There's never been such a time in the world of development strategy as now. While there's billions more in development money than ever before, there's also more skepticism than ever about whether raining money on the world's problems will do any long-term good. Recently I read an article by a professor who essentially declared to the development world: "Give Up." And this professor is not alone. Many analysts have noticed that when Westerners try to help developing nations, we often waste large amounts of money, undermine the local economy, or make locals dependent on us for generations.
But I cannot give up, because I've seen development succeed time and again.
Twenty-five years ago, I took my first trip to Africa. Eleven years ago, my wife and I moved to Kenya to serve full-time with International Christian Ministries. This organization trains pastors and church leaders in 26 countries and has worked with Walk Thru the Bible, EQUIP, and Purpose-Driven Ministries, among many other ministries. I've worked alongside hundreds of Christian leaders on myriad development projects.
I know firsthand that helping people help themselves is one of the toughest businesses you can be in. But it can be done successfully. And when I've seen it done successfully, I've noticed that those involved abide by most, if not all, of the following 10 principles. Those who long to make a difference in the developing worldespecially local churches that support both short- and long-term mission projectswould do well to consider these.
1. Know More Than Your Mission Statement You must know your mission statement, but also know the vision and values behind it. What are you ultimately hoping to see happen, and why exactly do you want to see ...1