MentorNet #27
Guidelines for Emergency Relief Work

Copyright © 2004 by George Patterson and Galen Currah, January 2005. May be freely copied.
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These guidelines have grown out of observation of relief workers’ activities during disasters in which thousands of persons were left destitute and suffering, due to hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, drought, war and so forth.

1. Disasters bring out the best and worst in people, requiring wise discernment on the part of those who direct relief efforts.

2. Relief efforts coordinated by Christian workers can give better and longer lasting results, if they follow Christian principles.

3. Relief coordinators must clearly discern the difference between emergency relief work and long-term development work, without confusing the two.

4. Poverty fosters greed and requires a spiritual response to overcome it.

5. Missionaries and denominational leaders must give relief to all who need it, and not limit it to their own people.

6., Wise Christian relief and development workers remain alert to opportunities to respond to spiritual needs where they are wanted.

7. Wise Christian relief and development agencies make church planting and reproduction a stated part of their strategy, and they train their workers in methods that work in needy communities.

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