Faith-Based Development

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“This is a long-needed book: a clear-headed, widely researched and no-holds-barred engagement with the role of faith in faith-based development organizations."-Archbishop Philip Freier, Primate, Anglican Church of Australia 

“In this brilliant book, Bob Mitchell provides both a context and compass for those leaders who seek to authentically integrate the work they do with the faith which can so powerfully motivate and sustain it.”-- Paul Madden, Chair, World Relief Australia

“Provides a valuable mix of theology, church history, and analysis of contemporary issues within the humanitarian industry – a sound foundation for any student in developing a theology of development.”--Jayakumar Christian, World Vision International

“It remains a puzzle why secular aid agencies and faith-based organisations struggle so often to speak a common language. . .  Mitchell’s valuable book demonstrates the rich lessons that Christian aid agencies can provide and possible points of connection between the secular and the spiritual in the search to a more just world.”--Matthew Clarke, Head of School, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University

International development work is a largely secular discipline that distances itself from faith concerns; even many faith-based groups seem to go out of their way to minimize the relationship between their religious convictions and their work. Secular groups often see faith-based agencies as "irritating marginal players" in the global development scene. But what if much of the value of these groups is exactly the result of that sense of religious mission?

Mitchell posits that, contrary to popular perception, church organizations have long been major players in international development work, and that many of these organizations do take the relationship between their work and the faith that underpins it very seriously. Instead of apologizing for their faith roots and expression, they should celebrate them—and recognize the value they bring to every development enterprise, secular or not.

Bob Mitchell s an Anglican priest, lawyer, and governor of non-profits. Currently CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid based in Australia. Mitchell has extensive experience in the international aid and development sector, and is passionate about articulating and theologically framing the unique contribution of faith-based agencies.

Book Details

Faith-Based Development
How Christian Organizations Can Make a Difference
Bob Mitchell
Foreword by Bryant L. Myers
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Faith-Based Development Table of Contents 29 Kb
"A pastoral, practical resource and should be essential reading material for all Christians studying or working in the filed of development."
"An asset for those intending to form FBOs or for existing FBOs that are seeking to keep their organizations strong, effective, and life-giving."
A timely, readable, and practical promotion of faith-based development that answers a critically important question: How can Christian organizations make a difference?... Essential reading material for all Christians studying or working in the field of development.
Bob Mitchell has put together a well-researched, thoughtful and timely contribution to our understanding of Christian community development work. As a non-specialist in this area I was both impressed and very encouraged by the research-based validation, presented in the first part of the book, of the advantages that faith based development provides, especially in majority world contexts – which is, after all, where most of the need is to be found. The research Mitchell presents offers a timely and valuable corrective to secular accounts that, until now, have tended to dominate the community development narrative.
Christian community development specialists, both workers in the field and those charged with governance and management responsibilities, will also find this book extremely helpful. Having presented the research that so powerfully validates Christian involvement in this work, Mitchell goes on to provide what is virtually a handbook for Christian development work. It’s a handbook that blends careful theological reflection with leadership and management theory both of which are enriched by the wisdom imparted by Mitchell’s extensive experience in the sector.
My only criticism would be that, if you’re reading the book as a complete work (as I did) you will find that, in different parts of the handbook section, some points are repeated. I suspect this is a necessary safeguard to prevent omission of key points if the work is used primarily as a handbook. All in all, however, this book provides a very readable and helpful contribution to our understanding of this important area of Christian mission. Highly recommended!
University degrees have taught me what to do, practical experience has helped me know how to do it, but never have I been challenged in this way as a Christian to understand why I do this work. This book takes a fresh look at how Christian agencies play a unique role in international development because of their faith. Mitchell drills straight to the core of the Christian development worker, exposes their heart and deepest motivations, and challenges us to ask why our faith really matters in our work.
This book is a key contribution to the academic and applied literature on Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and development. FBOs are an important part of the puzzle in responding to 21st century development challenges and in attaining the sustainable development goals. Faith-based Development is a potential benefit to Christian FBOs around the world, encouraging them to reclaim their identity in their efforts to bring social transformation and development. This book clearly outlines these themes in an engaging and easy-to-read fashion.
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