The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty

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9780310293590: The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty

A compelling call to carry God’s mercy and compassion to the hurting people of this world This eminently practical book by two leading experts in the field of poverty reduction offers a clear plan to help ordinary Christians translate their compassion into thoughtful action. Authors Peter Greer and Phil Smith draw on their personal experiences to provide proven solutions for effectively reducing poverty. With photographs by Jeremy Cowart included throughout, The Poor Will Be Glad examines the pitfalls of traditional approaches and outlines a new model of economic development aimed at breaking the cycle of dependency. Through microfinance and employment-based solutions, people who share God’s heart for the poor can reorient their efforts from giving handouts to offering a hand up, helping others provide for their families and regain their dignity. This book provides straightforward guidance for individuals and groups eager to carry God’s justice, mercy, and compassion to the hurting people in our world.

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About the Author:

Peter Greer holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School and a BS from Messiah College. He is the president of HOPE International, a global faith-based microfinance organization serving hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in fourteen countries. A frequent lecturer and a featured panelist at Harvard’s International Development Conference, Peter and his wife, Laurel, live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with their three children.



Phil Smith, who holds an M.B.A. from the University of Tulsa and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University, is a philanthropist and private investor who sits on the boards of publicly-traded Eagle Rock Energy Partners, L.P. and three private companies. He is the coauthor with Eric Thurman of A Billion Bootstraps: Microcredit, Barefoot Banking, and the Business Solution for Ending Poverty. Phil and his wife, Shannon, live in Tulsa, OK, with their four children.

Review:

It’s unusual to discover an engaging, detailed and affecting manual delineating a Christian approach to alleviating global poverty. That’s what Greer and Smith have given readers in this resource-rich guide to how individuals, businesses, churches and denominational groups can use the basics of microfinance---the provision of financial services to the poor---to partner with communities and find “employment-based solutions with proven results for effectively reducing poverty and extending the kingdom of God.” Greer, president of the Christian relief organization HOPE International, and Smith, a retired businessman and philanthropist, are enthusiastic realists, aware of the challenges facing those who are severely poor; the difficulties, new skills and patience required in churches that want to be catalysts for change; and the complexities of partnering with corporations that may have other, sometimes conflicting, agendas. The book works in large part because of the real-life experience, passion and dedication that both men, who write different chapters, bring to the table. Their biggest achievement may be helping to push skeptical readers off the fence about the potential of religiously funded microfinance---and giving interested parties plenty of practical tools to get started. (Nov.) -- Publisher’s Weekly

“Leading an organization that continually seeks the balance between word and deed, I greatly appreciate the authors’ passion for addressing both physical and spiritual needs. Christ-followers are called to love the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves. That means recognizing that people need bread and the Bread of Life, water and Living Water. It’s a both/and, not either/or.” -- Kevin Palau

“Peter and Phil have given us very practical examples, stories, and solutions for how to best be part of the fight against poverty around the world. And not only solving issues of poverty, but providing hope and a future for children, families, communities, and entire countries. Join the revolution! Not just because you want to, but because it’s our mandate.” -- Brad Lomenick

“[Microfinance is] changing things on a massive scale. And every one of us can be a part of it. For a small amount of money, entire families can be empowered to create new tomorrows.” -- Rob Bell

“Rarely has the debate over how to effectively confront poverty been more open to fresh thinking. This book by Peter Greer and Phil Smith offers a timely and compelling road map for bringing true relief to those who suffer. Through a winning combination of facts and stories, Greer and Smith make a convincing case that the poor are close to God’s heart and thus promoting justice for the poor is not optional for people of faith. The reader will find a solid case for appreciating the spiritual as well as physical dimensions of poverty and learn how effective compassion requires lovingly partnering with the poor through employment-based strategies in order to achieve their own independence. This is a must read.” -- Don Eberly, Author

“Rather than merely observing poverty and suggesting conceptual solutions, Peter Greer and Phil Smith have offered their lives as answer to the prayers of the poor. With innovative approaches saturated in authentic love, they humbly reflect on their journey to God’s heart in the forgotten parts of a suffering world. Thoughtful, honest, courageous, and idealistic in all the best ways, The Poor Will Be Glad certainly is a sign of life.” -- Christopher L. Heuertz, Author

“What a needed book! In a relational, story-based way, Peter and Phil help us learn more about microfinance and other employment-based solutions to the problem of world poverty. As we see the church awakening more than ever to issues of social justice, this book is arriving at just the right time.” -- Rebecca St. James, Author

“The Poor Will Be Glad is a life-changing book that aids the reader in discovering that the path to greatness is found in serving others. The book enlightens us to the fact that often the naive do the exact opposite or wrong thing to help the poor. Authors Peter Greer and Phil Smith present us with the roadmap, using microfinance, to wipe poverty off the earth.” -- Scott A. Heintzelman, Author

“As Peter Greer and Phil Smith say, ‘Helping people improve their incomes should be integrated with ways of improving their spiritual lives.’ That thought must be grasped, practiced, and repeated in our thinking, speaking, and writing if those in need are to get genuine help.“ -- Glenn J. Schwartz, Author

