I’ve just completed two months of visiting as many area fellowships (small group gatherings for our mission) as possible – sometimes two a weekend. I’ve seen a lot of people, talked to them, heard their stories, and heard about their ministries. I’ve spent some time listening to their hurts and their dreams and also their frustrations. After meeting these people, there are seven things I know about our mission:
One: There is no doubt about it – our people love God. They want to serve Him, and they want to see revival come in America. They want to know that they are part of what God is doing to restore the spiritual vitality of the people in our nation.
Two: They are faithful. I have spent time with missionaries who have been in ministry with AMF for over forty years. They have seen good times and bad times, strong financial times and weak financial times, and they clearly say to me, “God is faithful. He will take care of us, as He’s always taken care of the mission. What we need is strong spiritual leadership to help us understand what God wants us to do.”
Three: We as a mission need to provide more value to our missionaries. It’s been clear to me that over the past years, the value that an individual missionary receives from the Home Office has been eroded. I’m not just talking benefit packages or increased resources that are required; I’m talking about spiritual leadership – fellowship, a sense of common purpose. We need to provide more value.
Four: Everyone in our mission wants our mission to grow. We understand that our mission is older with a lot of mature Christians, but everyone I come in contact with desperately wants us to reach the next generation. That’s high on our agenda.
Five: We are stuck. We’re stuck not because of our lack of ability or our desire to grow, but something has mired us in the mud. It might be not knowing what our common purpose is, or struggling with territorialism, or not staying up with the current ministry trends. We need to get unstuck and begin to move forward again.
Six: Our strength is our diversity, and our weakness is also our diversity. Because we are a unique collection of individuals strongly committed to doing what God has called us to do, we embrace – in fact, we enjoy – our diversity. Rural and urban ministry, ministry to the rich and ministry to the very poor, ministry to children and ministry to older people, ministry to the incarcerated and ministry to the free – we have strength in our diversity. That diversity is also our weakness because our reason for being is a little out of focus.
Seven: We are committed to change. We are committed to the idea that we need to think through why and how God has called us to do ministry. I know of no one in our mission who is resistant to change. How we do that is going to be the real challenge.
It’s been a great few months. I’ve met a lot of great people. I look forward to what God’s going to do in the future.