Strategy for dealing with Missions after the year 2000
ISSUES: FUTURE: RECCOMMENDED READING ON FUTURE TRENDS
From: "Dr. Steve Hoke" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I would highly recommend the two recent booklets by Dr. Bryant Myers of MARC: THE CHANGING SHAPE OF WORLD MISSION (MARC, 1993) and THE CHANGING CONTEXT OF WORLD MISSION (MARC, 1996) which were distributed widely at the last two Urbanas. In these books Bryant does a nice job of highlighting global trends on the macro- and micro- levels which influence world evangelization.
MODELS FOR CONSIDERATION
From: AD2000@xc.org (Lauri Dennis)
I. THE BIBLICAL MODEL: Envision a system where challenges are faced and the organism of the Body senses these challenges and as a reflex moves itself to meet those challenges. Use your intuition, inspired and inflamed by the Holy Spirit to think of a world where the nerve structure and bloodstream are functioning under the headship of the Divine Creator. In this structure, Great Commission mission is the nervous system of the Body. It is out there in vital contact with the environment and the world, which must be reclaimed from the results of the fall and the devastation of the evil one. The local churches and their networks constitute the skeletal structure; without this we are all but a blob of jelly. The bloodstream of the Church is represented by the prophetic ministry, that ministry which proclaims God's Word in a fashion that galvanizes people to action. The brain, the head, is the Christ of the Church who will not surrender that place to any person, group or structure. This seems to me to be the biblical model; to settle for anything less is to opt for less than the Scripture holds out to us... [W]hat the biblical model teaches us as we contemplate evangelical structures beyond 2000 goes beyond system thinking, in that the model is not made up of inanimate components as many systems are, but rather a living organism. As living, thinking organisms, we cannot force our will on anyone or anything, but we may be able to exert some kind of positive influence towards God's purposes.
II. THE TYPICAL ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL: Evangelical organizations, as with other organizations, follow a typical pattern involving four stages. First of all, the pioneering stage, where defining and delivering a new superior vision or value seems to be the central focus. There are those organizations that seem to be specialized in occupying new open spaces... It tends to need a sheltered niche or space in which it can grow. Then there is the second stage, the stage of expansion. There the force that drives is an attempt and quest for a critical mass, where the boundaries are being increased and there is an increasing diversity of inter-active products or responses which becomes very critical. Within that environment it becomes a goal to occupy as much of the space as possible, so there are not unoccupied niches to be exploited from outside... The third stage is the stable... authoritative stage. The challenge in this stage of the organizational development is to lead. You do this by the supplying of a compelling ongoing vision, which drives the whole system toward continued improvement and enhancement. The last stage is the stage of renewal, where it is renew or die; the death may be the supplanting of the organization by more vigorous ones... We are all being called to re-examine our structures...
III. THE NETWORKING MODEL: We live in a networked era, an era that has broken down the ways which we organize ourselves... We are currently working on a manual on networking at our International Office. In the process of networking, we have discovered that the principle of working together rather than each entity on it's own, has literally exploded as we have approached the year 2000. We have discovered that there is wide variety of kinds of networks and coalitions and movements and partnerships. Some are embedded in primary, unshakable principles such as intentional partnerships, international partnerships, integrated partnerships. Others, seeking to accomplish the same thing do not insist on adherence to rigid standards. They call themselves strategic alliances that are strategic both because of their focus and their approach to the task. Some ride on the wave of technological advance with e-mail conference networks. Some are field-based seeking to advance God's Kingdom on the ground. Others are resource-based seeking to generate and supply greater resources for the task. Some are strategic networks in that they seek to advance certain strategic functions such as prayer, women in missions, cities, business and professionals, presidents and academic deans of theological institutions. Others are countrywide coalitions seeking to advance the purposes of Christ in a country. Some are people-specific networks that have the common focus on peoples... To think only of my organization or my industry, whether it is a single mission or a network of missions, may merely lead us to irrelevance. Beyond 2000 there is every indication that the networking model will continue to grow and diversify.
IV. THE FLEXIBLE LEADERSHIP STYLE MODEL: From the current trend towards effective organizational development emerges a picture of more effective organizational development for the post 2000 AD period. Organizational development that grows in effectiveness in the nineties can be characterized by a series of contrasts. The FLEXIBLE LEADERSHIP STYLE model emphasizes personal relationship over positional relationship. The FOCUS OF LOYALTY has shifted from institution to people. The STYLE is less structured - more flexible. THE SOURCE OF ENERGY, rather than stability, comes instead from change and innovation. Instead of LEADERSHIP being dogmatic/authoritative, it is inspirational, empowering, enabling, facilitating. The LEADER rather than giving orders coaches, teaches. Instead of the QUALITY depending on the affordable best it calls forth excellence. EXPECTATIONS for associates are not for security but rather personal growth. STATUS does not come from title and rank but making a difference. What are considered RESOURCES are not so much cash and time but rather information, people and networks. This is the wave of the future-beyond 2000.
In conclusion, I am cautiously optimistic regarding the future of evangelical cooperation in missions and the international perspective after AD 2000. We have a number of encouraging models as well as encouraging trends. Thank the Lord of the Harvest for the way He has led in these past 2000 years. Above all let us keep fresh in our heart and mind the biblical model. We, the Body of Christ, are a living organism rather than an organization. Let us follow Paul's counsel to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ...