When Helping Hurts


Community development and mission efforts have sometimes caused more problems than they have solved. One of the things that we are learning these days is that the way we go about trying to help is key to whether the results are actually good. The book When Helping Hurts was written by two professors at Covenant College, one of whom is a Dordt College graduate. You can see a review of the book here

A healthier way of going about working with a poor community is illustrated in this video of a World Renew-Classis Quinte connection with the community of Ulungu. It shows a patient seeking after the most important needs in the community.  Instead of assuming that we in the West know best, we must listen to community members carefully. 

A second video that was recently posted, contrasts an earlier medical effort, which did not see the resources within the community with a more recent one that did and does.  The second approach is often a longer road, but it more often gets to the destination of sustainable development rather than something which is dependent on continual outside resourcing. 

These videos come with discussion questions and would be valuable for an adult or adult/teen Sunday school class.

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We love your comments! Thanks for your help upholding the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Steve , did you get your cup of coffee? I gave my coffee card to moderators of the network with  instructions to make sure you got one after we missed conection on your last tour through my area.



Not just the coffee, but the mug for future cups came my way.  Thanks, Steve

I do appreciate you guys and your continued efforts to further God's kingdom.



Community Builder

I just attended a webinar that gave a preview of the 2nd edition of this book which will be coming out in May. Great stuff!

I found the link to the World Renew-Classic Quinte Connection but couldn't find the second video recommended in the blog. It contrasts an earlier medical effort, which did not see the resources within the community with a more recent one that did and does.

Community Builder

Thank you for bringing these broken links to our attention! Here is the updated link for the Ulungu video and discussion guide:


We are unable to locate the second video referenced, but will post an update if we are able to find it.