Strengthening the Christian identity of Faith-Based Organizations

21 February 2018

Strengthening the Christian identity of Faith-Based Organizations

On 2 March, Peirong Lin, assistant in Systematic Theology and Missiology and Religious Studies at the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit (ETF) in Leuven, will defend her dissertation documenting ‘mission drift’ in World Vision, an established Christian development organization.

The phenomenon of “mission drift,” straying from the original mission, purpose and identity of an organization, is a known concern in organizations. Lin did empirical research into the experience of the global organization World Vision on mission drift. Based on this case study in her dissertation she identifies ways to strengthen the identity of Christian organizations such as World Vision.

Lin emphasizes the importance of theological reflection on both the content and processes of the organization. With regard to the former she pleads for deeper appropriation of the Trinity. In this way she argues that consideration of the particular roles of Father, Son and Spirit can help focus the goals of Christian organizations.

She also formulates recommendations for the processes of Christian organizations. In doing so, she makes recourse to the “theology of work,” which evaluates the meaning and value of human work in light of Christian faith.

Apart from being applicable to World Vision, the recommendations formulated by Lin can be useful for other Christian organizations who are engaged in relating faith to their own organizational context.

Lin conducted her research under the auspices of the Institute of Leadership and Social Ethics (ILSE) at ETF Leuven which Lin served as administrative coordinator. Peirong Lin is married to Dirk Gerlach and together they served at The Well, a missional church in Brussels, from 2013-2017. They have recently moved to Bonn, Germany.

The defense will take place on Friday March 2nd at 14 hrs in the chapel of ETF Leuven.

Peirong Lin. “Countering Mission Drift in a Faith-based Organization: An Interdisciplinary Theological Interpretation Focused on the Identity Formation of World Vision” (PhD diss., Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, 2018).

Promoters: Prof. Dr. Patrick Nullens, Prof. Dr. Henk Jochemsen (WUR)
Co-promoter: Prof. Dr. Pieter Boersema

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