In 2006 Doug Birdsall, then chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, invited a small group of international ministry leaders and donors to meet at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. The purpose of this group was to begin exploring the conflicts and misunderstandings that often arose between donors and ministries in the giving and receiving of money. Many believed the problems surrounding international funding of missions were seriously interfering with the goal of bringing ‘the whole gospel to the whole world’.
In June 2007, a global listening process began after a follow-up meeting was held during the LCWE International Leadership Meeting in Budapest. A global survey was sent out to donors and mission fields in all parts of the world, to better understand the issues and problems faced by both donors and implementers in real-world scenarios. This information was then used to draft a document that would form the basis for the Lausanne Standards.
After receiving over 800 comments in feedback from around the globe, what emerged was the Lausanne Standards, a set of affirmations and agreements that clearly lays out the principles necessary for effective monetary transactions in mission. This essential document attempts to create a common language for the giving and receiving of God’s money for God’s work, across borders, cultures, and ideologies.
God intends for each of us to cooperate with the other parts of Christ’s body, not dominate, undermine, or manipulate them. We must be free to communicate freely and clearly without half-truths or hidden agendas. Some of our cultural differences may seem to divide us, especially in differing attitudes toward tasks and goals; but deliberately and prayerfully working through those differences in Christ can bring us into healthy interdependence and enrich our understanding of our Creator, as we work together toward making Christ known.
To start being more effective in the giving and/or receiving of God’s money, simply read the Standards and start putting them into practice. We encourage you to distribute and share this document, especially with your funding partners or as a foundational part of any Christ-centred relationship where an exchange of money is involved. It is our hope that these standards will prove a blessing to ministries and donors in all settings.
The Lausanne Standards are available in a number of languages: