Standing with the Vulnerable: A Curriculum for Transforming Lives and Communities, By Gil Odendaal
Standing with the Vulnerable
  • Length: 137 pages
  • Dimensions: 7 × 10 in
  • Number of Studies: 10
  • Published: September 19, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP Bible Studies
  • Item Code: 2099
  • ISBN: 9780830820993

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The world has needs. Children are orphaned, refugees are displaced and families are devastated by natural disasters. But God is greater than those needs, and he works through his people to accomplish healing and transformation. God calls us to integral mission— obeying both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in ministering to people's spiritual, physical, emotional and social well-being.

This curriculum from World Relief is designed to mobilize the church to engage the great causes of our day, stand with the vulnerable and meet the needs of our neighbors as Jesus did. These ten sessions show how shaping our fundamental beliefs and values lead to better actions and results.

Together we can alleviate poverty, welcome the stranger and transform communities at home and around the world. Join with others in learning how to love God, love your neighbors and put that love into action.

"Anyone who reads the Gospels with an open mind can hardly miss the fact that the God who became a man in Jesus Christ was, and still continues to be, especially concerned for the vulnerable. Gil Odendaal provides valuable practical help to people who are really serious in their commitment to follow Jesus by standing with the vulnerable in their own situation today."

René Padilla, emeritus president, The Kairos Foundation, executive director, Ediciones Kairos

"Engaging our communities and the world with the practical love of Christ has always been the church's mandate but never an easy task to accomplish. No one is better qualified than Dr. Odendaal to reignite our vision and practice of loving God and our neighbor. It's hard to imagine a more insightful, experienced, and biblically grounded guide."

Duane Elmer, G. W. Alden Professor of International Studies (retired), Trinity International University, author, Cross-Cultural Servanthood

"Gil's book provides a biblical, crosscultural, and practical resource to help transform God's people to understand the whole gospel of Jesus for the whole person, helping them be an equipped church that experiences and expresses God's heart for those who are caught in vulnerable places and need a touch of God's love."

Timothy Ek, development officer, The LIGHT House, Lee's Summit, Missouri, former vice president, The Evangelical Covenant Church

"Pastors whose hearts beat for the nations and the display of God's glory will love this insightful and practical resource to guide their churches to be better equipped in long-term transformational mission strategies and practices. Standing with the Vulnerable is a kingdom-minded resource for global-minded people. Many churches have a desire to have a global gospel footprint but lack the strategic insight to accomplish it. Gil Odendaal's love for the nations and for the church has forged a resource that is greatly helpful to both, and it will prove to be an effective resource for community transformation."

Randy Gunter, senior pastor, MeadowBrook Baptist Church, Gadsden, AL

"We often feel the world's problems are so overwhelming and so distant to us that there is little we can contribute. In this great study, Dr. Gil Odendaal takes us on a journey into Scripture, into a needy world, and into our own hearts. We see that the principles we need for personal growth and transformation are the very same truths that enable us to be part of God's life-bringing mission. The material is easy to read, but don't be fooled; there is much here that draws on the best understanding of mission and development. Be transformed!"

Paul Bendor-Samuel, executive director, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies

"Through biblical reflection and compelling stories, Gil's curriculum will equip you to move into more effective compassion as you stand with the vulnerable. Using scripturally based principles with best practices in global development, this guide will help all who read it to more effectively love their neighbor. I'm thankful for Gil's leadership in integral mission and believe this will impact many."

Peter Greer, president and CEO, HOPE International, coauthor of Mission Drift

"Gil Odendaal is a leader, an author, a pastor, and a shepherd to so many. 'Standing with the vulnerable' is arguably the best description one could make about Gil. His passion and love for the Lord shine through in so many ways, and his desire to seek and to serve are obviously evident in all he does. This Bible study will challenge you, encourage you, enhance your understanding of who the vulnerable are, and push you to further explore how best to stand in the gap with and for the least of these."

