The Missional Value of Being Constant

It is one thing to have a mission and quite another to have a missional lens, where all activity is viewed through the lens of that mission, where all decision-making is filtered through the lens of the mission. It is one thing to have a mission hanging on the wall and another to work hard to align activity to that mission.

At the beginning of each calendar year, I remind our team of our mission and values, our identity that is beneath all the activity. I know the reminders are redundant, but redundancy is important in communication of mission and values. I recently met with all the managers and directors of the Resources Division at LifeWay, the division I am responsible to lead. We have nearly 650 employees in the division, and they all report to the leaders who were in that room. For five years we have lived with the same mission and values and have seen the impact on the culture of being crystal clear about our identity. As I shared recently, we have been intentional about driving mission and values into our culture. I asked our team about the impact of living with the same mission and values for a sustained season, and we identified many wins, including:

1. Attracting the right players

If mission and values are not part of the hiring process, you don’t really have a mission and values. You merely have a statement on a website or a brochure. When you really have a mission, it becomes central in recruiting. And because it is central, the wrong players are more likely to be filtered out and the right players, those already aligned, are more likely to surface.

2. Mutual accountability

When mission and values are really in a culture, the leaders are not the only ones holding people accountable. The whole team views the work through the lens of the mission and the values, and the culture holds people accountable. People remind each other of the values, and violations are called out because people want to protect the culture they love.

3. Increased enthusiasm

When tasks are viewed through the lens of mission, the enthusiasm that drives the execution increases. On the contrary, when people don’t see how tasks they are fulfilling are connected to a grand mission, the tasks feel more mundane and less meaningful.

4. Unity around mission

There is strength in a diverse team, particularly when the people are united around a mission that transcends the differences. People can only unite around a mission and values when they are continually made clear.

It is challenging to live with the same mission and values over a sustained period of time as we can so easily drift from rooting our activity in our identity. But doing so is well worth it.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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