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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

31 May '08

A journey from ambiguity to clarity

Posted by T.J. Addington in missional, missional clarity, organizational alignment
I have worked for the EFCA for 18 years in the national office. It is a great organization. However, for the first eight or so years that I worked there we had a very nebulous idea of what our mission was. We knew it revolved around churches and we were focused on the number of churches we had. Apart from running good programs and focusing on church planting, however, it was very hard to define what we were apart from being one of those 'denominational offices.'

About ten years ago, a big transition took place for us as we worked through a process to define a new mission statement: "The EFCA exists to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people." All of a sudden we had meaningful targets that were not simply about numbers. We are about multiplication of churches, the health of churches, becoming a movement of 'all people' in the United States, and reaching 'all people' globally. These four integrated foci began to drive everything we did.

At the same time, we determined that we had to be a service organization for the churches in our movements. We existed for them and not them for us! In other words, by helping our churches become all that they could be (the local church is God's chosen instrument to reach the world) we fulfilled our mandate. Our surveys show that about 98% of our pastors know and believe in the mission of the EFCA today. And, because our churches voluntarily give financial contributions to the national office, they vote on our effectiveness with their pocketbooks. In the past 10 years, the financial support of the EFCA national office has gone up dramatically. All this is the result of moving from ambiguity to clarity and then living out that clarity.

Moving from ambiguity to clarity is one of the most powerful things a ministry organization can do to increase its missional effectiveness.