Paulson, Hank. Global Partnerships, Networking and Nationals; The Third Paradigm in Missions. Colorado Springs, CO: New Hope International, 2002. 108 pp. $14.95
Reviewed by Anita Deyneka.
Christ's command to go into all the world and preach the gospel is clear in Scripture. More difficult to discern are specific directives for developing missiological strategy— how the Great Commission should be carried out. The author of Global Partnerships, Hank Paulson, is a veteran missionary and president of New Hope International, formerly East European Bible Mission (www.newhopeinternational.org/bookorder). Emphasizing networking, and especially relationships between nationals and foreigners, Paulson considers questions critical to contemporary mission strategy and day-to-day implementation of the Great Commission.
Three possible paradigms are explored: sending people, sending money, and sending both through partnerships. Global Partnerships strongly presents a case for the third paradigm and then more closely examines ways such a commitment can be carried out in such areas as accountability, dependency, and cross-cultural differences-which inevitably arise in any partnership.
Paulson offers several specific suggestions to make partnerships profitable for God's kingdom and for both national and foreign partners. These include:
Paulson also advocates seven practical principles for effective partnerships: Christ's lordship, mutual respect, mutual accountability, local accountability, long-term commitment to partnership, the development of unity and respect within the local culture, and the need for a vision and purpose beyond partnership.
With a command as compelling s Christ's Great Commission and the challenge of a world so unevangelized, it is only logical to cooperate in partnerships whenever possible. And, as Paulson notes, the advantage of partnership is readily appreciated in the business community and also appealing to the younger generation.
Although partnerships along the lines of Paulson's third paradigm are now widely advocated among missions —especially in the West —a gap often exists between intention and implementation.
While partnerships can provide possibilities for more extensive and effective ministry, the kinds of relationships Paulson promotes almost always mean some loss of control and credit for both partners. These costs probably slow the formation of profitable partnerships. However, new ministries in and to the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe may have an advantage in forming partnerships because it may be easier for organizational founders to launch creative, collaborative projects than for longstanding ministries.
Even when partners are prepared to relinquish some degree of control and credit for the greater good, difficulties still lurk in the details. For example, while Westerners may completely agree that accountability is foundational to a partnership, they may have considerably different concepts of what accountability actually entails. Sensitivity in cross-cultural communication is another area that may readily bring agreement in principle, but with perceptions of what constitutes "sensitivity" frequently varying widely between Western and non-Western partners.
Hank Paulson has done missions a great service in raising many issues that merit deeper discussion.
Anita Deyneka is president of Peter Deyneka Russian Ministries, Wheaton, IL
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