PRINCIPLES OF EXCELLENCE IN
These principles were developed over a three-year period with 70 collaborators from all over the world. They endeavor to describe holistic Christian relief and development at its finest, and are meant to be an aspirational framework against which organizations can evaluate themselves.
These principles can be applied through reflection on these questions:
Do I see this principle lived out in my organization?
If this principle is being lived out in my organization, what is the evidence?
If this principle is not being lived out in my organization, why not? What are the barriers to doing so that we may need to address?
1. OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH IS AT THE CENTER OF OUR IDENTITY, MOTIVE AND MANNER OF BEING.
As Christians, our approach to development is viewed and implemented through the lens of our faith as understood through the Holy Bible. We are respectful when working with people from various religions, cultures, and backgrounds but not at the expense of our relationship with the living God or witness to the transformation that only Christ can bring.
2. WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE REALITY AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SPIRITUAL REALM.
We celebrate that God is powerfully at work in the world through the Spirit, and we humbly accept the invitation to collaborate with Him. We stand ready to battle the forces that will oppose this work with all the weapons entrusted to us in Ephesians 6:10-18.
3. THE CHURCH IS CENTRAL.
We recognize and respect the local church—the local fellowship of believers as manifested in the community—is central to restoring shalom to the community – physical, emotional, relational and spiritual health and wholeness. Our work strengthens the local fellowship of believers and is strengthened by it. Where there is no church, we will work to represent the global church in a faithful manner, bringing salt and light to the community.
4. TRANSFORMATIONAL PRACTICES START WITH US.
Our desire for humble, honest, mutually respectful, empowering, and sustainable practices with churches and communities requires that we must exhibit humble, honest, mutually respectful, empowering, and sustainable practices in our organizations, both as leaders and as followers. Otherwise we lack integrity, and our witness as a model of integral mission is marred.
5. WE RECOGNIZE THE WHOLE SYSTEM OF POVERTY.
We see the whole system of individual, spiritual, structural and relational barriers that can keep the community trapped in poverty. From our organizational competency areas, our efforts at advocacy and empowerment address both immediate needs and the long-term systemic causes of the problems.
6. IN OUR RELATIONSHIP JOURNEY WITH THE CHURCH, OUR LOCAL PARTNERS, AND THE COMMUNITY, WE ENTER AS GUESTS, CO-LABOR AS PARTNERS, AND CONTINUE AS FRIENDS.
Enter as Guests: Invited by the community, we demonstrate humility and a learner’s heart to understand how the community sees its wealth and its poverty, to assess its existing strengths and to humbly envision together opportunities to collaborate around their areas of felt need. We recognize that we are merely visitors, but for the church and the community, this is home.
Co-labor as Partners: We celebrate the reality that everyone involved in the work in the community has something valuable to contribute, and all partners strive to demonstrate, articulate and evaluate two-way accountability. We value the church and the community’s assets and wisdom as we value our own. We work to find common ground when our opinions differ. Together as equals, we make the big decisions that have lasting implications for the community itself.
Continue as Friends: Success in our work together is marked by healthy relationships with the community, and by the community's capacity to own and sustain the work.
7. WE SUPPORT LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND CHURCHES IN MEASURING ALL THAT MATTERS.
Together with the local community, we develop outcomes and indicators within our competency areas. The impact is measured in the observable metrics of local community members served and interventions implemented. Impact is also measured long-term in community ownership, spiritual impact on agency and community, and the development of the community to carry it forward and replicate it elsewhere after the agency is gone.
8. WE TELL THE STORY WITH INTEGRITY.
How we tell the story of the work, and what we choose to say, is a sacred trust between our organizations and the churches, communities, peers, donors, and the poor who work together with us. What we say about the work to all parties is true and transparent, demonstrating the complexity of poverty alleviation, and giving credit everywhere credit is due. What we communicate honors the view and the voice of those we serve, and reflects our humility and teachable heart by sharing even hard lessons learned.
Standards and Guidelines
These seven Gifts-in-Kind Standards were developed by a broad spectrum of Accord Members and others in 1999, and were updated in 2009. They represent what we feel is the best thinking on appropriate GIK programming.
This document represents the efforts of members of Accord Network to state what they believe to be biblically sound, professionally effective best practices. This is meant as a supporting document to the Accord Network Principles of Excellence in Integral Mission. For some this statement will serve as a list of goals. For some it will suggest important innovations needed within their organization. To all it is offered as a useful tool for review of operations and activities.
The Financial Standards are provided by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)