• • • • • • ABOUT OUR MEMBERS • • • • • •
Written by Brynn Buchanan
Based on an Interview with Gregg Garner
Members are our non-profit organization’s way of talking about its substantial contributors. Members aren't just financial contributors, they are responsible for much of what happens on the day-to-day. We use the word ‘membership’ the way it's used in Scripture, for though there is One Body, there are many members (1 Cor. 12:12).
Our members are individual, uniquely gifted people that collectively contribute to our solutions to different issues we are trying to address in the world. Together, in unity, we offer better solutions to a world in need.
Members of our organization are people who have ownership in who we are and what we are doing. Though on paper the organization is an entity of its own, we know that our members are what truly comprises our organization--they are the organization.
Becoming a member is a gradual process which gives participants time to feel the burden of responsibility, make serious consideration for what they are doing, as well as learn how to participate effectively. Members comprise our governing board and fulfill roles as directors and managers over the various departments that exist in our organization. Members are also the driving force of our activity. Besides members, we have numerous other participants, students, and countless volunteers who help us do what we do.
We do not put the responsibility of membership on everyone who comes to participate with our organization. Our goal is not making people members. Our goal is to serve the least of these. We work with all kinds of people, including volunteers, partners, other organizations, and churches to accomplish that goal. Becoming a member is a decision that requires the following considerations: understanding vocation (this is who I am) and occupation (this is what I do), and taking ownership in advancing the organization’s vision.
More objectively speaking, a member is somebody who has been around for some time, fulfilled one of our training certifications, spent ample time in volunteer service (both nationally and internationally), and has some proficiency in regard to second language acquisition and occupational competency.
Becoming a member of our organization has nothing to do with filling out an application, but everything to do with becoming friends. The nature and function of our organization doesn’t work if people are not committed. Thus, we ensure that people become aware of our vision as an organization (largely through our educational institution), and what is expected of them, so that our relationships can develop and we can count on one another. Our members are committed people striving to do well for God.
Our members have particular giftings and perceptions of needs, and their contributions help bring about our organization’s unified vision. All members are expected to have an occupational responsibility--an area of focus that they are responsible to meet needs within (whether it be education, public health, social work, agriculture, or organizational management).
With their occupational competency, they contribute to the well-being of our organization and those we serve.
Additionally, every member has made a commitment to serve in an international, regional location. This has invested them into the learning of the culture, language, and the appropriation of our paradigm in a cross-cultural context. This also unites us in the most challenging task of balancing two worlds in one thought, in one effort, continually. Constantly remembering the poor in what we do - something the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2 was a goal he was eager to accomplish.
Members also have voting power. Their investment necessitates their involvement in important decision-making processes. Most importantly, our members understand their participation to not just be an occupational service, but a vocational one. While not all of our members are employees or the organization, employees and non-employees alike share the same commitments, beliefs and values coming from God’s word that inspire and motivate them to help people in need.
Members recognize that this organization is less about what we do and more about who we are. Our jobs and our dreams align with our vocational activity. We are pouring out our lives for one shared conviction: to manifest what God wants to see in the world. God requires that we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with him (Micah 6:8), which we do together. Doing this together requires a canonical, theological understanding.
Such understanding allows us to share beliefs, which enhances our practical efforts because we share the same goals and principles.
Believing that God loves everyone, we choose to be vessels of the love and kindness that everyone deserves to experience; a love God revealed to us in the sacrificial love of his son. We choose to follow Jesus in this way, and sacrificially give ourselves to God, in service of the world.