Standards and Principles

Principles of Excellence
in Integral Mission

The principles below were developed over a three-year period with 70 collaborators from around the world. They describe ideals of holistic Christian relief and development and provide a useful framework for organizational self-evaluation.


The principles can be applied by reflecting on these questions:

  1. Do I see this principle lived out in my organization?
  2. If this principle is being lived out in my organization, what is the evidence?
  3. If this principle is not being lived out in my organization, why not? What are the barriers to doing so that we may need to address?

Integral Mission Principles

1. We center on our Christian faith.

As Christians, our approach to development is viewed and implemented through the lens of our faith as understood through the Holy Bible. We are respectful when working with people from various religions, cultures, and backgrounds but not at the expense of our relationship with the living God or witness to the transformation that only Christ can bring.

2. We acknowledge the spiritual realm.

We celebrate that God is powerfully at work in the world through the Spirit, and we humbly accept the invitation to collaborate with Him. We stand ready to battle the forces that will oppose this work with all the weapons entrusted to us in Ephesians 6:10-18.

3. We affirm the church

We recognize and respect the local church (the local fellowship of believers as manifested in the community) is central to restoring shalom—physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health and wholeness—to the community. Our work strengthens the local fellowship of believers and is strengthened by it. Where there is no church, we will work to represent the global Church in a faithful manner, bringing salt and light to the community.

4. We model what we value

Before asking churches and communities to practice humility, honesty, mutual respect, empowerment, and sustainability, we must exhibit humble, honest, mutually respectful, empowering, and sustainable practices in our organizations, both as leaders and as followers. Otherwise we lack integrity, and our witness as a model of integral mission is marred.

5. We recognize systems of poverty.

We see the whole system of individual, spiritual, structural, and relational barriers that can keep the community trapped in poverty. From our organizational competency areas, our efforts at advocacy and empowerment address both immediate needs and the long-term systemic causes of the problems.

6. We enter as guests, co-labor as partners, and continue as friends.

Enter as guests: Invited by the community, we demonstrate humility and a learner’s heart to understand how the community sees its wealth and its poverty, to assess its existing strengths, and to humbly envision together opportunities to collaborate around its areas of felt need. We recognize that we are merely visitors, but for the church and the community, this is home.

Co-labor as partners: We celebrate the reality that everyone involved in the work in the community has something valuable to contribute, and all partners strive to demonstrate, articulate, and evaluate two-way accountability. We value the church and the community’s assets and wisdom as we value our own. We work to find common ground when our opinions differ. Together as equals we make the big decisions that have lasting implications for the community itself.

Continue as friends: Success in our work together is marked by healthy relationships with the community and by the community’s capacity to own and sustain the work.

7. We measure all that matters.

Together with the local community, we develop outcomes and indicators within our competency areas. The impact is measured in the observable metrics of local community members served and interventions implemented. Impact is also measured long-term in community ownership, spiritual impact on agency and community, and the development of the community to carry it forward and replicate it elsewhere after the agency is gone.

8. We tell the story with integrity.

How we tell the story of the work, and what we choose to say, is a sacred trust between our organizations and the churches, communities, peers, donors, and the poor who work together with us. What we say about the work to all parties is true and transparent, demonstrating the complexity of poverty alleviation, and giving credit everywhere credit is due. What we communicate honors the view and the voice of those we serve and reflects our humble and teachable spiritby sharing even hard lessons learned.

Accord Network Standards and Guidelines

Accord GIK Standards

These seven Gifts-in-Kind Standards were developed by a broad spectrum of Accord Members and others in 1999 and updated in 2019. They represent what we feel is the best thinking on appropriate GIK programming.


Principles of Practice

This document articulates many biblically sound, professionally effective best practices. For some this statement will list goals or suggest important innovations needed within their organization. To all it is offered as a useful tool for review of operations and activities.


Financial Standards

The Financial Standards are provided by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).


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