Organizational Framework for a New Mission Agency

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Over the last 4 months, a team from Home Missions and World Missions worked closely with Calvin Social Resource (CSR) developing a presentation and a survey process to engage stakeholders.

In this survey, which was shared both with Internal Agency Staff/Board Members and with External Partners, we invited feedback to an initial draft of our Organizational Framework. We encouraged input into the wording of various pieces and gleaned helpful suggestions in wording and in areas of early collaboration where we could begin the work of doing ministry together as staff and partners.

A great deal of collective wisdom was gleaned from these surveys and from a number of additional discernment groups that were convened to give further input into our organizational framework.  

What we share with you now is the latest version of that framework. We anticipate at least one more round of engagement before the April board meetings which may result in further modifications. Over the next months as we begin to find places of early collaboration where we as staff can begin to work together in new ways, this framework will play a huge part in helping us learn not only what we want to do together but also how we want to work together.   

It will also give increasingly clarity in the variety of important choices that will need to be made as we begin to discern where God is leading us.

We now invite you to engage with the content of this Organizational Framework. We want to participate in discussion about the words and ideas and how a New Mission Agency will serve God's Kingdom.

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Let's Discuss…

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Certainly there was a great deal of thought in putting this together - thank you!  Our landscape has certainly changed and the need for de-centralization has become apparent.  So thanks for those considerations.  One glaring omission, in my opinion, is that the name of Jesus Christ is not mentioned in the grounding vision and mission statements.  The vagueness of just using the term "God" leaves it too open ended.  Our intention is to proclaim Christ to the nations - He should be front and center.

The document is not an easy read. Not to say that it's not understandable-- in fact, it's quite well written and thoughtful, and speaks to many realities of an evolving mission environment. But my frank side leaves me wondering after reading the document, "And?" Perhaps this arises from my desire to see what the practical application of the framework looks like. Or perhaps it's because it's being manifested from the proverbial ivory tower of the CRC. We love that stuff-- we really do. And it's important. But if you're looking to capture the energy and excitement of an organizational transition, perhaps reduce the scope, be more succinct, and provide a clear answer to how this framework will support the future mission agency and why that's something to get excited about.

I echo Chad's sentiments. Relate this back to our Gospel call to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in our communities, and how we translate the NMA to 'Kingdom-Building' work.

Participant

Hi Steve...as one of the authors of the Framework document, just wanted you to know that WM/HM staff are using the next few months leading to April board meetings to begin to give clarity about what the new agency will look like.  This will certainly get us into more of the nuts and bolts of how we will be equipped to come alongside of congregations and partners.

And yes, although the framework does seem quite conceptual and the process perhaps a bit slow - it reflects a lot of input and feedback from staff and stakeholders over the last five months.   Having buy in and clarity about vision, values, postures etc. will go a long way towards shaping a new organizational culture and living into a new way to serve congregations and leaders as we step into mission together.  

We share your passion to see all of this translate into becoming an agency that learns to come alongside our congregations and leaders to do 'kingdom building' work!  Thanks for your comments as we work towards this.

When I consider the three outcomes, I appreciate the focus of deepening, growing and connecting. Particularly, for outcome 1, I am wrestling if “invite” is more fitting than introduce. We want Jesus to encounter people and come home in hearts and cultures to awaken and make life full. There is an amiss if we stay at the level of introductions. Our desire is to have Jesus enter in and host the feast.

Community Builder

Thanks to the authors for putting this frame work together. It is hard work. Would like to make the following observations:

The use of undefined terms like: a) catalyzing 2) contextual missions 3) incarnational missions. Having just visited a couple of Buddhist countries, the last term is very interesting.

Your vision and mission statements are presumptuous as the CRCNA still has BTGMI very involved in “International” (meaning both home and world missions).

The list of “shifts” is interesting. f) to me this is only made worse by what you are trying to do; g) I have seen a lot of evidence in my extensive world travels of this, so nothing new.

Be careful using Addington’s “Sandbox Strategy”.  It sounds childish to me.  When I first got wind of the possible amalgamation I suggested in this space that CRCNA hire McKinsey. The church needs a real good look at what it is all about. These folks, while very expensive, would give it an effective outside view. Besides, they have probably never been asked to do a church!

The framework is too wordy. With no organization charts it lacks clarity. None of the words you have used will work without people in place. The word “teams” look ominous to me.

Harry Boessenkool

Participant

An interesting conceptual word document.

Church and Classis are mentioned, yet who, what and how will the NMA blend information and recommendations into the structures of church and Classis?

Often I respect denomination presentations, only six months or a year later the communicated 'help' is time consuming.

Targeted use of email, messaging, Facebook is very effective and saves time.

I continue to not see reference to the 19th and 20th century planted churches as co-participants WITH our North American body of Christ.

I pray this New Paradigm will represent ALL of the global Reformed Body of Christ.

Respectfully Fronse

Community Builder

Thanks, Fronse, for your comments.   The question of how we best can walk alongside of churches and classes is one we will need to answer together as we go forward.  This is why we want to emphasize the posture of listening.  Your point on wise use of social media is a good one and we do need to become much better at that.   I like your emphasis on reciprocal relationships with the global church.  We do intend to embed this in all our strategies and it is already happening in places like Sierra Leone where we are working jointly with the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria.

Community Builder

Thanks, Harry, for your comments.  We thought it important first to work on our mission, vision, values first precisely because we are developing a flatter, more geographically dispersed structure. But you are correct that organizational framework to which you are responding just represents the initial stage of the structure we will be presenting.  I do agree entirely with you that ultimately it will depend on the people we put in place.  I would like to explore further with you why you see the word "teams" as "ominous."  Could you elaborate on that more?

Community Builder

Joel, teams should be mainly used to handle specific problems. “Teams” as ongoing workgroups tend to breed bureaucracy.   If your mission and strategy are clearly stated the leader(s) in the organization should be able to carry out the mandates. That is why I was happy you folks spent a lot of time on this. But also unhappy that you did not show how the work to achieve the mission would be organized.

I am assuming that CRCNA staff is probably 95% CRC. The diversity of opinions/beliefs (and this is particularly true in church organizations) could be problematic.  We have seen this at work (both positive and negative) in the structure of the CRCNA and how it governs itself.

Having spent 7 years on one of the church Boards what struck me was that the key leaders in the 6 main ministries (HM, WM, BTGMI, CC, CS and WR) were not a team.

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