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Read book: When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor... and Ourselves, Fikkert & Corbett (2009, rev. 2012) Download visual book summary

Ready to explore a global partnership? If you are just getting started, you should probably read the introduction first. Desiring to help could cause harm when we don’t prepare well beforehand. Steve Bauman, from World Relief, says that:

Material Definition of Poverty + Messiah Complex of the "Rich" + Feelings of Inferiority of the Poor = Harm to Both.

So, what are the next steps to prepare well so we don’t cause harm along the way?

  1. Build and Educate your Team – A smaller group of people should spearhead this endeavour in your church or larger group, who can help give leadership and focus to your partnership. This may be your current missions committee or could be a new group. Read and listen widely. Take advantage of our learning modules designed for group discussions. Some of the best we’ve collected:
    1. Resources: More than Just Material
    2. Getting Beyond Money Problems in Missions Partnerships
    3. To Catch the Wind: A New Metaphor for Cross-Cultural Mission Partnerships
    4. The Essential Facilitator Bridge
    5. The Ethics of Aid: One Kenyan's Perspective
    6. Toward Authentic North South Partnerships
  2. Craft and Share your Vision – Work through developing a vision and purpose of your partnership, assessing yourself, and then taking the time to share that with the larger church / group. We have various coaches who can walk with you along this journey. (See the contacts on the introduction page)
  3. Chose / Select / Be Chosen – Matching your interests, abilities and needs with another community or church should also be a dialogue. Do this carefully, slowly, with prayer and in consultation with trusted organization personnel. Many times partnerships are not confirmed until after at least one visit together.
  4. Educate your Church or Larger Group: As a coordinating group look for ways to share what you’ve learned about partnerships, missions and development. Begin to talk about cross cultural interaction. Be ready to learn also – everyone has experiences which can provide insights. Offer our learning modules to the members of your church. Some online cultural resources:
    1. Wikipedia: Peer edited online encyclopedia. Search by country name to get started.
    2. Centre for Intercultural Learning (Canadian Government): History (including external links), Cultural Information on specific topics, includes Canadian Perspective
    3. World Missions: Information about each country and the work done there by World Missions
    4. World Renew: Information about each country and the work done there by World Renew
    5. Back to God Ministries International: Information about the languages used and broadcasts in each country where BTGMI works
    6. Partners Worldwide: Information about the work done in each country where PWW has staff.
    7. Google News: Search for recent news about a country with Google news
  5. Build the Relationships in your Partnership: Write letters and make phone calls. Visit your partners and spend time with them in their regular lives – don’t just go to work on a project. Research about what to consider in bringing visitors to North America and work towards having your partner visit you.
  6. Reflect: After a year or two, reflect about your partnership on your own and with your partner. Use a tool that combines stories, non-literate activities and numerical rankings and that can be used by both. Listen to feedback from organization personnel.
  7. Adjust, Educate, Grow and Flourish!

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