Understanding Global Integration
Staying Current and Relevant
How does it apply to me?
Kelly and Michele O’Donnell (updated January 2020)
- For the last nine years we have been increasingly centering our work in member care/mission and across sectors, within the broad context of “global integration” (GI). This focus is by no means a distraction—going too far afield outside of mainstream member care/mission. Rather overall we have found it to be a key strategy to open up new opportunities and resources for member care/mission.
2. GI is a framework for actively and responsibly engaging in our world–collaborating locally to globally. It emphasizes connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity, commitments, and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, human rights, faith-based). GI encourages a variety of people to be at the “global tables” and in the “global trenches”–and everything in-between–in order to help research, shape, and monitor agendas, policies, and action for all people and the planet. It intentionally links building the world we need with being the people we need. As Christians, a foundational motive for GI is to seek God’s glory in all we do. We believe GI is crucial for a) member care/mission practice and direction; b) colleagues working in different sectors and settings; and c) all those who endeavor to live as global citizens (i.e. our common sense of belonging, identity, and mutual responsibility as humans).
3. GI recognizes that our globalizing world community must prioritize wellbeing for all people, lasting peace, justice, prosperity, and the enduring protection of the planet. As Christians, our global involvement includes the central mandate (duty—desire–delight) to share the good news and our good works with all people and all people groups. Further, we see the foundation that underlies GI’s emphasis on “common ground for the common good” as being the historical person of Jesus Christ. We thus also acknowledge the underlying reality of God and His redemptive purposes in Jesus Christ in dealing with the undermining reality of evil and human sin (see Faith-Based Foundations—Christian Worldview, 2015).
4. Our work in GI is especially influenced by the coordinated multi-sectoral and international efforts to promote wellbeing for all people and the planet (e.g., the United Nations’ Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015)–see the the two Progress Reports (July 2019); One Humanity: Shared Responsibility (2016)–see the Progress Report (December 2018) and the 2019 Synthesis Report); as well as the underlying commitment to support the church-mission community’s work among the least-reached people groups (LPGs). We also increasingly include “global integrity” in our GI work—integrity at the individual-institutional-international levels—and see them as inseparable (e.g., see our 2018 presentation, Global Integration-Global Integrity: Applications for Christians in Leadership and our 2018 article, A Summons to a Global Integrity Movement).
5. Global integration is not about instigating and imposing a system of global governance, neutralizing national sovereignty, and ushering in an authoritarian world order. Rather it is about fostering cooperation and good governance at all levels, from the local to the global. Nor is global integration about pushing for human homogeneity, cultural conformity, or ethical relativism. Rather it is about embracing our common humanity, prizing our rich variations, and engendering responsible lifestyles. Global integration is a framework to help us invest ourselves in fellow humans in every sphere of influence in which we live.
6. Our GI work as psychologists, for example, is based in Geneva and focuses on global member care, global mental health, and promoting integrity/confronting corruption globally. It includes regular interactions with personnel/events in the United Nations, World Health Organization, international NGOs, and faith-based organizations—and hence there are several materials, perspectives, and news items that we review to inform our work and regularly share with colleagues. In addition to the Member Care Updates, we regularly send Global Integration Updates to over 1600 colleagues.
7. So we support human efforts to do good—whether it be alleviating poverty among the one billion urban slum dwellers or protecting the 1.5 billion people living in settings exposed to violence and conflict, for example. We see these efforts as the imago Dei at work within the missio Dei, regardless of whether one believes in these things or not. Humans do good. However we think humans do better when they include and honor God in the process. And more specifically we think we can do much better at “transforming our world” if God is included and honored in our efforts and if we start with transformation in our own hearts. The world will not be a sustainably better, transformed place unless better, transformed people make it so.
8. One of the greatest opportunities for further developing GI would be convening roundtables (online and in vivo) and organizing new coalitions of colleagues who are committed to GI and crossing sectors on behalf of specific areas such as member care and/or mental health (global integrators). Specifically in regards to member care/mission, the time is clearly here, from our vantage point, to develop new entities and emphases that reflect global realities (issues, responsibilities and opportunities), while still staying true to the member care/mission core: for example, focusing on the wellbeing and effectiveness of the diversity of mission workers and their sending groups. For more perspectives—reflections, research, and resources–see the 25 entries on Global Integrators (2015) and the 25 entries on Global Integrity (2016) featured on our CORE member Care weblog.
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