MA IDS Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences


International Development and Service

Degree Name

International Development and Service, MA

First Supervisor

Erin L. Barnhart, Ph.D.


Faith-based organizations make up a large percentage of organizations doing development work both domestically and internationally. Faith-based development organizations (FBDOs) can be successful because they have spiritual drive to work for the social good, and large religious organizations to support them. However, not all FBDOs practice good development, and in the past many of them have undertaken development projects that proved to be damaging and detrimental to the host communities. The purpose of this research is to explore how different FBDOs conceptualize and operationalize their faith while doing development work abroad. Through exploring different models of faith-based development and analyzing their practices, this research can ultimately assist FBDOs in structuring their organizations so they can become more effective development actors and ensure that their practices are sustainable and culturally sensitive.