Real Teams, Real Goals, Real Transformation

When you are a missionary working in a foreign country the amount of materials and training resources you sometimes have can be a bit limited (minus the annual trip the States to pillage the local bookstore). So those in the missionary community rely upon one another to share their experiences, wisdom, and philosophy to help further their work.

Such was the case for me last week during a lunch meeting with a friend. We were discussing the importance of team building and team leadership—failures and successes—when he passed this by my ears.

“A real team is a small number of people working for a specific period of time, who are equally committed to a common goal and a common approach, for which they have specific performance objectives, to which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”
When I heard this description of a real ministry team I was immediately struck with thoughts of our senior management on the TV side of our operations. I would say with reasonable confidence that our team meets most of these requirements. But on the ministry side of things, it can be a bit more difficult.

Our ministry operations are performing very well. Two days ago I received a wonderful letter from field workers performing ministry in the ger districts. They noted that Eagle TV is having a transformative effect with many people there in terms of their perceptions of what Christianity is. I also watched a slate of new video testimonies of Eagle TV viewers and pastors expressing their appreciation for the influence our discipleship programming has with Mongolian believers (see above). While this progress is wonderful, there is always the temptation to change what we do mid-stream. To do things for the sake of making ourselves popular or acceptable to a larger group of people even if it means addressing the Gospel less than we do. These temptations come all the time. The week before I was reviewing our successes I was also listening to a proposal to “reduce” our presentation of the Gospel for nothing more than the sake of getting higher audience numbers.

May such a thing never be!

The temptations of culture and status are always in front of us. We’re always asking questions about when we should try to contextualize the Gospel and when we should put limits on cultural adaptations. These are never easy issues to address. But one thing is clear, keeping our focus on the person of Christ and the primacy of the Scriptures is always foundational to everything we do. If we’ve been successful in anything it is because of that. Once a young gentlemen said to me that if we wanted to reach more people in Mongolia for Christ we would have to talk about Jesus less, and sometimes not at all, and instead talk about “good things,” and then attract people to those good things.

Immediately my mind turned to John 12:32 when Jesus said, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
As a point of application, how is Christ being lifted up in your life? How is the life that Christ lives through you drawing men to himself?

When we give our focus, attention, and devotion to the person and work of Christ and his word, then and only then can we expect the Lord to grant success in ministry and Christian living so that his life, lived through us, will have a transformative effect on others.

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