A Different Paradigm for Social Justice

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Throughout God's Word, the Lord calls His people to take care of the widow, the poor, and the alien. The way that the church approaches that responsibility, both at home and globally, takes on many forms. Peter Greer has authored several books including Mission Drift and The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty. He serves as President and CEO of HOPE International, a global nonprofit organization focused on alleviating both physical and spiritual poverty. In this video, Peter shares four core beliefs of HOPE and what sets their approach apart from other conceptions of charity.

The Four Core Beliefs of HOPE International:
  1. Charity is broken.
  2. Job creation is a proven way out of financial poverty.
  3. You can gain the whole world, yet lose your soul.
  4.  Do one thing – and do it well.

Peter claimed that the type of relief appropriate in a short-term disaster response scenario will ultimately lead to undermining development over time, creating dependency and entitlement. Do you agree with his assessment? Why or why not?
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The old adage, "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime" comes close to describing what HOPE International seeks to accomplish. In your efforts to minister to needy populations, whether at home or abroad, how can you incorporate a focus on sustainability, not just on meeting immediate needs?
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Peter noted that a person can have a job and economic process, but lead a miserable life. At its heart, poverty is about relational brokenness—separation from God and others. How is any effort to offer aide incomplete without offering the hope of the gospel? How do you incorporate gospel proclamation into your ministry to the needy?
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Peter spoke about some of the unintended negative consequences of short term mission trips. Take a moment and write some of the positive aspects of short term missions (both for participants and the communities served). How do you think those positive aspects can be maintained while avoiding the negative consequences that Peter stated?
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Whether you are involved in mercy ministries on a vocational or support level, it is important to ask whether your help is actually hurting. Does the work you do/support simply meet felt needs, or provide a means for a lasting and sustainable change? Does the hope you desire to deliver terminate on physical needs, or are you also delivering a gospel that brings everlasting hope?

If you would like further information about Peter Greer and HOPE International, visit their website, www.hopeinternational.org.