The Mission Impossible shows always started of with a scene where a special agent is given, via a sophisticated piece of electronic equipment, a request to complete a very complex mission. This communication always included one very basic statement followed by some important information. The basic statement “Your mission, should you accept it,” obviously gave the special agent a choice. However, the agent simply could not make a logical decision, to accept or reject the mission, without some information about that mission itself: the what, how, and why elements. After receiving this information the agent would always accept the mission and the electronic communication device self-destructed, in five seconds.
There are times when requests are made of the technical ministry team that seem like mission impossible. You need us to do what? You need it done by when? Questions such as these go through our heads when unexpected, unreasonable, and even at times unacceptable requests come to us based upon our technical expertise. Are any of these thoughts legitimate in our quest to serve the technical needs of the church? Perhaps initially they are, but once we get over the shock, our thoughts should shift to honoring the request, and meeting the need.
In my last two columns, I wrote about the importance of the TechTeam and the selection of a skilled/qualified leader to head up that team. In this article, we are going to explore the importance of having a clearly defined “mission statement,” so we will know the what, how, and why of our quest. For it is the full understanding and enthusiastic acceptance of the mission statement that makes it possible to look at those unexpected, unreasonable, unacceptable requests as not mission impossible but mission possible.
A mission statement is a formal document that is in place at almost every company or business today. Some call them vision statements, but I personally prefer mission statement because ours is truly a mission to the church. Mission implies action, while vision does not. Therefore, to be successful in our quest we too should have such a formal document to keep us focused on our what, how, and why.
The mission statement needs to be written by the technical ministry team, not by its leader, or one of the pastors on staff. It may take several team meetings to accomplish this task, but it is worth the effort. Once the mission statement is written and adopted, print it on a large sheet of paper, and have everyone on the technical ministry team sign it. Finally, frame it and post it in a tech area for all to see, so when needed it can be looked to for encouragement, support, and even accountability.
To assist you in writing your own mission statement, I would like to provide you with an example. While Director of Technical Ministries at Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas, www.centralcommunity.org the technical ministry team adhered to and followed this mission statement adopted in 1992.
A mission statement consists of three basic elements: a statement of purpose; a statement of direction; and a Biblical basis. First, let us consider the “statement of purpose.” This section of the mission statement answers the ‘what’ question in our quest for mission possible. What is our mission?
Statement of Purpose
The Technical Ministries Team exists for one purpose: to invest ourselves in a ministry that will directly support and reinforce anything and everything that goes forth from this church that requires the support of lighting, audio, video, graphics, or any other form of technical or stage support, in a manner that is pleasing to God, and will provide for a better reception and understanding by all those who are touched by our efforts.
The key in this statement of purpose is the phrase “in a manner that is pleasing to God.” This statement places what we do on the highest standard possible. Approaching our quest with a casual attitude is simply not acceptable. Each and every member of the technical ministry team invests or devotes him/herself to a ministry of technical excellence, the topic of an article later in this series.
The next element of the mission statement is the “statement of direction.” This section answers the ‘how’ question in our quest for mission possible. How do we attain our mission?
Statement of Direction
o We are to encourage and support one another and those whom we support technically.
o We are committed to being professional in our craft, in the execution of our skills, and our relationships with others.
o We are to submit to each other and to our leadership, out of respect for each other, as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
o We are responsible, individually and as a team, for our technical and spiritual development, through study and commitment.
o We are to build up one another, and have the responsibility of eliminating any word or action that in not constructive to our team.
Note these how statements of direction have very little to do with the technical part of our quest; they primary focus on our interpersonal relationships. The relationships we have with each other on the team and more importantly the relationship we have with those we support technically.
The last element of the mission statement is the “Biblical basis.” This section answers the why question in our quest for mission possible. Why are we even involved in our mission?
As we serve, we embrace the scripture; “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
With our Biblical basis, it is clear our why is “to the interests of others.” The others are all those whom look to us for technical support. If we fully embrace this Biblical basis, what appears to be mission impossible will truly become mission possible.
God has given us the skills that allow us to do what we do. It is the mission statement that keeps us focused on the reasons for doing it. I would encourage all technical ministry teams to consider the adoption of such a document, review it regularly, and keep it at the center of your ministry.