A reality for every human on planet earth is the issue of stewardship. It is a matter of wisely using our time, resources, talents, parenting, and even the earth. Interestingly, this truth is universal, regardless of religious leanings. Oprah, Kim Jong Un, Conan O’Brien, Bill Gates and YOU all have the same 24 hours in a day. (That is a random list! Ha!) But it’s TRUE.
The role in which I was entrusted over the past three years was a sacred trust that I sought to steward with diligence and excellence. Established on a foundation of relationship, I had the privilege of partnering national churches with U.S. churches to advance and accelerate local in-country initiatives. In simple terms, I LISTENED meticulously to the local leaders to capture the vision and heart for their respective communities.
It may come as a surprise to some of you, but one of the early discussions involves an exit strategy. We established goals and developed a strategic plan for accomplishing those goals in three years.
One of the dangers of compassion driven initiatives is the potential for creating co-dependencies. An exit strategy enables leaders and compassion workers to have a healthy plan that is scaled, focused, and strategic. (I’m laughing to myself as there are some of our partners who are reading this blog and thinking, “did we really do this kind of planning?” In reality, this blog represents a “behind the curtain” perspective. To know me is to know that I’m WAY too relational to be this clinical…but know that this was ALWAYS in my mind as I built relationships in communities where we partnered.)
Co-dependency is always unhealthy as a long-term strategy. It robs people of dignity and respect and keeps people from truly seeing meaningful transformation.
Potential communities were often selected based on whether or not a leader was already engaged in advancing their vision and if they would be doing the work in which we’d be helping WITHOUT our involvement. When the vision is locally embraced and driven, THEN we could accelerate the work by infusing resources and teams.
Stewardship commands dignity-driven solutions that have a specific time frame. Our role was to be a catalyst toward seeing the local church THRIVE…and thrive well beyond our partnership.
I believe that “success” will be measured more by our stewardship than by our results. Did I honor local leaders? Did I empower people to fulfill their God-given vision? Did I lift the local church? Did I support sustainable initiatives? Did I leave behind a faith-filled people who will continue the work? An exit strategy is in so many ways “the end of the beginning.” It’s a launching point to what God desires for His Church! #TheBestIsYetToCome