Editor's note: February's cover package, "The Best Ways to Fight Poverty—Really" (part one, part two), received remarkable numbers of pageviews, praises, and protests. It also provoked responses from many organizations devoted to fighting poverty. Today, leaders of those ministries respond, including World Vision US president Richard Stearns, Samaritan's Purse president Franklin Graham, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford, HOPE International president and CEO Peter Greer, World Relief president and CEO Stephan Bauman, Food for the Hungry workers Greg Forney and Lucas Koach, and TEAR Australia national young adults coordinator Matt Anslow. Also today, Christianity Today senior managing editor Mark Galli, whose article "A Most Personal Touch" led off the February cover package, replies to the ministry leaders.
As an advocate for poverty alleviation, I was grateful for Christianity Today's call to the Church to address global poverty. But I was surprised that in the list of top 10 strategies for poverty alleviation, only one (microfinance) is directly related to job creation.
Ward Brehm, author of White Man Walking, wrote, "The best way to help the poor is to help them not be poor anymore." Wouldn't job creation and employment be the most fundamental part of helping the poor "not be poor anymore"?
Beyond fostering financial independence, job creation challenges the notion that the poor are helpless, powerless, and voiceless. Traditional charity is necessary. But it is never enough to keep the poor off their knees.
Job creation, in contrast, is restoring the God-given dignity of the poor. Employment-based solutions like Christ-centered microfinance—which includes offering not only small loans, ...1