Cross-Cultural Partnerships: Navigating the Complexities of Money and Mission, By Mary T. Lederleitner alt
Cross-Cultural Partnerships
  • Length: 231 pages
  • Published: February 17, 2010
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 7929
  • ISBN: 9780830879298

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One of the biggest challenges in global mission work is money?not merely the need for it, but working through cross-cultural differences surrounding how funds are used and accounted for. Cross-cultural missteps regarding financial issues can derail partnerships between supporting churches and agencies and national leaders on the ground. North Americans don?t understand how cultural expectations of patronage shape how financial support is perceived and understood, and Western money often comes with subtle strings attached. So local mission work is hampered by perceived paternalism, and donors are frustrated with lack of results or accountability. How do we build financial partnerships for effective mission without fostering neo-colonialism?

Cross-cultural specialist Mary Lederleitner brings missiological and financial expertise to explain how global mission efforts can be funded with integrity, mutuality and transparency. Bringing together social science research, biblical principles and on-the-ground examples, she presents best practices for handling funding and finance. Cross-cultural partnerships can foster dignity, build capacity and work toward long-term sustainability. Lederleitner also addresses particular problems like misallocation of funds, embezzlement and fraud.

This book is an essential guide for all who partner in global mission, whether pastors of supporting churches or missionaries and funding agencies.

"Mary has done an incredible job in storying, through numerous case studies, the wedding as well as the marriage of good accountability and good cultural relationship. This book has showcased the deeply rooted but often glossed over relational challenge over money, men and materials that has bugged the kingdom from time immemorial. Here is a book that celebrates the vulnerability of both sides, examines the age-long mutual suspicion, and raises the bar to promote the dignity and integrity of both the giver and the receiver. I sense this book practically promotes nonthreatening, God-honoring accountability and sustainability of church family values in our quest to make Christ known across the globe. "I commend the grace and boldness given to her to put this together. It is a worthy work, because money matters a lot in mission. I enjoyed reading it, perhaps because there are so many true-life stories in virtually every chapter. I extol this work joyfully to the body of Christ worldwide as an unbiased, well-set-out and constructively presented view on money and global Christianity. I will particularly love to have numerous copies to give to missions leaders in Africa while recommending it for use in field preparatory trainings."

Timothy O. Olonade, executive secretary, Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA)

"In matters of money, American evangelical mission has certainly made a mark in many positive ways, but our methodology in applying the funds has not always made such a positive mark. In this volume, Mary Lederleitner pulls some of those skeletons out of our dusty closets for a fresh examination of what we did right and what we could have done better. She offers many practical ways to avoid pitfalls as we move toward a more globalized mission partnership in the twenty-first century."

Gilles Gravelle, director of research and field project development, The Seed Company

"Cross-Cultural Partnerships brings the rare combination of mind, heart and experience of a seasoned yet compassionate accountability expert who is also a missionary with extensive field experience. Its realistic portrayal of the issues and practical suggestions for policy and action make this an invaluable read for anyone wanting to address one of the critical, central issues in partnerships within the growing global church."

Phill Butler, director, Vision Synergy, and author of Well Connected: Releasing Power, Restoring Hope Through Kingdom Partnerships

"Mary takes us straight to the intersection of mission, money, culture and partnerships. She walks us through key issues regarding money that can complicate, derail and even destroy cross-cultural partnerships. Using biblical perspectives, categories from anthropology and practical experience, she provides valuable guidance. This is a must-read for anyone struggling with the role of money in such contexts."

John Watters, former executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators International

"In our globalized world the North American missions community needs Cross-Cultural Partnerships! I found it filled with practical, down-to-earth advice built on extensive experience and solid research. Mary is much more than just an accountant with a decade of living experience working through issues of partnering with others; she truly knows how to compassionately listen, apply what she learns to test it out and then pass it on to the rest of us in ways that will benefit the whole body of Christ."

Scott Moreau, professor of missions and intercultural studies, Wheaton College Graduate School, and author of Introducing World Missions

"Mary Lederleitner's conversational style combined with her fair-minded approach creates a book that is friendly as well as informative about a tough subject. She wastes no time pointing out the gorilla in the room when it comes to money in cross-cultural partnerships--cultural differences. Important as it is, culture is no excuse for bad behavior, and she tackles that as well with helpful material on how to prevent and detect embezzlement and fraud. If you read only one of the few books on money in mission partnerships, read this one."

