April 30, 2017

Book Review: Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions

Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions: Leader's Guide, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert with Katie Casselberry is focused on the preparation and debriefing of short-term missionaries to poverty-stricken areas.
In the Introduction on page ten, the authors shared that "this guide is written for short-term teams entering low-income contexts, particularly those where poverty alleviation is being attempted.... Within the general context of two-week trips...this project addresses the elements of STMs [Short-Term Missions] that need to be refined in order to avoid harming low-income communities, to effect change in participants' understanding of poverty alleviation, and to foster increased support for long-term missions and development work."

On page twelve, the authors emphasize that a key element in all short-term mission trips is "to support an organization or ministry that is engaging in effective poverty alleviation. Situating a short-term trip in the context of an organization's long-term work helps prevent certain types of inadvertent harm."

This extensive and informative book is based on the authors' personal reflections and experiences, as well as in-depth research and scripture passages. It's essentially two books in one with the Leader's Guide and then the Participant's Guide with Scripting.

The Leader's Guide is divided into two main parts: A Different Sort of Trip and Implementing a Trip, and within these parts, there are nine chapters. Also, there are the following three sections: Introduction--The Need for This Guide, Suggested Learning Sequencing, and Final Encouragement: Respond, Don't Overreact. Each chapter ends with a Takeaways note to practically follow-up on the material previously discussed.

For convenience, the Participant's Guide is included in the second-half of the Leader's Guide, along with "a separate introduction and some annotations for you to reference as you facilitate each session." The Participant's Guide with Scripting features three main sections: Pre-Trip Training, On- and Post-Field Engagement, and Resource Modules, and within these sections, there are eight units and two modules. Also included is the Introduction: How to Use This Guide and Learning and Engagement Agreement

Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions is a quality resource for churches, mission organizations, Christian universities, and missionaries. Along with this book, there's a corresponding "online video-based study to doing short-term missions without doing long-term harm."

Note: I received this book from Moody Newsroom, which is a program designed for bloggers to write book reviews in exchange for books, yet the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


  1. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the review. 

    slehan at juno dot com

    1. It's a very interesting book! :)