Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Partnering policies – Dangers involved!

As in physics, where all positives have a negative, the same can be said about a mission policy, although I do believe that the positives are greater than the negatives. But I think it is important to take note of a few problems which may develop when a congregation writes a mission policy. I can think of at least three potential problems which actually probably boils down to one problem:

  1. The mission committee and the congregation as a whole can become too rigid in implementing the policy. An example which I have seen: A certain congregation has as part of their policy that they want to focus their involvement with missionaries with whom they have regular contact. This sounds commendable. They then started supporting a missionary and his family in a country thousands of miles away. After some years, nobody had been sent to visit this missionary. Due to financial constraints in the congregation they had to cut on their expenses and falling back upon the policy they decided to greatly reduce their support for this missionary, because they did not succeed in having regular contact with them!
  2. Obedience to the mission policy may become a greater priority than obedience to God and sensitivity towards the voice of the Holy Spirit. A mission policy is an excellent guideline, but ultimately the will of God should dictate what needs to be done. Say for example a mission policy says that a certain form of support will be given to a missionary – perhaps in the form of money. The policy says that no extra money will be considered. Then something happens: One of the children develop a deadly disease and needs to be flown out to another country in order to save his life. At that point obedience to the Holy Spirit becomes more important than obedience to the policy.
  3. If the policy is not regularly updated, it becomes ineffective and without purpose. A mission policy cannot dictate involvement for the next ten or twenty years. Ideally, it should be reconsidered and revised if necessary annually or at the very least every two years to ensure that it is still effective and meeting the needs.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - Posted by | Partnership

1 Comment »

  1. […] Partnering policies – Dangers involved! One of the reasons why I’m positive about a more formal “partnership agreement” is because it leaves room to end the partnership in an honorable way. In Swaziland, in our Shiselweni Reformed Church Home-Based Care, we have a number of “formal” partners and a number of “informal” partners. In the short term “informal” partners are good people to have around. They’re mostly excited about mission in general, they tend to follow a vision easily and they will often set great ideas in motion to support mission. The problem comes when the individuals who had driven the vision within their own church or organization lose the vision or move away. The support can then stop abruptly if there is no formal partnering agreement. In the long term, a formal agreement works much better. Agreements are made beforehand. The partner may agree to be part of the mission project for a certain time (one year, three years, five years) after which the partnership comes to an end. Or the partnership runs for a year with an option to renew the partnership for another year, depending on certain criteria. As we entered our new financial year on 1 March, I had concerns about three of our “informal” partners. Because we have no written agreement, I had no idea whether they were intending to continue their support. One of them told me a day or two ago that they have no intention of stopping their support. (Big sigh of relief!) After I contacted the second one, I was told that no decision was made to stop support but it seems that no decision has been made to continue either. So we’re still waiting to see what will happen. Which strengthens my argument. The third partner also made no contact with us, but I did hear via the grapevine that they are stopping their support. If you’re part of a supporting church / organization / foundation or you’re an individual wanting to help a mission organization, the more formal agreement might in the long run be much more fruitful, both for those giving and for those receiving help. […]

    Pingback by Ending a Mission Partnership « Mission Issues | Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Reply

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