I wonder if you have ever experienced being at the beach and running into the ocean water, only to discover after a considerable period of time, that you can’t find where you originally put your gear on the beach because you’ve drifted, unbeknown to you, with the current of the water.
This is exactly what it is like in our own personal lives and in the life of the church when it comes to the mission. One of the challenges of leading any group of people is the gradual drifting from the original purpose the group was formed in the first place. I call this mission drift. This is particularly rife in the church. Jesus has given the church a clear mission and purpose for existence (Matthew 28:18-20) but so often the focus turns inward and we get more preoccupied with ourselves than we do with what Christ has called us to do.
Save Souls and Make Disciples
Jesus has called us to save souls and make disciples but too often we allow a variety of programs to run that aren’t in alignment with this mission and too often we get caught up in weekly activities that don’t produce the results that Christ has called us to focus upon.
Mission drift can happen in your personal life as well. You started out with a clear mission in mind but over time, your sense of purpose gets eroded by the urgent and before you know it, you have drifted with the current of distracted busyness and you’ve forgotten what it’s really all about.
- Get clarity on the mission before you embark on the journey. Know what purpose the Church exists for and what purpose God has created you for.
- Keep the mission before you constantly. It’s not enough to hear it or read it one time. You need to be indoctrinated in it and constantly checking everything you do against it.
- Align your activities with the mission. It’s not enough to know what the mission is. You must pursue it and align every activity with it. If the mission is the sole purpose for your existence, then don’t do things that take you away from it.
- Hold yourself and the church accountable to the results required of the mission. Don’t ignore results in favor of faithfulness. When a church is working the mission, tangible results will follow. Lives will be changed and more and more people will start following Christ. Don’t excuse yourself due to a lack of fruitfulness. Hold yourself, team members and the entire congregation accountable to what the mission requires of you.
- Celebrate the mission. What gets applauded, gets attention. What gets celebrated, gets prioritized. Use testimonies, milestones and forward progress as opportunities to celebrate the mission and remind everyone again of why we do what we do.