Mission Questions > Mission Statements

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Questions?

 

Some form of Jesus’ statement

The church is God’s people. Since the church is God’s, it makes sense that he would define her purpose. The purpose, or mission, can be worded a lot of ways, but it will be some form of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus’ followers are to help others from every nation follow his way of life.

Mission statements are valuable

A lot of time is devoted to mission statements. There is a desire for it to be memorable and catchy. I think mission statements are valuable. Jesus obviously did too or he wouldn’t have given one! They point the direction everyone should be heading. They, also, answer the most important question anyone asks: Why?

More mission questions

That sets up the point I want to make. If we already have the mandate (some form of Make disciples of all nations), maybe we need mission questions instead of a mission statement. Like I said, mission statements determine the direction, but it isn’t the direction that is the ultimate concern – the destination is.

Hang a question mark

A mission is meant to be accomplished. People on a mission like to know they are making a difference. Mission questions, not mission statements, help us know if the direction we are heading is still aimed at our destination. Someone once said, “In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you take for granted.” What would it do to hang a question mark on the end of the Great Commission?

Other questions appear

Let’s try this out on the core of the Great Commission: Make disciples of all nations? At once, other questions appear and assumptions are challenged.

  • How are we to make disciples?
  • What is a disciple?
  • Do we have a vision for the nations?

Mission questions can provoke us to ask even more basic questions, such as:

  • Is this my mission?
  • Are we making disciples?
  • Is the team on this mission together?

Mission drift is real. It takes no effort. That’s why it is called mission drift. Without trying and usually without noticing, a person, team, or church can go off course from its original purpose. A question, though, has the power to snap us back in the direction of our intended destination.

Question:

What would happen if you hung a question mark on the end of your mission statement?

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Your Most Important Job

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At the top of each of our job descriptions, whether we have the title Pastor or anything else, should be to stay close to Jesus.

At the top of each of our job descriptions, whether we have the title Pastor or anything else, should be to stay close to Jesus.

 

Intimacy as priority

Staying close to Jesus is the most important thing you have to do. The way we have expressed this around here for years is embracing greater intimacy with God. This is the first qualitative value to be championed, empowered, and expected in our roles, not just for our roles.

First a lover

Jesus told us this. He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:33) He is first. You are not first a pastor, leader, spouse, or parent. You are first a lover of God and of what he is doing (running a kingdom). Check out the context of Jesus’ statement. He was talking about heart, love, and devotion (6:21 and 24). Those are elements of intimacy.

Bring the intensity

What intentional, passionate effort are you making to deepen and grow your personal relationship with Jesus? You may read this and think, “Chad, you’re coming across a bit intense.” Do you disagree with the premise? If you are not bringing spiritual intensity to your role, what are you bringing?

Intention required

I think intimacy and intensity are linked by intentionality. There are many ways you can make seeking first the kingdom a reality, but one way it does not happen is by falling into it. Intimacy and intensity takes intention.

What I’m doing

Here are a few intentional ways that have worked for me recently. I would love to learn how you are intentionally cultivating your intimacy and intensity with Jesus.

  • Read something new: there are so many easy ways to get fresh content in front of your eyes and into your heart. I love the YouVersion Bible app and have been reading this one recently. Check out the two apps below as well.
  • Weed something new: eliminating something can be a great way to shake things up and force intentionality. I went on a partial fast recently. Fasting requires intentionality. It doesn’t have to be food that you eliminate. You could fast from the radio while you’re in your car and intentionally give that bandwidth of your mind to something else.
  • Lead something new: your spiritual intensity may be low because you’re bored. You may need more responsibility to get you to place your attention on what really matters. I recently stepped into helping more in children’s ministry at church. It isn’t a big commitment time-wise, but it has definitely sparked fresh creative buttons in me that has increased intimacy, intensity, and intentionality with Jesus.

Question:

What do you need to do to stay close to Jesus?

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3 Things a Leader Brings

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If you are in a position of leadership, you have something to bring to every situation that others often can't.

If you are in a position of leadership, you have something to bring to every situation that others often can’t.

Embarrassing

I am color blind. It is an embarrassing condition at times. Particularly with my kids, when I put something on that doesn’t match. For example, I had two pairs of the same style shoe in different colors. It wasn’t until I was work that I saw them in the right light and realized I had mismatched them.

Not aware

My kids question what colors look like to me. I remember one of them asking if everything was in black and white, like an old TV show. It’s impossible to describe something that I am not aware of missing.

Others can’t

Some people are leadership blind. If you have leadership ability it is important to remember that some people do not see things the same way. It is hard to imagine everyone doesn’t see what you see. Leaders see what others simply can’t.

