I’m reading When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. It is the book everyone who cares about social ministry is reading. I’m not sure yet what I think about some of the book yet, but much of it is very insightful.
Here’s an example of something I really like: The authors say to avoid paternalism in ministry to those who are experience material poverty. “Do not do things for people that they can do for themselves.” (p.115)
Then they list five types of paternalism–resource, spiritual, knowledge, labor and managerial.
This phrase sums up some good, practical advice for avoiding paternalism: “… just stop talking and listen.” So simple to do but not so easy to do.