The Greater Mission By Scott Rodin
The Greater Mission and Mission Statements
For the past 20+ years I have been helping organizations write or revise their mission statements. Used properly, mission statements are both an anchor point and a guide. By clearly articulating who we are, what we do, and why we do it, our mission statement speaks both internally by keeping us operating in our lane, and externally by helping communicate what we’re all about to our target audiences.
DEFINE CORE PURPOSE
More recently, I become acquainted with the importance of helping organizations define their Core Purpose. The Core Purpose differs from a mission statement in that it considers the reason the organization was started in the first place. By going back to the origins, leaders today can understand the needs that were present that led to the decision to start the ministry in order to meet those needs. This keeps organizations even more focused on doing the unique work they were created to do, and it helps them more clearly define the value they bring to the kingdom.
A Core Purpose describes the soul of the organization, and as such it shouldn’t change. Mission statements may need to be adjusted from time to time, in fact they probably should be, but your Core Purpose remains the foundation upon which everything should be built. If you haven’t written a Core Purpose for your organization, I would encourage you to do so.
Emerging from this work on Core Purpose we have discovered and even more fundamental truth about Christian nonprofit organizations. This is going to be a sweeping statement, but I will attempt to prove it to be true. Regardless of your mission statement, and regardless of your Core Purpose, every Christian nonprofit and church operates under one transcending mission statement. Are you ready?
Our mission is to do God’s work, God’s way, for God’s glory.
THE GREATER MISSION
I have set this ‘greater mission’ before dozens of Christian nonprofits and to a one they have agreed that, ultimately, that is their greater mission. Everything we do in the world of nonprofit work in ministry, including every church should be passionately focused on ensuring that our work aligns with this three-part mission. Let’s look at it.
Doing God’s work means that we have discerned through prayer and diligent listening to God that the work we do is indeed the work he’s called us to do. If we grow, it’s because he called us to grow. If we change strategy, it’s because we believe he’s led us to do so. The temptation is to do our work according to our strategy and in pursuit of our goals and mistake it for God’s work. It should be our driving passion that every single decision we make, every act we take, indeed every aspect of our work is totally aligned with God’s will, ensuring that we are doing God’s work not ours. Are you dedicating the time, prayer and priority to ensure all your work is truly God’s work?
Secondly, and this may be the more difficult one, we should be committed to ensuring that everything we do is done God’s way. We do this by using the values of the kingdom of God and the teachings in Scripture as our operations manual. It requires us to align all of our policies and practices around the ethics of God’s kingdom. That includes our HR, finance, fundraising, board, program evaluation, and the rest. We can be tempted to do our work our way, which means relying on our own ideas, strengths and definitions of success. When we do, we are going it alone, bereft of God’s leading and power. Instead, the passionate pursuit of ensuring we are doing everything in God’s way should be the underlying value that drives our board agendas, directs our leadership team and staff meetings, and informs our strategic planning sessions. How fully are you aligning everything you do with kingdom values, built solidly on biblical principles?
Finally, doing everything we do for God’s glory means trusting him for the increase. It means understanding where our work ends, and his provision takes over. It’s planting and watering with excellence (1 Corinthians 3:5-9), then trusting God to bring the increase. When we truly surrender our organizations – and our own work – to him, every success will reflect back on him as our provider.
If we don’t, the glory stays with us. This the spoiled fruit of pursuing our work our way. How different might your work look if you identified clearly where you trust God for the increase and deeply desired that he be glorified and everything you do?
TAKE THE CHALLENGE
I pray this is a challenge and an encouragement for you and your leadership team and board. I encourage you to examine your organization, every aspect of it, as well as your own life, your own measurement of success and your own values according to this greater mission. As followers of Jesus, may it be said of us and the organizations we steward that everything we do is driven by our desire to do God’s work, ensuring our plans are aligned with his, doing it God’s way, surrendering everything we do to his leading, and doing it all for God’s glory.
Scott Rodin is Senior Consultant/Chief Strategy Officer for The Focus Group. He also serves as a Senior Fellow of the Association of Biblical Higher Education and as board chair for ChinaSource. Over the past thirty-eight years Scott Rodin has helped hundreds of organizations improve their effectiveness in leadership, fund development, strategic planning and board development. Be sure to read Dr. Rodin’s newest book is titled, The Greater Mission.
Dr. Scott Rodin and Brad Lyland from The Focus Group, will be serving as faculty for the Outcomes Conference 2021 They will doing a full-day leadership Intensive, here’s a preview of their session:
Development – The Next Level
Description: Take a serious, comprehensive look at your development program, examine its health and challenges, and develop a plan to take your development work to the next level of effectiveness to help your organization thrive.
Outcomes: 1) Apply new metrics to gain a realistic picture of your development program’s overall health, 2) Create new income increasing strategies for each part of your development program, and 3) Discover how to develop a theology of development to ground your plan on biblical principles.
There is still time to register and save! Prices go up on May 8!
What is Christian Leadership Alliance?
Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.