• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Going global

Later this month, the current World Team International board will decide whether to approve the launch of a new global structure to oversee World Team, which would be called the World Team Global Alliance (WTGA).  One question I have often heard is: “Why the word change from ‘international’ to ‘global’?”

One reason is that research on global structures showed that international does not mean global.  What people mean in organizations that use the term, “international”, is that they desire to be global in their efforts, but they are actually working from a one culture perspective.  Whereas, the term, “global”, conveys a sense of inclusion of a larger number of equal partners committed to the fulfillment of a common objective or vision.

A second reason would be our desire to make collaborative partnerships between our different Support Centers, partnering agencies and workers more relational.  Partnership, alliance, networks are all buzz words in our circles these days. They are excellent concepts.  However, all of these flow out of a relational community that exists between us as believers around the world.  Therefore, what we do together should flow out of and enhance our spiritual relationship and community with one another.  [My thanks to Detlef for this insight.]

The apostle Paul underscores this thought when he writes: “And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.” (4.15)  Paul speaks of the partnership, the working relationship that existed between himself and the Philippian church in the context of his desire to send Timothy and Epaphroditus to them.   It was the relational community that existed between them that allowed each other to share tangible gifts (4.16), as well as people (2.19-30) for the purpose of mutual support and edification.

Going global is not a journey that happens because of a word change.  It involves a commitment to live out of and in community with one another.


One Response

  1. Amen! This is the way WT needs to go. Going global is not only the right direction for WT in the light of current realities and trends, but is also in full alignment with biblical values and God’s mandates.

    Yes, words are important because they convey a concept. Far more important than having clear insight into what it means to be global rather than just international is to have throughout WT an organizational unified global mindset.

    I believe that it is possible to build a biblical management paradigm that can support a global as opposed to an international one with biblical values. In the light of God’s cultural mandate and our Lord’s mandate to the church to make disciples of all nations we should have been global in our thinking and management from the beginning. It is a shame that it has taken the globalization movement of the world to move mission agencies in the direction of the globalization of our organizational structures.

    “When an organization moves from an international to a global perspective, an essential shift takes place.

    “International (multinational): Global:
    • One center • Many centers
    • Hierarchy • Network
    • Rigid [mechanical] • Organic
    • Structure • Process
    • Boss/subordinate [control] •Interactive yet accountable
    • Chain of command [order] • Many channels [‘chaos’]
    • Information = power • Information = resource

    “There is a definite shift from the tight control of a bureaucracy to an entrepreneurial, flexible, rapid-response capability that is comfortable with cross-cultural influences and conditions.” (Rhinesmith 1993)

    Only in a global organization with a global worldview can missionaries work together in multicultural teams in a way that allows each culture to bring to the decision-making table its unique contribution to the task of discipling the nations.

    A global organization gives maximum local authority in the context of global interdependence. A global organization is tied together by unity of values, purpose, vision, and philosophy of ministry and management while appreciating the diversity that each culture brings to the local and global tables. A global missionary organization has a multi-cultural/global mindset that is demonstrated by means of trans-national and cross-cultural joint ministries, partnerships, and/or networks without any one national organization seeking, desiring or having cultural or administrative domination over the other entities. Global organizations are characterized by resourcing patterns, organizational cultures, and structures that reflect universalism rather than parochialism and/or ethnocentrism, so that partnership and synergy emerge from a dynamic cooperation between the diverse sides of the worldwide church as it carries out its task of discipling the nations. (Lundy 1995)

    The main hindrances to globalization, as opposed to internationalization, are not organizational structure or in the areas of philosophy of ministry and management, strategy, policies or systems as vitally important as each of these are in the process; but it is the question of worldview. Developing a biblically oriented global worldview within the rank and file of an international mission organization is likely the most difficult task in arriving at true globalization. If this mindset can be produced throughout the personnel, leadership and Boards of the organization, the rest will be relatively easy.

    As long as any missionary, mission leader, or Director of a national Board is parochial, ethnocentric or paternalistic in their thinking or has any vestiges of racial, monocultural or national bias in attitude there will be a major obstacle in becoming a truly global organization. The first and most important task therefore in the process must be developing a biblically oriented global worldview throughout the organization so that no one nationality, culture or race dominates the decision-making process anywhere in the organization –globally or locally. (Is this a biblical or democratic value?) This means that all will seek to hear those from different backgrounds other than their own with understanding, appreciation and without prejudice. Decisions made by taking any issue in question through the grids of multiple cultural frameworks will mean better corporate decisions. Monocultural decision-making by foreigners engaged in cross-cultural ministry is poor decision-making.

    Developing a biblically oriented global mindset in a mission agency is a formidable task. It requires, first of all, for each member of the agency to die to self –something we all naturally resist. Since all people are by nature culturally blind, it requires a metamorphosis in thinking, a paradigm shift, which often means discontinuity with much of which has been sincerely believed to be true and right. It requires the process outlined in Romans 12: 1&2 combined with the attitudes of Philippians 2: 1-8 and 4: 4-13.

    Let’s go for it!

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