A doctor can make two mistakes when you are sick: only treating the symptoms of your condition, rather than the underlying causes, or misdiagnosing you. In both cases, you won’t get better. But you might even get worse. The same is true in our efforts to help the poor. If we only treat the symptoms of poverty or if we misdiagnose its root causes, we can actually hurt the poor in our well-intentioned efforts to help them.
Thus, part of Chalmers’ work in equipping the church to empower the poor involves shifting the way churches think about poverty – and how to alleviate it. Through resources like When Helping Hurts, the Chalmers Center is moving churches toward a healthier framework of engaging with low-income communities.