November 20, 2017

Mission Impossible Without Commitment

By George Harris

We live in a modern world of advanced technology and creative competition. When we take a long hard look at the world, it becomes obvious that we can take a leaf out of their book. The Lord told us that we are to “be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Secular organizations galvanize themselves behind a shared mission, which can be an exciting and successful place to work, but it takes the commitment of every employee to attain the goal of the mission statement.

Cases where managers have created a real sense of mission, set a daunting standard for the less able . . . Bill Marriot, for example undertook “walkabouts” with his hotel managers where he noted down in his pocket-pad a range of faults, some seemingly trivial, but not to Bill. The news of Bill’s likes and dislikes quickly circulated to all the other Marriot hotel managers. Such attention to detail has undoubtedly helped the group become one of the most successful hotel chains in the world.

Forrest Mars, founder of the Mars Corporation in Slough, England some 65 years ago, considered product quality to be the most important factor for his customers. Certainly, competitive prices, availability, packaging etc. were also very important, but quality was above all. His motto was, “I want to be proud of our product.”

The apostle Paul was proud of his product. He said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:16-17). This characteristic demonstrated boldness of spirit in a series of characteristics is revealed by him as a true spiritual leader in the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans. He reveals the gospel’s power, salvation, righteousness, and faith. The Greek word for power is dunamis from which our English word “dynamite” is derived. Paul expressed that he had a dynamite product. Some nearly two thousand years later we have the same product, and what a powerful product it is. It is God’s power to save depraved man from a fate worse than death, and give him a hope beyond that which he could have ever dreamed of. It is the gospel (the good news) of Jesus Christ.

Marriott and Mars, both founder entrepreneurs, were “walking missionaries” in their organizations, constantly demonstrating and expressing in their day-to-day activities, their preferred ways of doing business. The Bible says, “where there is no vision the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). The church needs leaders who are visionaries, people of God who lead the flock of God by example, to live, eat and sleep their mission statement. The employees of Marriott and Mars were left in no doubt about “the way things should be done.”

Percy Barnnevik of Asea Brown Boveri, the giant Swiss conglomerate, has created a sense of mission which permeates his portfolio of over 1300 companies. He has a simple but compelling philosophy which can be paraphrased as “putting people before cost, thinking globally, but acting locally, and keeping business small and simple so they re- main customer focused.” In Christian terms Christ put the souls of men before the cost to himself, the church thinking universally, in prayers for all the saints, but acting locally in carrying out its mission, keeping the gospel simple (not as false teachers) so that she can remain soul focused.

A mission statement is only created with a sense of mission if the mission statement is understood, believed, and acted upon by the majority of the organization’s members. Campbell and Yeung, “gurus” in this field, suggest a mission with these qualities will have four components: purpose, strategy, values, and behavior standards. The purpose of the mission statement of the gospel is to “present every man perfect in Christ” (Col 1:28), the strategy to preach the gospel to every creature in every nation (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15), the values, love, joy, peace and all the other fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23) and behavior standards, to “put off the old man, put on the new man, and walk worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Col 3:9-10; 1:10)

Some mission statements of big business that are worthy of our consideration are: Sainsburg’s (an English super- market chain) “. . . contribution to the public good and the quality of life.” Merck (a big American health care group), “We are in the business of preserving and improving human life.” Matsushita, “To recognize our responsibilities as industrialists, to foster progress, to promote the greatest welfare of society. . .” All of these mission statements have a spiritual tone to them but are secular in nature, as are the businesses that produce them.

The Lord has given us our mission statement. In probating his own will, subsequent to his resurrection but prior to his ascension, he told his disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be dammed” (Mark 16:15-16). “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19-20). “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47). Within this mission statement are the four components: purpose, strategy, values, and behavior standards.

The Lord did not give us an impossible mission, but there are many among us that act as if he did. Yes, from a worldly view point the mission may seem impossible, but the world takes God out of the equation. God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we are able to ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). It takes commitment to be challenged to the mission. It requires vision to see the results of the mission, and it necessarily depends upon laborers for the execution of the mission. The Lord has told us, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38). If secular business was given the church’s mission statement, would its performance be more successful than the children of light?

Nehemiah had the vision to get the city walls of Jerusalem rebuilt. He had a passionate perception of what his mission was. He planned the work meticulously, then he worked the plan. He motivated a demotivated people to rise up and build the wall. The wall was completed in an extra-ordinary time frame because “the people had a mind to work” (Neh 4:6).

A hit and miss approach to the mission at hand will not get the task done. It is the Lord’s business. It is the greatest work that the world has ever known. It requires laborers who have a mind to work. The mission statement has been given. Every worker of Jesus Christ must take up the challenge and conduct the business within the framework of the mission statement. The mission statement must be “understood, believed and acted upon by the majority of the organization’s members.” However, it will be mission impossible without commitment.

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