Lead Stories

The struggle to remain Mission True

"The struggle to remain Mission True" Continued...

If this book reads like the overzealous and self-righteous friend eager to critique others or makes Mission True organizations take pride in their accomplishments, we will have failed those who have drifted and failed those who have remained true. If Mission Drift becomes a bully stick for boards and leaders—in either direction—we have dreadfully missed the mark.

Our aims are fairly simple. We want to name and illustrate the causes of Mission Drift. We want to help you clarify the missions of the organizations you most love. And we want to equip you with the safeguards to reinforce and protect them.

Choose This Day

Mission True organizations decide that their identity matters and then become fanatically focused on remaining faithful to this core.

The key to Mission True organizations isn’t a charismatic leader. If it was, they’d have Mission Drift within the second generation if the inevitable leadership transition wasn’t flawless. Compassion and the other organizations we profile in this book do not possess a mysterious set of practices and principles only applicable to them. Rather, their practices are transferrable to any organization, denomination, or ministry. These are what we identified as Mission True qualities.

We hope that these observations and supporting stories will compel you to consider the implications of ignoring the crisis lurking in all our organizations and, even deeper, in our hearts. Our research led us to an uncomfortable conclusion: The pressures of Mission Drift are guaranteed. It is the default, the auto-fill. It will happen unless we are focused and actively preventing it.

In marriage, if we stop working on our relationship and just rely on the spark we had during our early days, we know how the story will end. In a similar way, organizations relying on the zeal of their founders will experience Mission Drift if they aren’t actively and regularly working to protect and enhance the mission.

Will we choose to do the hard work of protecting our mission?

After leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua knew his nation stood at a decision point. After laying out their history, he made it clear that they had a choice to make:

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.[19]

Mission Drift and You

In writing this book, we changed our hypothesis. Initially, we saw Mission Drift as an organizational issue. But as organizations are made up of individuals foiled by pride and sin and allured by success, we concluded that this unspoken crisis isn’t an organizational problem. It’s a human one. We found Mission Drift wouldn’t be a problem if humans weren’t involved. But alas all organizations—every last one of them—have humans at the helm.

God has called us to lives of faithfulness. And this is the lifeblood of Mission True organizations.

At the end of his life, Paul said to his son in the faith, Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”[20]

What a striking statement. While Paul knew he was far from perfect—even calling himself the “worst” of sinners[21]—he had an undivided heart, one grounded in the recognition of Christ’s unlimited love. Through Christ, Paul did everything in his power to remain obedient to his mission.

Our hope for us, for you, your organizations, your church, your ministry—these missions you love and support—is to do the same.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the very thing our world so desperately needs. And the infusion of the Gospel in our organizations is what we most need to protect. Surprisingly, it took a journalist, a Hollywood star, a rabbi, and an atheist to remind us why.

From Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer and Chris Horst. Published by Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright © 2014. Used by permission.

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