Charles D. Sands, PhD provost and vice president for academic affairs, California Baptist University, Riverside, CA

"Gil's work in Standing with the Vulnerable is fantastic. There is a significant void today for resources that help us better understand proper philosophies of engagement for global relief and development. Recent experiences have shown us so much of the damage that can be done when founded improperly, but few have come to bear the burden of a solution. Gil is masterful in this work, carefully guiding the reader through the fundamental principles while also providing the opportunity to digest the thoughts and unpack what they mean to you."

Will Rogers, executive director, Global Medical Health Conference, founder, X362: World's First Vision Achievement Platform

"I have been privileged to know Gil Odendaal as a friend and colleague and to observe the highly influential role he has played as an ambassador for the poor and a cutting-edge leader in the integral mission movement, within the relief and development context. He brings a rare combination of academic knowledge, practical experience, and a gracious and humble spirit. But it is his heart that impresses me the most, and that clearly comes through in all that he does. I heartily commend this book to you and feel that Gil is uniquely qualified to speak into these issues in a practical way that truly enables people to put love into action."

Tom Watkins, director of strategic initiatives partnerships, Trans World Radio

"Standing with the Vulnerable makes the case that poverty is more than a physical circumstance and its solution is deeper than material possessions. Spiritual poverty cannot be ignored, and we as Christ-followers have the unique opportunity—and responsibility—to bring holistic change to the world's poor. Odendaal walks us, step by step, through a plan giving us an understanding of poverty and effective action."

Chad Hayward, executive director, Accord Network

"Faith and obedience are never separated in the Bible. From cover to cover, Scripture underlines the importance of caring for the poor and vulnerable in society. Standing with the Vulnerable is a helpful study guide that walks through the why and how and equips the reader with examples from real life situations. This is an important resource for individuals, teams, and church groups to learn from, reflect on, and respond to together. We are thrilled that Gil Odendaal and World Relief have shared this with us all."

Sheryl Haw, international director, Micah Global

"I highly recommend this book for any church serious about being missional in today's world. This is an incredible resource to take your congregation or group deeper in their understanding of what Jesus meant when he proclaimed 'fullness of life.' Using engaging Bible studies and real-life examples, Odendaal helps unpack the good news of the gospel in ways that will both challenge and encourage Christians to see how their faith should shape their response to the issues facing our local and global communities. I think this book will transform the way your church responds to mission."

Matthew Maury, CEO, TEAR Australia

"If you are planning to go to communities in the Global South for missional purposes, this book will help you gain a deeper understanding of the human needs there, but the change theory used throughout this study is equally applicable to the church in North America. World Relief has used it in Africa and Asia, resulting in vibrant local congregations impacting their communities in word and deed. Now you have an opportunity to experience that impact in your own life and the life of your church."

Stephan Bauman, executive director, Cornerstone Trust, previously president of World Relief

"Standing with the Vulnerable is a practical, biblical roadmap for releasing the fullness of the gospel in the lives of families and communities. The truth in this study combines thought leadership in development with the real-life experience of grassroots ministry from World Relief staff and volunteers around the world. I highly commend it to you."

Steve Moore, executive director, nexleader, formerly executive director of MissioNexus


1. Understanding Development
2. Understanding Poverty
3. God?s Compassion for the Poor
4. The Transformation Tree
5. Development and Transformation
6. Harmful Beliefs and Poverty
7. Replacing Harmful Beliefs with God?s Truth
8. Relationships and Transformation
9. The Church and Poverty
10. Reflection and Review
Leader's Notes
About the Author


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Gil Odendaal

Gil Odendaal (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a missionary, pastor, educator, leader and public speaker who serves as senior vice president of Integral Mission at World Relief. He previously served as the global director for PEACE Implementation with Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, as well as global director for the HIV/AIDS Initiative under Kay Warren. Odendaal has dedicated more than thirty years to empowering the church around the world to seamlessly integrate word and deed ministries that transform communities, especially through health related initiatives. He has served as regional coordinator for Africa, Russia and Eastern Europe with Medical Ambassadors International and he is currently serving on the Lausanne Movement Integral Mission Leadership team and on the boards of Accord (Association of Christian Relief and Development Organizations) as well as Micah Network which represents 584 member organizations currently registered in eighty-four countries committed to Integral Mission. He and his wife Elmarie were born and raised in South Africa and have three adult children and five grandchildren.