Ed Stetzer on Christianity
Is Christianity collapsing? There’s a lot of research out there that says this very thing. My last session from the Accord conference left me doubting what I have believed to be true, especially within the North American context. Ed Stetzer laid out a very strong argument for the strength of the evangelical church. It is true that some denominations are in decline, but he argues overall Evangelicalism remains steady, in fact, it has remained consistent with attendance since the early part of the 20th century. His point? Don’t believe every stat you read and be hopeful that the Church is actually not in decline. He pointed out that even many millennials are looking opportunities to connect with an authentic expression of Christianity. For more on his points see USA Today.
Mission and Development Partnerships
There has been an increase in mission and development partnerships. Some mission organizations are even delving into development work (that deserves another post and cautionary response). Here are my takeaways from this seminar at the conference.
No one agency is the silver bullet for solving poverty. As Richard Stearns once said, poverty alleviation is rocket science. We need each other. Here are six principles of partnership:
- Partnership requires one or more shared values. Do the mission agency and development NGO share these values?
- Partnership should increase your capacity. As an organization, we must ask the question; Will this partnership increase our capacity in our field and operations?
- Partnership is not charity. There must be a win/win for both organizations that are partnering together.
- Partnership requires communication. Whether it be an MOU or another agreement, communication must lead the way.
- Partnerships should utilize each organizations strengths to meet the objectives. This means we must understand our roles.
- Learn each others language. This connects to the point above. If you don’t speak the same language (development terms are rather, well, sophisticated). Take time to learn from one another.
Partnerships are not easy, but once successful, worth the effort.