Robert Lupton opened an important line of conversation with his book Toxic Charity. The longtime urban minister taught churches to move beyond immediate relief to working on long term solutions to the root causes of poverty. In fact, he says, “Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people.”
His second book on the topic, Charity Detox, offers results-oriented, practical strategies. I recommend both books to all Christians, especially those involved in charitable ministries.
I also recommend Theirs is the Kingdom: Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America. This is a collection of short stories of the people Lupton met while he lived in the impoverished Atlanta neighborhood where he ministered. Stories of heartbreak and hope reveal Lupton's heart and serve as a backdrop for his other books. It is inspirational for folks who work with the urban poor as scripture passages and parables come to life. The other two books demonstrate the how. Theirs is the Kingdom reminds us of the why. It is a quick and worthwhile read.