Dive deeper into development: a recommended reading list

By Jeff Palmer, CEO on October 4, 2017 | Print

If you’ve read posts about community development on the BGR Blog and want to dive deeper, look no further. CEO Jeff Palmer has compiled a list of recommended reading. Have you read other books on these topics? Tell us in the comments below!


Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis

By Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens, and Dr. Issam Smeir
We can’t ignore the refugee crisis—arguably the greatest geo-political issue of our time—but how do we even begin to respond to something so massive and complex? In Seeking Refuge, three experts from World Relief, a global organization serving refugees, offer a practical, well-rounded, well-researched guide to the issue.

Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age

By David Platt
David Platt shows Christians how to actively take a stand on such issues as poverty, sex trafficking, marriage, abortion, racism, and religious liberty―and challenges us to become passionate, unwavering voices for Christ. Drawing on compelling personal accounts from around the world, Platt presents an unapologetic yet winsome call for Christians to faithfully follow Christ into the cultural battlefield in ways that will prove both costly and rewarding.


Tough Choices: Facing the Challenge of Food Scarcity (Worldwatch Environmental Alert)

By Lester R. Brown
This book assesses the current food scarcity situation and proposes steps that can be taken to expand food production and buy additional time to stabilize population. Part of the Worldwatch Environmental Alert series.

The Hole in Our Gospel Special Edition: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World

By Richard Stearns
What Does God Expect of Us? Is our faith only about going to church, studying the Bible, and avoiding the most serious sins—or does God expect more? Have we embraced the whole gospel or a gospel with a hole in it? Fifteen years ago Rich Stearns came face-to-face with that question as he sat in a mud hut in Rakai, Uganda, listening to the heartbreaking story of an orphaned child. Stearns’s journey there took much more than a long flight to Africa. It took answering God’s call on his life, a call that tore him out of his corner office at one of America’s most prestigious corporations—to walk with the poorest of the poor in our world.

Community Development

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself

By Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good.

Preach and Heal, A Biblical Model for Missions

By Charles Fielding
Can you imagine what would happen if we started mixing doctoring and church planting together? In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus sent His disciples to preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick. Jesus practiced both. Preach and Heal explores the ideology and practical ways for balanced ministry so that you can effectively reach the lost.

Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor

By Robert D. Lupton
Lupton assesses how urban ministry is changing and offers thoughtful, compelling answers to questions like: How can we prepare for effective ministry to the least of these?

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It

by Robert D. Lupton
Veteran urban activist Robert Lupton reveals the shockingly toxic effects that modern charity has upon the very people meant to benefit from it. Toxic Charity provides proven new models for charitable groups who want to help—not sabotage—those whom they desire to serve.

Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results

by Robert D. Lupton
What would charity look like if we measured it by its ability to alleviate poverty and needs?
That is the question at the heart of Charity Detox. Drawing on his many decades of experience, Lupton outlines how to structure programs that actually improve the quality of life of the poor and disenfranchised. He introduces many strategies that are revolutionizing what we do with our charity dollars, and offers numerous examples of organizations that have successfully adopted these groundbreaking new models. Only by redirecting our strategies and becoming committed to results, he argues, can charity enterprises truly become as transformative as our ideals.

Community Development Methods

Participatory Workshops: A Sourcebook of 21 Sets of Ideas and Activities

By Robert Chambers
This sourcebook is for all who work with others on participatory learning and change. Written in a spirit of critical reflection and serious fun, it provides 21 sets of ideas and options for facilitators, trainers, teachers and presenters, and anyone who organises and manages workshops, courses, classes and other events for sharing and learning ideas.

Methods for Community Participation: A Complete Guide for Practitioners

By Somesh Kumar
This book combines the concept, practice and application of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) in a comprehensive manner. The author views PRA as a means of opening up new ways of approaching various problems within the development process.

Poverty and Development

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine? Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Acemoglu and Robinson show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it).

The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution

By Barry Asmus and Wayne Grudem
The whole world has a stake in the war against poverty and leaders across the globe are looking for a permanent solution. That’s why economist Barry Asmus and theologian Wayne Grudem have teamed up to outline a robust proposal for fighting poverty on a national level. These two experts believe the solution lies in a comprehensive development plan that integrates the principles of a free market system with the Bible’s teachings on social ethics.

Health Care

Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, Revised Edition

By David Werner, Carol Thuman, and Jane Maxwell
Useful for health workers, clinicians, and others involved in primary health care delivery and health promotion programs, the manual provides practical, easily understood information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common diseases. Special attention is focused on nutrition, infection and disease prevention, and diagnostic techniques as primary ways to prevent and treat health problems.

When Healthcare Hurts: An Evidence Based Guide For Best Practices In Global Health Initiatives

By Greg Seager
How to serve individuals overseas in a health care capacity without creating dependency or other problems.

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Chuck Kemp 6 years ago

Thank you so much for putting together this list! I am excited to pursue some of these books and read them.

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