Toxic Charity

Jun 18, 2015  |     |   General

     Last week, Open Door Mission hosted our second Faith Leaders’ Summit, featuring keynote speaker Robert D. Lupton.  Lupton is the author of the bestselling book, Toxic Charity:  How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It).  We hosted three meal meetings for different groups in the Omaha Metro area, the first being specifically for staff.
     The purpose of Faith Leaders’ Summit is always to facilitate conversations between those who truly care about the Heartlands hungry and homeless about relevant and essential issues.  At times, these issues can cause division, but Open Door Mission’s heart is to create an atmosphere where these can be discussed openly, honestly, and encouragingly.
     Lupton’s heart is to change the way non-profits provide aid for their neediest neighbors.  Instead of handouts that enable and create dependency in our communities, he encourages the re-thinking of systems with a focus on empowering people.
     One of Lupton’s points that really stuck with me was that each person has a sense of dignity.  Often, Rescue Missions require their residents to earn their room and board in one way or another, ranging from working around campus to paying rent.  The thinking behind these can be harmful.
     Rather than expecting people to earn their stay, staff should see that each person has a desire to provide for her or himself.  That is how God created us.  We are not meant to simply receive without doing meaningful work.  If we shift our thinking in this area, how could it impact our residents?
     I am grateful to work at a Rescue Mission where progress is valued.  Our leaders recognize that we can always improve, and that it is essential to grow as our society grows.  Asking hard questions, having difficult discussions, analyzing programs and regulations—all of these actions create a thriving, growing, adaptable non-profit.

     What are your thoughts on these issues?  Speak your mind in the comment section below!

Beatrice Krause
Marketing Coordinator