Friday, September 26, 2008

Mission Next Idea 6 - Paternalism is an Attitude

Our panel is talking about paternalism. The key idea being shared is that "paternalism is larger than money." K. Rajendran shared that paternalism is more about control. It can manifest itself in many aspects of minsitry. The projects selected, who must follow orders, what strategies are selected, how people are hired, etc.

If we look at paternalism as an attitude, then we need to look at all elements of our ministry. Are the decisions that we are making focused on loving people or treating people as objects?

When people become objects then we dehumanize the partnership. When we see people as a dot on a project timeline or a means to an end, then relationships falter. Paternalism is about control of the chess pieces on the board.

When we treat people as fellow laborers, then the issue of control does not become so critical. There is a relationship to create dialogue to solve issues of control.


Anonymous said...

Interesting thought...

This is truly a balance in any partnership. Both sides have expectations that need to be worked out early in the game. Paternalism can be perceived by one party pushing the other party to meet their expectations. E.g. - we give you funds and expect you to follow through based on our expectations. You receive the funds and expect that you trust me to do the right thing. Without working through both expectations early on conflict (Lording over, paternalism, etc.) will probably result and everyone loses... unfortunately. So - before we sign up for a new partnership let's plan on sitting down and understand each others expectations and style of work to define if we can move forward.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Expectations are the name of the game. If we took the reality of expectations seriously we would be much further along in our partnership efforts.

Great thoughts!

Ty Stakes said...

Amen. And control is the word that rings out for me. Will we build partners to do ministry AND not try to control how they carry that ministry out?