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Organizational grid


ONPOINT MISSION is always very intentional. It is the clear distinctive of churches whose mission is real and more compelling than cleverly devised mission statements or well-crafted tag lines. This intent is what links the various organizations of the local church in their assignment to influence the four circles of their mission field. Please note that it is not the organizational chart itself that distinguishes missional churches from all the others. One of the amazing truths of God's plan is how he uses us in all of our diversity to accomplish his purpose. So, the truth is that the organizational grid of the church isn't all that significant. Some are sleek and modern, others plain and simple, maybe ill-defined and clumsy. What gives them energy and impetus is when the mission becomes the purpose of every organizational element in the local congregation. When this purpose immerses every piece of the organizational grid the church will influence the world in visible ways.

Being deliberate and purposeful in mission is a notable biblical theme. Many verses in the Gospels and Epistles challenge believers to do everything in life for the Lord (Colossians 3:17, 23), being motivated by an intent to honor him in our work. Two unique paths of intentionality, however, have been sources of inspiration in my thirty-five years or pastoral service and spiritual leadership. Both of them are from the hand of Dr. Luke, one in the Gospel and the other in the Acts of the Apostles. Let me reference them briefly---

[1] The Gospel of Luke

The Lord's movement from Galilee to Jerusalem is a record of intentional purpose. Along the way there were many distractions---moments of instruction, healing the sick, dealing with opposition, giving direction to the twelve, and many other personal interactions from the time of the Transfiguration (see Luke 9:28ff) to his arrival in Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Nine verses in Luke's account provide a thread of intentionality that is profound. Even in all the ministry from Galilee to Jerusalem the verses reveal an intent in Christ to go to Jerusalem. They are: Luke 9:30, 9:51, 10:38, 13:22, 13:33, 17:11, 18:31, 19:28, and 19:41). Nothing could stop him from finishing the work the Father had given him to accomplish. Almost every verse indicates his final destination. The mission was to be fulfilled.

[2] The Acts of the Apostles

Once again Luke's hand provided a consistent record of the intentionality that marked the mission of Christ's followers after the ascension and the mission specificity of Acts 1:8. The four circles were drawn and Luke then showed evidence throughout the text of their intent in fulfilling the mission. The notes are spread through the Acts---Acts 2:47, 5:14, 6:1, 6:7, 9:31, 11:21, 13:49, 19:20. Some commentators identify these verses as Luke's summary of mission given to the Apostles. For me, they have been more of a scorecard for mission, how the mission became a unifying purpose for the many individuals called to pursue it. The organizational structure wasn't what made it work. The mission itself was beyond any of them and they accomplished it through the power Christ gave them and the purposeful hearts that bound them in mission.

So, the point here isn't that the local church, or individual believers for that matter, must have an elaborate mission apparatus to be ONPOINT with their mission assignment. What is evident is that the mission statement of the church or individual must be the consuming passion of the people charged with the responsibility of activating, sustaining, and fulfilling it. Every church function must be grounded in the mission of the church. This mission must be the unifying factor that links the various groups or organizations in the church under s united purpose.

Church strategists typically agree that the evangelical church today is basically adrift. Research about the spiritual landscape of the nation leaves us scratching our heads in wonderment. Some people say the idea of the church just doesn't work anymore. Of course, I oppose that view with every ounce of my being. God speaks through his church and works in his church to fulfill the mission assignment Jesus gave his followers---Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8, plus several others. If it's not happening now it's not because there's fault with the mission or what God promised his people to fulfill it. It may be that our organizational grid isn't focused on that one thing, the mission that glues us together.

ONPOINT mission happens when the organizational grid is held together by the mission, intentionally.


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