By Bob Mitchell
International development work is a largely secular discipline that distances itself from faith concerns; even many faith-based groups seem to go out of their way to minimize the relationship between their religious convictions and their work. Secular groups often see faith-based agencies as "irritating marginal players" in the global development scene. But what if much of the value of these groups is exactly the result of that sense of religious mission? Mitchell posits that, contrary to popular perception, church organizations have long been major players in international development work, and that many of these organizations do take the relationship between their work and the faith that underpins it very seriously. Instead of apologizing for their faith roots and expression, they should celebrate them-and recognize the value they bring to every development enterprise, secular or not.