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How Is Your Mission?

In our work with churches in assessing the four key elements of healthy organizations, the first one we typically look at is the Earth/Integrity element, primarily because of its foundational qualities.

At its most basic level, the Earth/Integrity element can be assessed by a simple metric: is the mission of the organization being accomplished? Any healthy organization has some way of measuring its success. It may even be by benchmarking and being challenged against itself year over year. Even if accomplishment is measured in a squishier way—say, influence—there is always a way of measuring that. It is absolutely no fun to play a game and have no idea how to win. There must be a reward and outcome for our work, both personally and organizationally. (1 Corinthians 9:24-26) But “mission accomplishment” has to be weighed against other values, such as relational and organizational health, long-term sustainability, individual worker (employee or volunteer) satisfaction, and so on. For instance, an upstart software company can have designers and engineers do lots of overnight, coffee-fueled pushes to get the product out by a deadline, but it cannot sustain that type of drive long term and year after year. No extrinsic motivation can keep someone from burning out. In ministry, a similar drive can easily happen. One assessment that can be used is the Best Christian Workplaces survey for measuring the internal health of the organization and the level of missional buy-in and engagement of the workers and volunteers. Regardless of the tool, the only way an assessment has any value is by the degree of self-awareness the assessee has. This is where the value of a team comes into play and a broader view of reality can be determined, particularly if they’ve had humility and a lack of defensiveness and protectionism modeled for them. Try starting with these questions:

  • Are tasks getting done that need to get done, or are you regularly filling in the gaps at the last minute to get things completed?

  • Can you honestly say that your organizational mission is actually what everyone is focused on?

  • Do the various departments or ministry areas feel connected with each other or is there a common theme of feeling siloed?

At a personal level, subtle fractures in the foundation of our individual integrity can be exposed by honestly responding to some simple questions.

  • For instance, is there a healthy symbiosis of your work and family life?—what would your spouse say?

  • Do you have one or two people that feel authorized to give you helpful and frank feedback at a personal level?

  • Do you consistently feel drained and de-energized or angry and frustrated? The interplay of work and rest—both personally and organizationally—must be nurtured and balanced.

  • Would people in your organization say they feel empowered and enjoy coming to work each day?

  • Can your peers say that you legitimately live out the values you espouse?

  • If you’re a pastor/leader, would the people closest to you say you honestly “practice what you preach?”

Asking questions regarding the wholeness of yourself and your organization is vital work for the elemental leader. The integration of you as a leader and the mission and processes for getting things done is of ultimate importance. Dave Workman | ELEMENTAL CHURCHES

Adapted from Elemental Leaders: Four Essentials Every Leader Needs...and Every Church Must Have.


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