Monday, December 11, 2006

Best Practices for Cross-cultural Visits to Restricted Nations

On Friday, senior staff of The Voice of the Martyrs Canada and our sister mission, Release International (based in the U.K.) met together to discuss the vital issue of best practices for our staff when they visit Christians in restricted nations. It was an incredibly valuable meeting. By the end of the day, we came up with a code of best practice consisting of fourteen separate statements that addressed such topics as the need for thorough briefings before the trip,to how to be good guests when in country, to the need for deliberate debriefing upon returning. I look forward to sharing some of them with you once we have agreed upon the final wording, which should come shortly (so watch this page in the coming days). I am encouraged that we are taking seriously the need to act maturely when we are abroad, something that is sometimes lacking by those who travel to minister to the persecuted church (even those who have done it for years). It is our hope that this code of best practices will provide guidelines that will enable our staff to serve the persecuted without inadvertently doing harm to them through carelessness or lack of foresight.

This is probably the first of a number of discussions that RI and VOMC will be having in the coming years on important issues of practice and policy. We are recognizing that we need to continue to hone our skills and think through how we conduct the ministry that God has entrusted to us. We dare not think that we are past the need to learn and change. This would be the height of arrogance. Ken Blanchard in his newest (and, I believe, most important) book, Leading at a Higher Level notes that one of the characteristics of a good servant leader is the need to reinvent continually at both a personal and an organizational level.

I am under no illusions that this code that we have come up with is perfect and that it will not need to tinkered with in the years to come. This is an important first step, however; a step that few other organizations that work with the persecuted have, to the best of my knowledge, deliberately undertaken

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The very thing our church needs! I'll be checking back.