and a net worth near or below zero.
    • Participatory—engages learners through interactive opportunities for participants to share and grow. Facilitators interact through a relational process, not lectures.
    • Streamlined—brings together biblical and technical content seamlessly. A simple but proficient script gives facilitators the opportunity to focus on creating dialogue around crucial financial concepts.
    • Asset-based—assumes that God has given each participant experiences and skills that are essential for learning together.
    • Biblically Integrated—invites participants to move beyond behaviorist “ought-to’s” to draw closer to Jesus and to one another, exploring the role that their finances play in His kingdom.

  5. Who should sign up for the Faith & Finances Facilitator Certification course?
    Facilitators may be staff, volunteers, clergy, or laypersons who are interested in engaging in relational ministry with people who are struggling financially. More important than having a “financial background,” facilitators should be relational and accessible both during and outside of training. The ideal facilitator will have completed at least 2 years of college and successfully managed their own finances for at least five years.

  6. Is there any way to become a facilitator without doing the four-week online orientation? Or, can I become certified without attending the live training event?
    Not at this time. Facilitators need to register for and complete the online part of the course and attend all sixteen hours of the live event training. We try to host live training events in various parts of the country to provide as much access to training as we can.

  7. Why do I have to sign a training agreement?
    The training agreement outlines how facilitators can use and share the curriculum so that the high quality of the learning is upheld. The training agreement also outlines the reporting requirements for facilitators during their two-year certification period.

  8. How can I become a Lead Trainer so I can certify others to facilitate Faith & Finances?
    Taking the Faith & Finances Facilitator Certification course is the first step to becoming a Lead Trainer. Evidence of the successful implementation of a Faith & Finances class is part of the application process to become a Lead Trainer.

US/Canadian Work Life Training

  1. What does the registration cost for becoming a Work Life facilitator include?
    Registration includes participation in the four-week online course and two-day live event. It also includes course materials/guides and breakfast and lunch during both days of the live event. Participants must separately purchase a copy of When Helping Hurts and cover any necessary travel and lodging expenses.

  2. Do I have to live and work in the United States or Canada to become a Work Life facilitator?
    Yes. While the online coursework can be completed anywhere with Internet access, the curriculum is designed and field-tested for the experiences of low-income communities in the US/Canada.

  3. Why do I have to be a Christian to be certified in Work Life?
    Work Life was designed to equip local Christian churches and non-profits with a holistic poverty alleviation tool through jobs-preparedness training. We see poverty not just as a lack of material goods, but also as brokenness in our primary relationships with God, self, others, and the rest of creation. Our training materials are designed to point people to Jesus Christ as the one who can help restore these broken relationships, and the life skills portion of the course is directly derived from our understanding of the biblical story of creation, fall, reconciliation, and re-creation. Thus, we seek to partner with people who share these commitments as a framework for poverty alleviation.

  4. What is distinct about Work Life from other jobs preparedness curricula?
    The Work Life curriculum is designed specifically for local churches or organizations that want to walk with people who are struggling to find, keep, or flourish at work. Work Life is:
    • Contextualized—created specifically for the everyday realities of low-income workers, particularly those facing roadblocks such as:
      1. Low skills or lack of education
      2. Poor work history or criminal background
      3. Multi-generational poverty
    • Participatory—engages learners with interactive opportunities to share and grow. Facilitators lead the class through a relational process, not lectures. Participants are given the opportunity to practice what they are learning within the course itself.
    • Streamlined—brings together biblical and technical content seamlessly. A simple but proficient script gives facilitators the opportunity to focus on creating dialogue around crucial work, life, and biblical concepts.
    • Asset-based—assumes that God has given each participant experiences, skills, gifts, and abilities that are essential for learning together and for their own success on the job.
    • Biblically Integrated—invites participants to move beyond behavioral “ought-to’s” to draw closer to Jesus and to one another, exploring how their work adds value to God’s world.
  5. Who should sign up for the Work Life Facilitator Certification course?
    Running a jobs preparedness ministry requires serious commitment and availability. Churches or organizations must be committed to walking with participants in their actual job search during and after the course ends. If your ministry only has capacity to do the training, but cannot support graduates in their ongoing job search, whether through staff, volunteers, allies, or strategic partners, then you do not have capacity to offer job training.

    For this reason, it is our suggestion that sites have roughly the equivalent of a “half time” (20 hours per week) position committed to spearheading recruitment, facilitation of the class, and follow-up support. While this does not have to be a paid staff person nor even need to be one single individual, serious commitment to walking with job seekers ought to be a pre-requisite for beginning a Work Life site.

    Facilitators may be staff, volunteers, clergy, or laypersons who are interested in engaging in relational ministry with people who are struggling to find, keep, or succeed at work, particularly in contexts of multi-generational poverty. Facilitators should be relational and accessible both during and outside of training. The ideal facilitator will have completed at least two years of college and flourished in the workplace for at least two years.

  6. Is there any way to become a facilitator without doing the four-week online orientation? Or can I become certified without attending the live training event?
    Not at this time. Facilitators need to register for and complete the online part of the course and attend all sixteen hours of the live event training.

  7. Why do I have to sign a training agreement?
    The training agreement outlines how facilitators can use and share the curriculum so that the high quality of the learning is upheld.

International Training

  1. Do you have any online courses or training events for international ministry?
    In order to steward our human resources well and have a deeper impact in a particular region, Chalmers focuses on training church and ministry leaders in specific areas through church-equipping organizations. We no longer offer online training for individuals in the Majority World (Africa, Asia, and Latin Amercia.) However, some of our Restore: Savings training resources are available by creating an account on the user portal.

Miscellaneous

  1. Can I order books from you?
    Unfortunately, because of tax laws, we are unable to sell books. You can purchase them for the same price we would be able to sell them via Amazon.

  2. Is When Helping Hurts available in Spanish?
    The book has been translated into Spanish and we are actively working to release it. Our projected release date is February 2017. When it is available, it will be announced on our website and through social media.

  3. I am interested in doing an internship with the Chalmers Center. What are my options?
    We do not have internships available to the general public.

  4. Can you recommend reputable organizations for me to donate money to that follow the principles of When Helping Hurts?
    We do not make formal recommendations of ministries or organizations that follow the principles described in When Helping Hurts. We encourage you to prayerfully consider the potential organization in light of the following questions:
    • Does the organization recognize the relational complexity of poverty? Or does it see poverty alleviation as primarily about giving material things to the materially poor?
    • Does the organization work through or in conjunction with local churches?
    • Does the organization seem to understand the distinction between relief, rehabilitation, and development?
    • Does the organization seem to apply the principles of participatory, asset-based development?


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