This week the members of my church's vestry read a book about the missions of congregations. And again, I turn out to be a bigger fan of such discussion than I could have predicted ahead of time. Maybe it's because in the final analysis, talking about organizational goals and dynamics is meta-talk, and I've always been fascinated by the meta.
Here are a couple of the ideas in the book (Behold I Do A New Thing: Transforming Communities Of Faith by Kirk Hadaway) that I'm going to keep in mind:
- Even though we tend to focus on definite, measurable goals, there are such things as diffuse, intangible goals -- and they can be legitimate. A church's goal is transforming people, for example, and the outcome of that goal can't be defined in advance.
- Just because a need exists in your population, that doesn't mean it's your organization's job to address it. Distinct organizations can recognize the intersection between their mission and the needs of their members.