This is not a how-to manual… (it’s a field guide)
We all want to know, "How can I help without hurting in this specific situation?" But there’s no one answer, and there’s definitely no short cuts, but there are key principles—or ministry design principles.
Think of these like the rules an improvising actor learns—the principles are crucial—but the actor must decide how to put them into practice based on the complexities of the situation.
This book contains and explicates 20 ministry design principles developed over decades of observing, studying, and experimenting. They’re in no way perfect, but they represent the very best ideas we have to date for how to do effective poverty alleviation in the kingdom of God.
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About the Author
DR. BRIAN FIKKERT (PhD, Yale University) is the Founder and President of the Chalmers Center at Covenant College, where he has also served as a Professor of Economics and Community Development since 1997. He has published numerous articles in academic and popular journals and is co-author of six books, including the best-selling When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself. Brian and his wife, Jill, have three adult children.
DR. KELLY M. KAPIC (PhD King's College, University of London) is professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, where he has taught since 2001. He has written and edited numerous books, including Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering, which won the Book of the Year Award from Christianity Today in the category of Theology and Ethics.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for A Field Guide to Becoming Whole: Principles for Poverty Alleviation Ministry
I’ve been waiting for a field guide like this, which provides formative stories and tangible best practices to help address brokenness and poverty through the pursuit of personal, communal, and systemic transformation. The biblical concept of becoming whole and intertwined peace is not just a response to these systemic issues but God’s intended hope and call for humanity.–MARY GLENNUrban Studies Affiliate Professor, Fuller Seminary School of Intercultural Studies (and Chaplain for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office)
I’ve been waiting for a follow-up to When Helping Hurts that would give sound, biblical, practical, and replicable counsel to those trying to help marginalized people in our communities. Becoming Whole and A Field Guide to Becoming Whole do not disappoint! Here we have tools that can be used with leaders at every level in the church so that we can do good works that protect dignity, foster productivity, and attend to systemic and spiritual forces that limit human flourishing. Read this and be repaid with wisdom for the work of ministry!–THABITI ANYABWILEPastor of Anacostia River Church (Washington, DC)
With honesty and humility, A Field Guide to Becoming Whole roots out the invisible idol of the American Dream that has seduced many Western Christians and tragically hampered efforts at poverty alleviation. Fikkert and Kapic offer pointed and practical advice, reminding us that God’s kingdom is an upside-down world where the pursuit of wholeness—rather than wealth—honors the inherent dignity and worth of all stakeholders.–ELISSA YUKIKO WEICHBRODTAssociate professor of art at Covenant College
This is one of the most pragmatic and Christ-centered books for anyone engaged in the work to alleviate poverty. Fikkert and Kapic offer a systematic and comprehensive approach based on many years of experience on what to do, and especially what not to do. They identify key practices and offer Ministry Design Principles that will liberate both the helpers and the so-called helped in order to apply God's story in our various ministries.–ALEXANDER JUNProfessor of Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University
I used to hear this cliché in Christian circles, “Those who are heavenly minded are no earthly good.” However, the truth is that heavenly mindedness leads to the most earthly good. That is, those who grasp “God’s goals for human beings and His way of achieving those goals” are positioned on the foundation that will not give way as we strive through the ups and downs of trying to love our materially poor neighbors well. Yet, we still want to know what to do in practice. If that describes you, your church, or your ministry, this is your book. The best theology applies the Word of God to the practical areas of life. Kelly Kapic and Brian Fikkert have done just that in the A Field Guide to Becoming Whole. Chock-full of real-life stories, Scripture, biblical principles, pointed questions and considerations, they have done an invaluable service for those who want to see all of God’s image bearers flourish.–IRWYN INCEPastor at Grace DC Presbyterian Church and Executive Director of the Grace DC Institute for Cross-Cultural Mission