What a leader can bring

In Exodus 18 we are given 3 examples of what a leader can bring, because leaders simply see what others can’t. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, sent word that he was going to visit. It sounds like there was some family tension. We had not heard anything about Moses’ wife since Exodus 4.

Good news

Moses was ready to receive his father-in-law, wife, and kids. A lot of good things had happened since Exodus 4, such as the plagues against Egypt, parting of the Red Sea, and they had just conquered the Amalekites. Moses had a lot of good to news to share.

Bad news

Verse 9-12 Moses relates all that had happened and Jethro was delighted. We’re talking major in-law points. But the next day (v13) Jethro actually saw Moses on the job. Morning til night, Moses is engaged in arbitration, dealing with the people’s problems. Jethro asked Moses, “What in the world? This is crazy!” Jethro offered his son-in-law some insight as a leader.

Leaders see solutions

Here’s the first leadership insight Jethro had: he had the ability to see solutions. Moses was only addressing the problems. A lot of people can see a problem, but it takes a leader to bring a solution. Moses said, “When they have problems, they come to me.” (v16) Jethro saw a solution. Jethro said, “Select capable men…and appoint them as officials.” (v21) Leaders bring solutions. Jethro’s solution was delegation.

Leaders see the big picture

The second leadership insight Jethro had was the ability to see the big picture. Moses was up to his eye balls with the people’s problems as they “stood around him from morning till evening.” (v13) It’s hard to see very far when you have problems all around you. Jethro saw the big picture for Moses “to stand the strain and all these people to go home satisfied.” (v23) Call it vision, the preferred future, or the ideal destination – whatever you call it, Jethro could see the desired result. Leaders bring vision. Jethro was able to provide a leader’s perspective and imagine the end goal for what Moses was trying to accomplish.

Leaders see order

The third leadership insight of Jethro was to see order. If delegation is the what and vision the why, how to organize people for the what and the why is necessary. Jethro suggested a system of “officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.” (v21) Leaders bring structure. Jethro was able to see order out of chaos.

Bring your perspective

Jethro’s perspective made an immediate and immense impact. He was able to bring solutions, vision, and order to a situation where others could only see problems, the short-term, and chaos. If you are a leader, don’t take for granted that you see things differently, farther down the road, and more clearly. You bring a perspective that others simply don’t have the ability to see.

Question

What do you as a leader need to bring to a situation that others can’t provide themselves?

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Do You Want to See Change?

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Caterpillar

Josh Hunt relates a wonderful story to illustrate how futile some of our efforts are to change. Imagine overhearing a conversation with a Canadian caterpillar. You listen to someone urge the little creature, “You better get going. It is almost winter.”
The caterpillar replies, “Where should I go?”

“Mexico,” comes the response.

“How far is that?” the caterpillar asks.

“3000 miles,” is the answer.

Now, the caterpillar can’t even comprehend how long one mile is, let alone, 3000 miles. All he can think is, “I am gong to have to work really hard.”

This would be a daunting task for any creature, but for a caterpillar it would be an impossibility.

Except for one thing.

God has given caterpillars the power of transformation.

Every year thousand of caterpillars do make the 3000 mile trek from Canada to Mexico, not by trying really hard, but by transformation.

The caterpillar with go through a metamorphosis and turn into an entirely different creature. As a new creature, a butterfly, the impossible is possible.

This is Scripture’s secret to our ability to do the impossible.

Our metamorphosis does not come by entering the chrysalis, as the caterpillar does. The divine, the Spirit of Jesus himself, enters us. From the inside out, we become a new creation.

We are called to the unimaginable. Our destiny is to be changed into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).

No amount of effort can make this happen.

So why do we keep trying to change by our own effort? Paul asked the Galatian believers, “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Gal 3:3).

Why do we urge others to change by trying harder? We prod them to be more earnest in their commitment. We say to them, “If only you would be more consistent in your performance, you would overcome that tendency.”

Our appeal, to ourselves and others, must be to allow a metamorphosis transpire within. Paul wrote to the Romans, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)

Transformation is supernatural. If we try to attempt it in the natural, it will never take place. Can you imagine anything more pitiful than that caterpillar inching along, trying to attempt the absurd?

How many of us in our ministry efforts or as we simply try to live the Christian life are attempting something more ridiculous?

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Why money is important for true heart change?

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Heart

 

It is no secret that most people live beyond their means. I read an article a couple of weeks ago that cited just two out of five Americans spent less than their incomes in 2015. That means 60% of Americans spent all or more of what they made. “There was more month at the end of their money” as Dave Ramsey says.

Consider the mood and vibe inside those households. The stress of any unexpected repairs gets magnified. The freedom to give and help someone else is limited. The option for planning and dreaming about the future is removed. It is about survival.

Jesus made a direct connection between a person’s money and their heart. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21). If a person does not have margin in their money, what does that do to their heart? Having margin with money changes everything.

