Mission Paradigm Chart

This chart outlines and compares old and new models of mission.

Older Missionary Partnership Model

Newer Missionary Partnership Model

Focus on deficits (i.e. “lacks”: saving souls from evil, building churches and homes, food pantries, clothing banks, etc.)

Focus on assets (i.e. identifying local materials, techniques, knowledge, problem solving skills, people, etc. as “resources”)


Problem response (rapid relief, emergency aid, crisis oriented)

Opportunity identification (systemic or policy changes, structural)


Donation orientation (short-term, momentary)


Investment orientation (long-term, strategic; not like a financial investment for any direct gain but to risk something of our’s and ourselves to witness global growth and empowerment of others)


Grants, giftshand-outs

Grants, gifts, loans, investment, contracts (programs of mutual accountability and trust; i.e. micro-loans, each-one-teach-one)


More services (measurable quantitative results over qualitative)

Less services/More coalition, networking (more qualitative)


Focus on individual

Focus on community or neighborhood


Maintenance, e.g. status quo

Development: empowering


See people as “clients” (with the U.S. as the “patrons”)

See people as “citizens (of the world)” & “(human) family


Aim to “fix” people (as victims rather than survivors)

Aim to jointly develop or realize already existing potential


Programs are the answer (people are ideally objectified as passive “oppressed” or as commodities of labor or are romantically dehumanized as the spiritually “pure” and “noble” exotic Other)

People are the answer (both through their historical processes of appropriation and resistance and as moving from being others’ objects to their own subjects, as agents of transformation)


Building objects (churches, schools, homes, etc.)

Building relationships, partnerships (from which come joint projects and programs)


Dependency (one-way, unilateral) both financially and intellectually

Interdependency (mutual, multilateral) intellectually and spiritually


Doing: giving, teaching (i.e. delegations from north to south)

Being: receiving, listening, learning (an effort to reverse the imbalance of power and work jointly toward harmonious exchange)