“The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.” – Mother Teresa
There are so many ways to help those around us. It often feels good to give. But how are we sure that what we are doing is helping? And where do we start? These are questions the founders of Mission 1:11 have asked for years. Through our own experiences and research, we have committed to helping by starting with our own humility and a focus on partnership with the people we serve alongside.
Recently, the book Slow Kingdom Coming rocked our worlds. The author explained in simple terms how to serve well. Much of it involves our own humility and desire to look at what’s really helping people instead of how the helping makes us feel. In the book, the author gives us a process of five steps to making sure we are serving in the best way possible. Here they are in our own words:
Attention: We are awakened to an injustice in the world and want to help alleviate the suffering of others. We strive to be deliberate in our focus so that we don’t spread efforts or impact too thin. This means being ready to serve with flexibility, and understand that change happens frequently. A big part of this is prayer and reflection as we prepare to serve.
Confession: We desire to continuously maintain an attitude of humility. We do not know it all and when we get it wrong, we admit it and change direction. This is especially important in other countries where we often want to do it our way which may not be the best way. In order to have a lasting impact, we must lower ourselves before God and our neighbors. We, ourselves, need to be transformed, to aid in the transformation of others. We work for the healing of others to gain freedom to admit our own need for healing. Being an efficient and sustaining organization requires our hearts and heads. We can’t fix all needs, but we will be responsible with what is entrusted to us.
Respect: The best thing we can realize when we are serving anyone, is that they are our equals. The grace of God has given us so much and as we realize there is nothing we did to attain that, we understand that we are equals to all humans and the ones we serve help us just as much as we help them. We focus on empathy towards the feelings, wishes, and rights of others. Practice respect by listening, supporting, and encouraging. Visitors should come to learn and serve. We are not tourists to be served. Our focus is long-term work. In order to attain this goal, we are to respect the ability to help discover how our partnerships will best flourish. Our means to accomplishing this is to work alongside WITH our partners.
Partnership: We are better together, in unity and diversity. We are not “saving” poor communities. Each culture and region has something to offer the world and different ways of doing things. It is important to understand that our way of doing things may not be the right way and often is not the right way. God has been there, and will continue to be there even after we leave. This means we refrain from false promises or quick fix attempts- this has proven to do more damage than good. The decisions for partnership are with prayerful consideration and long-term vision. The aim is to aid in restoration and transformation to see grace, love, and unity.
Truth: When we are awakened to all of the practices above we will realize that there are better ways to help others, and we will have the humility to change course when necessary based on information we learn through partnership, time spent on the ground in ministry, and research/best practices in helping others from sources around the world. Transparency and honesty create cycles of trust that deepen partnerships and vision for the future. Practicing truth needs to be done in love and on a personal and corporate level. It enables us to see what acts of love are bearing fruit. Truthing is a process that needs revisited frequently to improve step by step. Truthing is simply an analysis of what is really helping people and what may be harming them.
We feel that there is a desire to do good and help inside of all of us. It is our hope that we can facilitate ways to help for anyone who wants to be involved. We continue to learn new ways to serve and listen to the communities we work with. We invite you to partner with us!
Corbett, Steve, and Brian Fikkert. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor-- and Yourself. Chicago, IL: Moody, 2009. Print.
Annan, Kent. Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly in the World. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016. Print.
Poverty, Inc. Dir. Michael Matheson Miller. 2014. Web.