Partnerships and Dependency How can we accomplish the task of world evangelism without creating dependency and inevitable apathy?
Balance is hard to acquire in mission • “The love of all evil is the love of money” (1 Tim 6:10) • Yet we are to “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Tim 6:18) • Problem is human nature: “Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, …ungrateful…” (2 Tim 3:2) • Godly men or pastors must be “… free from the love of money” (1 Tim 3:3). • Without wisdom, generosity can do more harm than good
Themes of this Module • The dangers of dependency • Short-term Missions and dependency • How to avoid dependency • Four perspectives on using money in missions Most Westerners are clueless about the envy, resentment and jealousy that they create by the improper use of their funds. Remember the Golden Rule!
Dangers of Dependency • “Unhealthy reliance on foreign resources, personnel and ideas, which stifles local initiatives” • The “beggar mentality” believes they are entitled to what others have so they wait to receive it or get it. • Kill all initiative and negates responsibility • Never receives enough, always complains • Expectation always higher than reality • Unmet expectations create disillusionment and resentment, then bitterness
STM and Dependency • Approximately 2M+ Americans will go on STM in 2010 • Convinced that American ingenuity and resources can fix anything • Have no idea of long-term results of their quick-fix • Visible poverty, physical problems or diseases, cry out for help • “Let-the-North-American-do-it” syndrome creates inadequacy and powerlessness thus more dependency
How to avoid or manage dependency • A contagious disease to nationals and foreigners feel good about what they do • Healthy churches do not depend on outsiders (joy comes from giving, not taking) • Recognize what causes dependency and quench them however painful by stewardship • Spiritual renewal is key to generosity • Create sense of ownership of their churches only then will they see local resources • Expect difficulty in transition from dependency to self-reliance • Understand the priority of the unreached over supporting the already evangelized
Steps to avoid dependency • Better training • Integration of STM with long-term strategy • Commitment to avoid creating dependency
1. Better Training • Realistic evaluation of trip projects • Cross-cultural sensitivity • Linguistics, religions and history • Worldview contrasts with NA • Priority of relationships over tasks • Maintain relationship long-term without building expectations
2. Integration with Long-Term Strategy • Relationship with career missionaries and local leaders • Develop plans for repeated visits that fit local strategies • Target a specific people group strategy • Learn errors of past not to repeat • Always targeting self-sustaining projects (i.e., teach a course once, then a national teaches it next)
3. Commit to Avoid Dependency • Do nothing for others that they can do for themselves • Let the people determine your project • Undertake no project that is not sustainable by local people • Do not create expectations for future STM that might not happen
Five Ways to Create Unhealthy Dependency • Make alliance with a “Lone Ranger” • Send money directly to individuals you barely know with no accountability • Finance pastors and local churches • Give resources based only on need (insatiable) • Hire local Christians to run Western programs (this is employment, not partnership)
Four views for using money • Missionary support model • Indigenous model • Partnership model • Partnership/Indigenous model
1. Missionary Support Model • NA policy of paying for the best pastor • Many claims of superiority of this model, especially claiming efficiency, cultural adaptable, “more bang for the buck.” • Limits future growth on foreign subsidy – if one pastor gets it, all should get it. • Subsidy kills lay involvement because it creates dependency on missionary or a “professional pastor” • Subsidy results in loss of focus – pleasing missionary is priority • Subsidy results in loss of devotion – church has no ownership – it all belongs to missionary since he paid. Concerned with how to get more support • Subsidy creates deception – learns how to work multiple partners never revealing what the other is doing
Missionary support price to national • Distorts his motivation • Receiving support is not a partnership, but an employee • Raises suspicion for motivation for serving • Recipient no longer viewed as “one of us” but is “one of them” • Perceived as serving for US$ and benefits • Belief that national church too poor to do anything • Never get the joy of sacrificial giving or sending missionaries – must depend on foreign monies • Jealousy between nationals who have and those who have not • When support is terminated pastors go through crisis
Four suggestions for national support • Consider other ways you can assist God’s work • Encourage an agency that supports nationals to change policy • Self-generating loans, job training, stewardship • Encourage others to stop supporting such programs • Support missionaries who are creating self-sustaining ministries that are not dependent
2. Indigenous Model • In ‘60’s and ‘70’s indigenous policy invoked to “turn over” to nationals foreign institutions • Many relationships broken • Suspicions of hording, selfishness, prejudice, discrimination and corruption leveled at missionaries • Many independent national organizations started out of bitter resentments • Harder to indigenize than to start from an indigenous model • Missionary is never involved in finances
Scaffold principle does not work • Initially foreign funds support and build everything • Gradually, support is taken down leaving the national structure • However, the scaffold is the building itself! • “Once supported by outsiders, always supported by outsiders.”
