As we continue to consider some of the features of working as a team we must start by knowing what we are aiming to achieve. The word ‘Mission’ sounds very biblical but it is also widely used in the secular world, often quite loosely.
‘Mission statement’ is another term widely used in the corporate world. ‘Vision’ is sometimes used almost interchangeably with ‘mission’ as, occasionally, is ‘purpose’. So rather than trying to get into the minutiae of semantics let’s agree that I have used the word here because it fits my mnemonic of TEAM rather than because I am going to define it tightly!
Know where you’re going…
Mission implies that we know where we are going, that the end point or direction is defined. Jesus’ ‘Great Commission’ (Matt 28:19, 20) must be the end point of all mission in the church.
The Newfrontiers family of churches have worked with a mission statement that has helped take us forward in the fulfillment of that Great Commission; it is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. To a large extent it has also helped to define our strategies and has provided a plumb line against which all our activities have been assessed over the decades.
To advance the Kingdom through
1) Restoring the church
2) Making disciples
3) Training leaders
4) Planting churches
5) Reaching the nations
What are the words that sit comfortably with ‘mission statement’? In our context we have spoken extensively about ‘Vision‘ and ‘Values‘ in recent years. These provide the oxygen that we breathe which energises us in fulfilling our mission together.
So the clarity of Mission helps bring focus to our long-term goals and the purpose of being together and, to a large extent, has also helped us develop various strategies to help us make our contribution to fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Teams to outwork the mission
Various teams have been formed over the years to fulfill these strategies, each with specific purposes in mind. They have existed for a season and then have been disbanded as they have fulfilled their raison d’être.
The model in Acts 6 demonstrates such ‘short-termness’. The current goal of the early church’s mission was church growth and discipleship. Core to that strategy was the foundation-laying ministry of the apostles. So it was essential that they should be released to operate in their gifting of prayer and the word as fully as possible.
When a problem arose which threatened to hinder advance of the mission a new team was needed quickly to handle the problem, rather than the apostles being deflected from their primary gifting and purpose. Through defining the short term mission or goal of that team – to resolve conflict – people were chosen who were equipped to fulfill that goal. This leads us to the next two words in our mnemonic, Achieve and Equipped. We shall discuss ‘Achieve’ in the next blog.