Lead Them Home does not comment on every headline or current event. In this case, our insights from a decade of complex work on the topic of faith and sexuality yields valuable insights. Below are several reflections: to learn more, ask for our special report World Vision Case Study.
FIRST: World Vision’s process of implementing a new employment policy (since reversed) was poorly executed. The billion dollar organization readily had access to the counsel of Christian business and ministry leadership experts – likely at no or little cost. Many more questions needed to be asked.
SECOND: As evangelical ministries age and expand, they attract donors from a broader base of Christianity and society. In business, this is called success – or going viral. In ministry, it is also success but the risks of secularization increase. Think: Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.
Measuring Secularization Risk
- SIZE: Forbes ranks WV as the 10th largest U.S. charity (2013). Comparatively, Habitat for Humanity is the 14th largest U.S. charity and Salvation Army is the 2nd largest.
- DEPENDENCE: WV received $179 million in government grants (20% of 2013 funding).
- LAWS: Dependence on grants can elevate conflicts between values and govt. mandates.
- BOARD: When executives of publicly traded corporations join a Christian ministry board, do fears about their secular corporate credibility lead them toward secularization?
- MISSION STATEMENT: WV retains a very clear and strong biblical faith statement.
- FINDING: They are in a “high risk” category for increasing secularization.
THIRD: Pope Francis has emerged as a cultural hero by offering generous ideas on ministry to gay families. Some church leaders are attempting to capture similar applause. They rely too heavily on Gallup trend lines. Lesson: an evangelical funding base is not a secular (or secular media) base.
FOURTH: As evangelicals, our spiritual fight or flight reflex often yields the least effective witness of Christ at the most critical moment. We need more humility. There is a high level of hypocrisy in much of the criticism leveled at World Vision. The important point is what lessons can be learned?
World Vision attempted a “posture shift” without consultation and it failed. Could it have worked?
Lead Them Home helps evangelical faith communities develop biblical models for inclusion and nurture faith identity in LGBT+ persons while preserving biblical orthodoxy. This is complex and challenging work. To learn more, request our special report: World Vision Case Study.
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