Challenge of Indigenous Policy • Work is always slower at the beginning • Emphasis on small groups, house-churches, families and extended families • Pastors trained in the ministry, not for the ministry • No dependency for finances and little for public leadership • Missionary takes a “shadow-leadership” role • Only as national leaders need more time for multiple small groups will they decide to support • The more the missionary needs to justify his ministry with numbers and make a show of followers, the higher the temptation to “buy it.”
3. Partnership Model • Recognizes strengths and weaknesses of the previous models • Recognizes that there are times when foreign resources can benefit without dependency • Non-Western missionaries are 80% of all personnel in Strategic Partnerships • Problem is US churches have too much money which means too much power (Golden Rule) • Man-with-his-hand-in-another’s-pocket problem
Definition of Partnership Model • “Association of two or more autonomous bodies who have formed a trusting relationship and fulfill agreed upon expectations by sharing complementary strengths and resources to reach their mutual goal”
Partnerships are not without difficulties • Partnerships form long lines of groups wanting foreign subsidy for buildings and salaries. • Westerners often have never heard of indigenous principles of self-support… most do not want to know about it. • Subsidy obligates dominance which encourages dependency. • Western eagerness to do something, overlooks the dependency consequences
Questions to keep Partnership healthy • Are believers motivated to give sacrificially? • Does the ministry increase local income? • Is local credibility decreasing from foreign funding? • Is the ministry’s goal-setting and decision-making unduly influenced by foreign donors? • Does the foreign funding quench development of indigenous para-church groups? • Does the foreign funding take responsibility for medical and retirement needs of workers? • Does ministry leader have more power due to access to foreign funds? • Is worker support levels set by foreigners or by worker’s peers?
Steps for partnership agreement • From inception, district leaders, field directors and regional directors all involved in agreement. • Must be interdependent: both partners benefiting • Field missionary team has limited capacity to facilitate partnership • A vision trip to partnering field or project is a must! • All partnerships must have Partnership Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) • All projects are divided into segments and personally investigated before proceeding • A PA or MOU must have time limit no longer than 3 yrs with mutually agreed renewal clause • Exit strategy agreed upon from beginning
4. Partnership/Indigenous Model • Ministry begins with missionary or national to a functioning level of maturity and disciple-training-mentor national leaders. • With no illusion of possible foreign funds ministry develops on its own • Limited partnerships for training and missionary sending structures • Designed to facilitate expansion to a movement without creating dependency
Special Note • In rural areas there is greater danger of dependency so indigenous or indigenous/partnership models are recommended • In urban areas there is less danger of dependency, so partnership model can more easily be implemented without dependency
Seven principles to manage dependency • Do not set goals and methods without participation of national partners • Do not base the relationship on a one-way flow of resources. It must be complementary • Do not allow money to become the most highly valued resource. • Do not fund the entire cost of the project without clear justification.
Seven principles to manage dependency • Do not interfere in administration of national organization – only advise is welcomed • Do not do for others what they can better do for themselves • Do not rely on a “one-size-fits-all” policy (ex., give only 10% of total need). It all depends.
Final statement • Task is too vast for one country to have a majority leadership role • Decisions about money, authority and mission must learn from past errors, collective wisdom, build trust for all partners, with a mutual commitment to reach the last people group and make the gospel available to all • Recognize the evils of dependency and paternalism, while bonding in harmony and honoring the reputation of the Lord.