“The Church is waking up to the issue of deep poverty with a renewed call to release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. But what do we do with that newfound passion? Peter and Phil encourage and educate, but they don’t pull punches about the pitfalls of our naiveté in The Poor Will Be Glad. Read it, and you and your church will be better equipped to contribute to God’s work among the poor.” -- Patrick J. Kelley, Director

“My friends Peter and Phil have written a book about respect---not pity. They have not written a book about money---but about discovering value in hidden places with explosive benefits for individuals, families, and entire countries.” -- Fred Smith, President

“The next step on your path to helping the poor to be made glad should be reading this book! Peter Greer and Phil Smith provide a comprehensive landscape of opportunities and practical next steps that is certain to add joy and fulfillment to every follower of Christ who is willing to put this book’s contents into practice.” -- Todd Engelsen, President

“Phil Smith and Peter Greer capture the essence of serving the poor in a holistic manner through time-tested solutions, where the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel go hand in hand. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the devastating issues surrounding poverty in all of its forms.” -- David Valle, President

“The authors bring profound understanding to one of the greatest challenges throughout all of time. With an understanding of cultures coupled with intellectual strength, this book singularly defines practical and successful ways ordinary people can help fight poverty around the world. This book can affect systemic change and make a lasting difference in the world by changing the way leaders think.” -- Peter W. Teague, President

“[The Poor Will Be Glad is] an essential handbook for all local churches considering embarking into the mission of microfinancing. Peter and Phil tell us how to do something about the ‘hole’ in our gospel.” -- Gene Wood, Founder

“With the recent surge of interest in microfinance as a way to combat poverty, many Christians may have trouble separating truth from hype. Peter Greer and Phil Smith---two experienced microfinance practitioners---have made an extraordinary contribution with this eminently readable fusion of biblical wisdom and practical experience. Their candid evaluation of microfinance does not gloss over its challenges but demonstrates how Christians can prudently use it as a tool to take on the root causes of poverty. Every congregation seeking to get involved in microfinance should read this book. And Christian leaders in business and finance will appreciate it as a high-level primer on how they can apply their professional skills toward the advancement of God’s kingdom.” -- Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, Founder and Director

“The Poor Will Be Glad makes an excellent case that we need to be concerned with financial poverty and spiritual poverty and that the two are often best addressed together. Christian relief organizations need to be ever vigilant for opportunities to create a culture of dignity rather than dependency, and this book shows how to make it happen. Worldwide missions will never be the same.” -- Henry Kaestner, Chairman

“The present age is a truly unique historical moment. The richest people ever to walk the face of the earth co-exist with billions living in conditions not fit for creatures bearing the image of Almighty God. How are Christians to respond to this crisis? Drawing on their many years of experience in microfinance, Peter Greer and Phil Smith challenge readers to join God’s mission of making the poor glad through restoring them to sustainable work. This book is a timely and prophetic word, combining solid theology, best practices, and deeply moving stories from the frontlines. Do not just read the book. Join the revolution.” -- Brian Fikkert, Executive Director

“The Poor Will Be Glad is an honest, insightful, and practical resource forged from the vast experience of the authors, who deeply care about seeing people lifted from poverty. I am grateful to have this book in my hands and know it will add wisdom to all those who have joined the revolution.” -- Chuck Bentley, Chairman and CEO

“The journey through the pages of this book will open your eyes and challenge many issues the West has believed about solving world poverty. The Poor Will Be Glad confronts the traditional approach of creating dependency and offers real solutions to make poverty history.” -- Tom Davis, Chairman and CEO

“The elevation of Muhammad Yunus as a Nobel Prize-winning microfinance entrepreneur has many heads turning toward small loans as a solution for those seeking to escape extreme poverty. Peter Greer and Phil Smith do us a favor by reminding us just how bad poverty is, how powerful appropriate financial empowerment can be, and where God and his church are in all this. A helpful companion for those looking to expand the impact of their giving for the sake of God’s Kingdom.” -- Steven W. Haas, Vice President

“This book illustrates integrated solutions to spiritual and physical poverty with clarity and conviction. A must-read as we critically consider biblical stewardship of our resources.” -- David Weekley, Businessman amd Philanthropist

“Most Christians recognize the biblical mandate to care for the poor. But doing good doesn’t always really help. With biblical insight, economic savvy, realism, and loads of wisdom, Greer and Smith point to a paradigm that can empower the least among us. The Poor Will Be Glad holds forth a promise that can live up to its title. This is must-reading for church mission committees, development workers, and anyone who wants to truly make a difference in the face of poverty. Moreover, Greer and Smith rightly believe that physical poverty and spiritual poverty can be addressed together without losing the integrity of the other.” -- Dennis Hollinger, President and Professor

“Peter Greer and Phil Smith have integrated spiritual assistance with physical assistance of the impoverished. Whether the reader is a student, social entrepreneur, or philanthropist, The Poor Will Be Glad will show how to personally help God’s beloved poor work their way out of poverty and grow closer to Jesus. It shines the light on how to avoid unintentional harm to the poor and how to provide sustainable improvements and dignity in their lives.” -- Chris Crane, CEO

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