As the Executive Director, there’s a whole bunch of questions that leave me cringing. They aren’t fundamentally bad, they are just super hard to answer. Questions that should be simple like “How many staff do you have?” “What is your annual budget” or at it’s simplest, “How many countries are you working in?” Now that should be easy to answer, right? I mean I do hold the title of Executive Director, and it’s just not that large of an organisation. We just had our 2nd birthday. And yet I’m left struggling to answer.
Let me try to explain…
Reconciled World was birthed out of a calling to take the core principles and to create, implement and share models of how they apply to the issues facing the most vulnerable.
Our desire was to address many different types of brokenness, showing how these ideas could be applied to different contexts. However, we were small without a particular desire to grow into a huge organisation with offices all over the world.
Fortunately the core principles and truths that are essential to us are hardly unique. All around the world God has raised up individuals with a similar passion. Many are also trying to work out how to create models based on these ideas. Others hear the stories of transformation and want to work out how to change what they are doing to align with RW’s core principles.
So we threw away our superhero costume and any ideas we had about doing it ourselves. We decided,”Hey let’s help others who want to create models around the same core principles become wildly successful.” These programs wouldn’t be called Reconciled World but really, who needs signage plastered around the world? As those organisations or programs become fruitful, God’s kingdom is built. That’s enough for us.
The result was a number of what we call covenant partnerships. In these partnerships, local non-profits work to implement these core principles in at least part of their work. We do all we can to help from training to program design to fund raising to prayer and coaching. Each organisation is separate, usually self-governing, but we’ve all chosen to work together and to be accountable to the community because of our shared vision. It’s a close little family.
Clear thus far? Hopefully so, I haven’t even made it to the complicated part. But hopefully now you can already see how numbers are a bit complicated. How many staff? Well do you mean all the staff that work for all the covenant partners (201 full time, 100 part time and 70 volunteers) or just those who aren’t with a covenant partner but serve the covenant partners (10) – while easy to count that number also means that half our leadership team aren’t staff of RW – that’s strange isn’t it? How about those who are paid by money raised by RW (approximately 41 full time and 100 part time) – but really, making money the defining attribute feels strange. There are some for whom we have no financial relationship but we do feel a strong responsibility to care for. And even here I am ignoring a whole lot of relationships.
Here it starts to get more complicated. Part of the vision went beyond creating new models (or support organisations that are creating new models) to sharing those models. At the moment TCT is the program that we are doing that in the most significant way. With TCT we have 13 registered programs in 9 countries. Some of those consider themselves part of RW. They largely report to a member of the TCT leadership team, we fund the work and they attend our family gathering together with all our member organisations. On the other side are organisations that really only want the materials and a bit of coaching. They are raising the funds, doing the training and completely managing the program themselves. They don’t need a whole lot from us and they really aren’t part of Reconciled World. Yet we visit them, think about how to help them excel, and pray for them regularly. Then there is a whole lot in between those two extremes.
So that’s where we get confused when you ask a simple question like, “How many countries are you working in?” Do you mean how many do we have funded programs? That would be 6. Do you mean how many are we visiting regularly, doing training and bringing support? That would be 9. Or do you mean how many are running RW models or using RW materials in their programs? Well that’s 14 and rapidly growing.
The reality is that we may never quite work out how to answer the question, “How big are you?” Yet we are excited about what God is doing, the way He is using us and the uncountable amazing stories of lives changed.