Addressing the relationship a person has with their treasure, is crucial to dealing with a person’s heart. If we avoid dealing with the issue of money, all other efforts will fail at prompting true heart-change in people. Unfortunately, we are not adept at approaching finances from the vantage of the heart.

There are good and bad ways of approaching the subject of how a person should relate to treasure. You have probably experienced both. The subject is avoided because of all the bad ways. If this issue is a key to seeing heart-change, it is worth figuring out good ways of approaching the subject.

I heard one of the best conversations on this subject on The Bible Project podcast. If this topic intrigues you, start by listening to that conversation.

What is the most significant question you are asking yourself currently about money?

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Are You Using the Most Powerful Tool You Have?

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If what you are doing is not becoming easier, you need to evaluate how well you are utilizing your most important tool.

If what you are doing is not becoming easier, you need to evaluate how well you are utilizing your most important tool.

Thrilled to share

Moses was told the in-laws were coming in town. Moses must have been thrilled to share with his father-in-law, Jethro, everything that had happened. The last time Jethro had been with his son-in-law, he was a fugitive. Now, he was the head-honcho of an entire tribe. Moses must have been beaming when Jethro delighted in the turn of events (Exodus 18:9). Jethro must have been relieved his daughter and grand-kids would finally be provided for.

This isn’t good

But then Jethro saw his son-in-law on the job. He knew the way Moses was going about it, he wasn’t going to be around for his family very long. Moses was working daybreak to nightfall. Jethro’s question was, “What is this you are doing for the people?” (Exodus 18:14) I don’t think that question says everything that Jethro was thinking. He was not impressed with Moses’ new occupation. Exodus 18:17 sums up Jethro’s opinion: “What you are doing is not good.”

A lighter load

Is your load heavy? Is the strain of ministry weighing you down? Maybe you need to hear the advice Jethro gave his son-in-law. He told Moses, “Make your load lighter by sharing the work.” The term we typically use is delegation. Could it be that God wants your load lighter?

First is priority

I would submit two reasons this is precisely what God wants. The first is priority. God wants you focusing on what is most important. This is what Jethro told Moses. He recognized Moses didn’t have time for his most important work. “You must be the people’s representatives before God and…teach them” (Exodus 18:19-20). Moses didn’t have time to pray for the people or teach them God’s ways, so they could avoid the problems they were bringing to Moses in the first place! These were to be Moses’ priority.

Second is opportunity

The second reason I see why God would want Moses to share the load is opportunity. Moses was a bottleneck. One channel only provides so much capacity. Sharing the work gave other capable people the opportunity to be a channel for solutions, so the people would “go home satisfied” (Exodus 18:23). It’s a win-win-win situation. The leader is happy, other leaders are being raised up, and the people are being served better.

Dust off your delegation

If you want to give priority to what God has asked you to do, learn to delegate. If you want to develop leaders, learn to delegate. The most beneficial and least used tools in a leader’s tool bag is delegation. I know it isn’t easy. I am as big of a control freak as anyone. We will have to take a deep breath in at least three areas, as we reach for delegation and pull it out of the tool bag.

  1. Responsibility. This often has to be given, at first, even before a person has proven themselves. Do you give others freedom, once you have given them the job?
  2. Authority. You have to give permission to make decisions. Can you relinquish control?
  3. Pulse. You have to figure out how they are hard wired and then tell them. Are you getting to know them, not just monitoring what they do?

If ministry is a strain and endurance is low, chances are you are poorly delegating. If you want to regain focus and see ministry opportunities surge, reach into your tool bag and dust off your delegation.

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What Is the State of the Mission?

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State of the Mission

You are privileged. You have been granted access to information not everyone has. You have heard the story of the creator God coming into his creation and giving himself to those he created. That’s the gospel of Jesus reconciling the world to himself. You have been granted access to that story.

Privileged

Not everyone is so privileged. There are over 4,000 peoples, with unique languages, ethnicities, and cultures, (over 1/4 of world population) who have no access to the gospel. Through the hundreds of missionaries of The Alliance, we have access to around 100 of those peoples. So there’s a lot of work do be done.

Access

There is an access divide. There are those who have access to the gospel message and those who have no access. The mission is to make disciples of each and every unique people group on the earth. Compared to all the resources available (both people and money,) for this mission, from those who have the privilege of having the gospel, only a sliver goes to those who have no access (3% of all missionaries and 1% of all the money).

Response

I am proud that The Alliance family has allocated over 80% of our international workers to those who have no or low access to the gospel. Jesus said, “Everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (Luke 12:48). We have been given much. I trust the emphasis of our mission strategy to go to the least reached is the right response to the demands of the need. May we never take for granted the privilege of what we have been given.

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