Development has several meanings.
The first one that comes to mind for me is a piece of property being developed. Another common use is personal development or team development. In the non-profit sector the term development refers to fundraising or developing relationships with potential donors.
I finished reading a challenging, thought provoking book recently, When Helping Hurts, How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. They define three types of responses to addressing poverty. Relief, rehabilitation, and development. “Relief can be defined as the urgent and temporary provision of emergency aid to reduce immediate suffering from a natural or man-made crisis. Rehabilitation begins as soon as the bleeding stops; it seeks to restore people and their communities to the positive elements of their pre-crisis conditions. Development is a process of ongoing change that moves all the people involved- both the helpers and the helped- closer to being in right relationship with God, self, others, and the rest of creation.” (pgs 99-100)
I have been considering these types of responses in relation to Redeeming Grace. RGM’s program is one of development for all the residents and volunteers involved. Our desire is that everyone involved will move into a deeper relationship with God and others. One of our volunteers said she went through our training to be able to work with the women, only to realize that the training was really for her own benefit. Relief is immediate and doesn’t require much time on the part of the helper. Rehabilitation takes longer, but can still be done to or for people. Development takes the longest, is messier, and hard to measure success, however this is the process where relationships are reconciled.
I have often been asked how we will measure success, and when you work with people that is sometimes hard to evaluate. How do you measure the breakthrough in a counseling session, the forgiveness of a hurt, a deeper relationship with God, reconciliation with a family or friend, or a healing of a wound that isn’t visible? One of RGM’s core values is to “Be Excellent Stewards of our Resources” so we will be collecting data on abstinence from use, employment, counseling sessions, curriculum completed, service hours done by residents, days in program, and other measures.
I have only touched on a small part of the book and encourage you to read it if you would like to know more.
I am thankful for the development that is taking place in your life as your partner with us. Simply put, this would not be possible without you and your support!!! Establishing this ministry has been a journey for me, and I am glad you are on it with me!