More about our Christian identity

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.

We provide help on the basis of need and serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

For quick overview of how faith motivates our work, read this summary of our Christian identity.

This page is for those wishing to understand more deeply how our development work is guided by our Christianity and scripture.

We are led by three overarching principles:

  1. Working with God to renew His world (our longer term development work)
  2. Living out the compassion of Christ (our humanitarian and emergency response work)
  3. Standing in the prophetic tradition (our advocacy work

Working with God to renew His world

(our longer term development work)

Jesus prayed that the kingdom of God would come on earth as it is in heaven. The coming of the kingdom, inaugurated by Jesus, is seen in the renewal of the world through acts of love, justice and peace. God, who builds the kingdom, is a relational God with whom we seek to work in partnership in renewing the world.

Abstract:

The Gospels record that Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God 110 times. It was the topic He spoke about more than anything else. In His life, death and resurrection, the kingdom of God has broken into history. It is a kingdom in which love, justice and peace reign supreme, and where Jesus as the King is the bringer of all these things.

The picture of God that is revealed to us in Scripture is of a God who is relational. God is a Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the ‘eternal community’ as psychologist Larry Crabb describes it.  As a Christian organisation, we seek to embody this sense of a self-giving, redemptive, eternal, and serving community. Our mission involves the privilege of working with God in partnership to renew the world that God created and to play a part in establishing the Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.”  

Paul’s letter to the Colossians says that Jesus is the one through whom everything was created,  and Jesus Himself said that the Kingdom of God is in your midst . His physical resurrection in history shows that He leads us by example. Jesus empowers us and sends us out to work with Him to “make all things new.”  This means we are to work with Him until He consummates the Kingdom, when all of creation will no longer be subject to decay but will finally be liberated from its bondage to death, corruption and injustice.

At World Vision Australia we understand our mission as working with God in the task of renewal through our development work in the form of Area Development Programs and other projects which focus on issues such as food security, water and sanitation, education, health, and economic development.


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Living out the compassion of Christ

(our humanitarian and emergency response work)

The exercise of compassion is an essential outworking of the identity of World Vision Australia as a Christian organisation. It is shown most clearly in our relief work around the world. As we seek to respond to the many disasters that befall our world, we do so motivated by the unconditional love and compassion of Christ.

Abstract

The exercise of compassion is an essential outworking of the identity of World Vision Australia (WVA) as a Christian organisation. It is shown most clearly in our relief work around the world. As we seek to respond to the many disasters that befall our world, we do so motivated by the unconditional love and compassion of Christ.

The overarching picture of God revealed in the Bible is that of a God of infinite love and compassion. The compassion of God is manifested in different ways throughout the biblical narrative, and is most fully revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus spent His ministry performing acts of compassion without regard for people’s race, religion, gender or status. The early church in the 1st century, as well as millions of Christians throughout the  centuries, have sought to do the same. We are privileged to have the opportunity to continue this work.

Compassion inevitably involves suffering. Throughout the Gospels Jesus is revealed as the Man of Sorrows spoken of many years previously by the prophet Isaiah.  Jesus enters into the suffering of the world to make the ultimate sacrifice to set the world to rights. It is this Jesus who inspires and empowers us to “go and do likewise” , to embody His compassion to the “least of these” , and to do it in His name.

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Standing in the prophetic tradition

(our advocacy work)

Development and relief is only part of what we do.
As a Christian organisation, advocating for those with no voice in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets and of Jesus is essential if we are to be true to who we are.

Abstract

The work of World Vision Australia (WVA) is often seen in terms of development and relief, and that certainly is a major part of what we do. It is not, however, all that we do. A significant part of our work is that of advocacy, and for WVA as a Christian organisation, that means nothing less than standing in the tradition of prophetic engagement with the powers.

The Old Testament has a consistent theme running through it of speaking out against injustice. The prophets’ main concern was to bring Israel back to her God, and prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos (to name but a few), boldly spoke in the name of the God of justice for his rule to be evident on earth. We find the tradition continuing in the New Testament in the life of Jesus and the early church as they confronted the powers of the day and stood up for those who were powerless.

To ignore the need for exposing injustice is to neglect our calling as people claiming to work in the name of Jesus. Our work of development and relief is meaningless if the structures and powers that keep people poor are not changed as well. For such is human nature that it is these very structures and powers that have the ability to wind back the work of development and relief that we work so hard to implement. Our ministry therefore must include standing in the prophetic tradition of the prophets, Jesus, and the early church.


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Paper: Mapping a theology of Change for Christian development organizations

Christian development organizations are actively seeking sustainable change in the world.

They want to see lasting improvements in the lives of the poor. But how does change happen? At the core, what do Christian organizations believe about how change occurs? How is a Christian theology of change different from various secular theories of change? And what can Christians learn from secular development theories? What is it about a Christian approach to development that is truly distinctive?

This paper, prepared by Bob Mitchell, Director of Christian Resources & Care at World Vision Australia, begins to map out some distinctive elements of a Christian theology of change.

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