The mission organisations are bound by the Christian understanding of man and by the social practice that results from it, the diakonia, even though the interpretation of its consequences may vary among the organisations. The framework and the basis of the development work are, however, partnerships between like-minded Christian churches and organisations in the North and the South bound by the Great Commission (Matt. 28), which sends out Christians from their usual context to carry, in word and in deed, the message of Christ to their fellow men. The exercise of social practice is an important dimension of the Christian mission.
Christian social practice starts with Creation. It says in Genesis that ”God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). Man being created in the image of God means, firstly, that every single human being must be considered unique and that even the weakest and most marginalized have an infinitely high value in the eyes of God. Secondly, it means that every man has been given a responsibility for his fellow men and for the Earth created. Man has the task of loving and appreciating what is created and of taking care of it.
Christ brought us a new message of the Kingdom of God, which also included the poor, the outcast and the strangers (Luke 4). He established a new fellowship, which bridges the gap between God and men, men and women, the strong and the weak and different peoples. Christian mission is about pointing in words to Christ as the source of this fellowship and of following the example of Christ in deeds. Christ gave men self-respect; he healed the sick and fed the hungry in order to bear witness to God’s love by so doing. To follow Christ means to take care of the weak in an absolutely concrete manner without considering social, cultural, ethnic, religious and political affiliations. Imitation of Christ also means giving people courage to face life by protecting the value of each individual human being and bringing hope by bearing witness to Christ and the Kingdom of God where there is room for everybody, and this means turning against structures that suppress and marginalize the weakest.
The mission organisations wish to strengthen the latter dimension of the imitation of Christ, meaning that Christian social work must to a higher extent be followed up by advocacy in relation to those with political power.
The mission organisations represent and defend an understanding of development based upon respect and care for the integrity of the individual and the belief in the equal dignity of all human beings in the eyes of God. This understanding of development is influenced by the concrete cultural and social context where the mission organisations corporate with their partners. Today cultural sensitivity and respect for the local context form an important part of the mission organisations’ work.
The mission organisations recognize that historically many Christians have had their share of responsibility for conflicts between groups of different Christian denominations and between Christians and adherents of other religions. However, many churches and Christian organisations have also worked for peace, justice and reconciliation.
On the basis of those values, DMCDD gives priority to efforts that:
• Respect the value, dignity and potential for growth of the individual.
• Promote fellowship, solidarity and reciprocity.
• Are based on openness and honesty in the cooperation with the partners.
• Encourage responsible and sustainable use of the environment and natural resources.
• Strengthen the care and advocacy work for the weakest and the most marginalized