Four Guiding Principles
Through the life of this ministry, over 60 ministries have been started or supported by The House of Hope Foundation. Over the years, we have realized that many organizations and non-profit foundations do their best to bring their version of change to local communities. We feel that this is an ineffective way to change culture. True cultural change comes from a felt need within. For this and other reasons, we feel that to truly promote local expressions of God's work in the world, we need to empower local pastors and leaders and support them in their journey. Over time, these realities have been refined into four guiding principles* that when coupled with the theology of Integral Mission can make immense impact in the local church and its surrounding community.
*The four guiding principles listed below were adapted from the book "Doing Local Theology" by Clemens Sedmak
In the Majority World, there is a problem of dependency. This has been fostered for decades by mission agencies and non-profit organizations in an attempt to "bring the gospel" to the less fortunate. It is our belief that God was at work long before us in any given situation. This would make it presumptuous to assume we knew better than local leadership how to best reach their communities for Christ. If this is true, it is more effective for us to help them become self-sustainable so that they aren't dependent on outside sources to do the work that God has put into their hearts. To this end, our intent is to work alongside local pastors and leaders to help them build long-term strategies that share the Kingdom of God with their communities.
EMPOWER local leaders
In many ministry circles all over the world, most of the work is done by the pastor or the missionary. We feel that the most effective way to support local ministries is empower local leaders to care for their neighbors in the name of Jesus Christ. We meet regularly with leaders and share together God's word, pray and work together to help more people and develop lasting relationships with the marginalized in our communities.
In some religious circles, the word contextualization brings a lot of baggage. When some hear this word they think that this "waters down" the Gospel so that it is easy for anyone to be a Christian without changing their lives or beliefs to match the Bible. This is the opposite of the work we do as we encourage contextualization. We feel that the best teacher is a neighbor who understands the challenges of their community and creative ways to make the gospel understandable in that place. Do we change the word of God or the Gospel? No! Do we do our best to help local teachers connect God's word to their situation and stay true to it's meaning? Absolutely! The same goes for their expressions of faith in worship, their service to the community and their work with other cultures in their hometown.
CHALLENGE to innovate
In many of the communities and the churches the HOH works in are very poor and have no resources to speak of. We don't come in and witness a problem and just give money to it. We work with local leaders to help them see what God is doing around them and then challenge them to find creative ways to tackle the problems that are often laying right at their doorstep. Believing that we are meant to work together, we lift up local leaders and help them to be more than they are currently.