Daniel Rickett, author of Making Your Partnership Work and Building Strategic Relationships

"Money is the defining and dividing issue in cross-cultural partnerships, and Mary Lederleitner has given us the essential cultural insights and very practical tools and applications to navigate these treacherous waters. Writing from years of experience, Mary shines light on our harmful assumptions and then guides us to better and biblical ways to achieve accountability, build capacity and create sustainable partnerships with lasting impact for the kingdom of God. This very compact book is a must for everyone who aspires to partner with Majority World leaders and churches. Its fresh insights and applications make it invaluable as a training tool, one that I will use in seminars for Western and Majority World church and mission leaders."

Sherwood Lingenfelter, provost and senior vice president, Fuller Theological Seminary

"I began reading Cross-Cultural Partnerships and became practically glued to it! Its case studies enlarge my own understanding of the issues. This book will contribute to better beliefs and practices regarding the proper place of money in kingdom partnerships."

Alex Araujo, director of new mission initiatives, Partners International

"Over the years Mary's insights into the world of missions have informed, challenged and delighted me. Her organizational awareness, hands-on field experience and heart for others provide a 360 perspective on cross-cultural partnerships. This book is a tremendous resource for churches, mission agencies and any who wish to develop international partnerships."

Adele Calhoun, copastor, Redeemer Community Church, and author, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

"Mary Lederleitner has winsomely brought the field of intercultural communication to bear on the thorny and complex relationship between cross-cultural partnerships and money. . . . Mary has given us a missiologically grounded text that is comprehensive, enlightening, eminently readable and thoroughly practical. I highly recommend it!"

Dr. Evvy Campbell, professor of missions and intercultural studies, Wheaton College

"From years of experience working with NGOs in a number of countries around the world, Mary Lederleitner writes knowledgeably about the strains that differences in worldview and in cultural expectations regarding accountability in handling money can place on mission partnerships, themselves entered into with the best of intentions. This book is practical, well focused and vision-expanding. I recommend it highly."

Dwight P. Baker, associate director and associate editor, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Overseas Ministries Study Center

"When it comes to investing financial resources through cross-cultural partnerships, there are vast opportunities to build God's kingdom. There is also an array of thorny tensions about money, arising mainly from cultural misunderstanding. Mary Lederleitner has done a great job of affirming the opportunities and navigating the cultural tensions. At last, here is a readable book with careful biblical insight about money and partnership, with gleanings from leading missiologists and expert partnership practitioners. Mixed in are real-life stories of partnership failures and great successes. Cross-Cultural Partnerships is an essential resource for Christian mission in the twenty-first century."

Werner Mischke, vice president, Mission One

"Especially recommended for North American churches sending short-term mission teams overseas as well as for sponsors of partnering projects. Short term mission agencies. . .will welcome this anecdotal resource."

Roger E. Hedlund, Dharma Deepika, July-December 2010

"A useful introduction to the subject, one that should be read by anyone engaged in cross-cultural partnerships or contemplating such a partnership. The mission community urgently needs more resources like this."

Steve Rundle, EMQ, July 2010

"Lederleitner explains how global mission efforts can be funded with integrity, mutuality, and transparency. Offering the benefits of her experience in ministry partnerships and finances, Lederleitner presents best practices for handling funding."

CBA Retailers Resources, April 2010


Foreward by Duane H. Elmer
Introduction: Partnership, money and cultural intelligence

Part I: Core Cultural Concepts
1 Is it "mine" or "ours"?
2 Communication and harmony
3 Other confusing issues

Part II: Uprooting The Harmful
4 The path to premature judgments
5 Paternalism couched in accountability
6 Common unintended consequences

Part III: Partnering In Better Ways
7 Biblical foundations for accountability
8 Contextualizing processes
9 Fostering dignity and mutuality
10 Building capacity and sustainability

Part IV: Redeeming Conflict
11 Choosing your method carefully
12 Options if designated funds are misallocated
13 Options if embezzlement or fraud occurs

Conclusion: How to tell if Christ is Lord of your partnership?
Epilogue: Finding grace in the big picture

Appendix A: Learning from the "Sister Church" partnership
Appendix B: Facilitating a culture of fiscal integrity
Appendix C: Recommendations for further reading

About the Author


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Mary T. Lederleitner

Mary T. Lederleitner is founder and executive director of Missional Intelligence. She has a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an MA in intercultural studies from Wheaton College, and teaches as an adjunct professor at both institutions. She is a veteran mission leader and researcher who has served for two decades with the Wycliffe Global Alliance in a variety of international leadership roles. She serves on the OM Global Board and as a board member for Catalyst Services. She is also the author of Cross-Cultural Partnerships.