8 Distinctives of World Vision’s Christian Engagement

by Church Resource Team on June 17, 2016

Since its beginning in 1950, World Vision has sought to follow Christ in a biblical, courageous church partnering and incarnational mission model, that is different from any other organization. World Vision aims to mobilize the whole Church, our indispensable partner, for spiritual and social transformation. But it does not stop at a church-centric model – because the established church is not yet everywhere. World Vision’s vision is to share the good news to the poor wherever God sovereignly opens doors – because it truly has a world vision. Under the Spirit’s leading, World Vision seeks to witness to Jesus Christ by life, deed, word and sign that encourages people to respond to the gospel - even in the hardest places.

Here are 8 ways World Vision's Christian engagement work is unique:
  1. World Vision staff follow Christ to respond in even the world’s hardest and most fragile contexts.
    • To “Follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” as World Vision’s Mission states, often means working incarnationally as Christ did in hostile, challenging, or fragile contexts. This includes countries where Christians are a minority or staff may be at risk.
    • World Vision believes in the inestimable value of every person regardless of gender, race, age, nationality, (dis)ability, religion or income.                                                                                                                   
  2. World Vision's work encompasses all three dimensions of Christ’s mission as He declared it.
    • The three elements - proclamation, compassion and justice (Luke 4:18-19) are integrated in ways that make the “good news for the poor” credible, compelling, and clear. While often sharing the good news verbally, World Vision staff see all three ministry dimensions as part of the good news – not just the verbal proclamation portion of it.
    • World Vision works with partners who focus on one or two of the three dimensions of the Good News but sees its mission as being in the place where all dimensions overlap.
    • We understand God’s plan for communities as shalom (well-being) in relationship with God; a person’s body, mind, and soul; others, family, society; and in creation care.
    • We understand that “world view” effects each area of a community’s life and believes that the greatest contribution World Vision may be able to make to a community is a fuller understanding of Jesus Christ and an empowered, biblical world view.                                 

  3. World Vision's work mobilizes the whole Church for the whole mission.
    • World Vision partners with and convenes all Trinitarian churches (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox) in an area to focus on the contributions the Church can make spiritually and socially.
    • Since 1950 we have unified, mobilized and trained the wide Church in 100 countries.
    • We focus on “Kingdom connectors” not “Kingdom dividers” when strategizing with the various parts of the church: e.g. the Apostles’ Creed and the orthodox essentials all can agree upon – not minor denominational distinctions that often separate.
    • Through its witness, World Vision has seen the start of the church in countries - and now sees the Church’s leadership, vision and impact grow in every country where it serves.          
    • We use proven programs that encompass “heart, head, and hands” to transform and mobilize the church: e.g. Channels of Hope, Celebrating Families, Kids’ Clubs, etc.
    • In FY14 we saw over 25,000 church and faith leaders trained and active in ministry.                                                                                                                                     
  4. World Vision witnesses in nearly 100 countries, including to people of all the world’s major religions.
    • World Vision invests about one-third of its work in countries where Christians are a minority.
    • We plan knowing that the majority of the world’s disasters are in Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist countries: e.g. floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, wars.                                                                                                                                              
  5. World Vision seeks to help people grow in faith towards Christ no matter where they may be on their spiritual journey.
    • All people are included in World Vision’s vision, whether or not they have heard of Christ or are at a point of spiritual decision or may already serve in Christian leadership.
    • This incarnational vision demands the commitment of time. It is built upon trust, relationships, partnership with churches, prayer, faith, the expectation that God may use dreams and lives that provoke questions to which Jesus is the answer.   

  6. World Vision provides context-sensitive spiritual nurture of children.
    • World Vision intentionally creates space for people (especially children), even of other faiths, to experience the love of God and neighbor.
    • As appropriate opportunities permit, World Vision supports the Christian formation of children in alignment with its framework on the spiritual nurture of children.
    • Usually in partnership with churches and Christian faith-based organizations, World Vision facilitates Sunday School training, church-based camps, Kids’ Clubs, Vactation Bible School, Community Bible Reading, after school church programs for youth, access to Bibles, Bible curriculums, etc.
    • In FY14, some 4,800,000 children experienced spiritual nurture in program areas.                     

  7. World Vision's work bridges churches and communities of other faiths.
    • In some contexts, World Vision partners with churches already leading community initiatives and serves to establish linkages between churches. In other instances, World Vision mobilizes, trains, and resources churches to provide them the opportunity to build peace with, bridge to, and serve other communities of faith as a witness to Christ.                                                                                                                                                     `        
  8. World Vision leverages its identity, reputation, staff and resources to honor and elevate Christ.
    • Though World Vision does not proselytize (coerce or use conditionality), it witnesses though its character, actions, friendships, intentional conversations, personal testimonies of changed lives, affiliations with local believers, and clear Christian identity.
Good deeds bring good will, and good will often brings openness to the good news.  

Your church can show God's love through sponsorship by hosting a Hope Sunday.

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