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Resources and Relationships in Missions: Navigating the Minefield of Dependency

Presented by Jeffrey Fussner, formerly Special Assistant to the International Director, and then most recently Director of People Development, TEAM

When crossing cultures we navigate differences in ideas, feelings and values with the host culture. One area that is often experienced early on — but can remain unexamined — is the sharing of money and resources. If our cultural formation is strongly individualistic, we have certain assumptions about how and where resources fit into relationships. Our host culture’s assumptions may be very different from ours. When asked for financial assistance what is the wise way to respond? How do we encourage self-reliance and avoid unhealthy dependency? How do healthy relationships work in the host culture? In this session we will cover some basic cultural views of resources and relationships and how to navigate possible confusion.

Jeffrey Fussner has been in full-time Christian ministry for 38 years, and for most of that time has been involved in intercultural mission. He helped train pastors in a Bible college in Indonesia, was the field mission director, and then Pacific Area Director for Global Partners (The Wesleyan Church). After repatriating to the U.S. he became senior pastor of a multicultural church in Alexandria, VA for five years before joining TEAM in 2015. While in TEAM he focused on leading task groups, people development planning and pre-field training for new missionaries. His greatest joy in ministry is to help people find and live out their life purpose in Christ, especially the young generation from diverse cultures.

For 38 years he has been married to Mary Beth. They have three adult children (two married sons and a daughter) and two grandchildren.

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