Guest / Limited Access /

Until recently, 58 was just a number. In 2011 it became a symbol of justice and possibility. 58—the movie, the book, the website, and the alliance—has focused believers' attention on "a global initiative to end extreme poverty by living out Isaiah 58." If you missed the conversation, check out

One of 58's key ideas is that we have everything we need to end extreme poverty. That claim raises questions best answered by development economists. In this issue, University of San Francisco economist Bruce Wydick reports on which poverty-fighting methods are the most effective. See the expert rankings in "Cost-Effective Compassion".

But there is another side to fighting poverty: high-touch activity that focuses on peoples' need for support and skills, not just public health measures and economic investment. Decades ago, when I chaired the board of a church-based social service agency, I saw this in extreme form. A homeless woman who had been living in a large sedan gave birth in a local hospital. The hospital wouldn't release the little boy until the mother had a proper place to take him, so my wife and I offered our home as temporary shelter. We soon saw that she needed more than a place: She didn't know the first thing about caring for her child. Strangely, we had to teach her things we thought were primal instincts—like picking up and rocking a crying child and talking or singing soothingly to it.

Senior managing editor Mark Galli's essay "A Most Personal Touch" reminds us that there are things the church can do for the poor that are more important—and more uniquely Christian—than raising their standard of living. People need help cultivating life skills, strengths of character, and spiritual ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow to Help Those in Need (Without Treating Them Like Beggars)
How to Help Those in Need (Without Treating Them Like Beggars)
Robert Lupton shares strategies to lift people out of poverty for the long haul.
TrendingHow 1,000 Women Who Aborted Feel About the Local Church
How 1,000 Women Who Aborted Feel About the Local Church
Survey: Two in three evangelicals were attending monthly or more at the time of their first abortion.
Editor's PickGood Behavior Matters After All
Good Behavior Matters After All
How I discovered God's plan to reach a lost and sinful world.
Christianity Today
How to Help
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.