Wanted to share something I have shared with our leaders at Open Life about serving the mission.
Romans 12:1–2 (NIV84) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
I have for so many years read this passage and interpreted it as for those trying to break free from past addictions, porn, sex, drugs….but in recent years I have been greatly challenged by this passage as the desire of God for all of us who are risking new movements within the church. Listening to the new way God might lead us to reach the majority of our world who have yet to engage in a growing relationship with Jesus.
In the church, we can fall into the pattern of the way we have been raised instead of the way we should go. Most churches have embraced a model of hiring charismatic people to raise tribes within the church to grow departments. Great youth pastor equals great youth group (but what about the mission of the whole church), great children’s pastor equals great children’s church (but what about the mission of the church). I have been one to pursue my youth ministry vision at the cost of the mission of the church.
Open Life on the other hand, having our minds renewed from the old ways, has come to realize the greatest pursuit we could have is serving the mission over serving a department.
Every volunteer is first an Open Life volunteer, pursuing the mission of leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus. Sure people are placed in a volunteer team, but each role pushes towards the mission vs. the temptation to recruit a role serving the leader of a specific team where role and leaders become the ones being served more than the mission.
When the service to God is all about the role and the leader, any change in role or leadership is paralyzing to the organization, but when service is to the mission change is natural in pursuit of the mission.
In the culture of Open Life we value Experimentation, but if we foster a culture of departmentalism leading to slow change, experimentation would be challenged.
We will always manage the tension of the reality that people follow people vs. principles, or programs. Reality is, they will only serve the mission as much as they see us serving the mission. If we keep pointing towards the mission their service towards the mission will continue faithful, but if we ever begin to absorb the focus, we could quickly derail the mission for all those whom we oversee.
Just a little mind transformation there for you; what pattern are you following?