Missio Dei as applied to Christian organizations
The missio Dei concept can also be applied as the context for the identity of a Christian organization, on the basis that the organization exists to fulfil Godís mission Ė it is called to participate in the mission of God, in which the church has a particular standing. Such an application is helpful in defining a clear goal and purpose of a Christian organization, as clarity at these levels will guide the activities of the organization and subsequent outputs.
To illustrate such participation in Godís mission, a logical framework has been used. It is appreciated that the logical framework as a management tool has its limitations, not least because even the most experienced of users find difficulties in applying it. However, it is a tool familiar to practitioners in the relief and development sector and does help to show the logic, rationale and linkages between what is wanted to be achieved and what is done to achieve it.
In order to present the framework, there is first a need to give a broad definition of vision (or goal) and mission (or purpose), namely (Wikipedia 2008):
- Vision: Defines where the person or organization wants to be in the future. It reflects the optimistic view of the future.
- Mission: Defines what is going on now, basically describing the purpose, why an organization exists. A mission statement provides a path to realize the vision.
Thus, with Godís Mission (missio Dei) Ė to restore all creation to wholeness; to reconcile all things to God through Christ Jesus so that everyone may, through the Holy Spirit, be one in God the Father and enjoy fullness of life. Christian relief and development organizations have an invitation to participate, and can adopt the following logical framework to operate within:-
Organizationís vision (or goal)
To participate in Godís mission to restore all creation to wholeness.
Organizationís mission (or purpose)
Faithful witness in word and deed to Godís redeeming love and work.
Organizationís activities and outputs
Actions and the resultant products or services by the relief and development organization (or indeed any Christian, whatever their line of work or interest) will need to be designed as such to achieve purpose.
Consequently and in simplistic terms, should an activity not be achieving mission and thus not contributing to vision, however noble the activity or output may be, it falls outside the intended logic and rational of what should be mission/vision driven.
It is not suggested that organizations should adopt, word-by-word, these higher vision and purpose statements. The goal and purpose of any particular organization should reflect that what it, as an organization, has set out to achieve. An organization may have a vision structured in what may be viewed as secular terms or Christian mission terms. Both are perfectly acceptable: with the proviso that whatever they may choose, they need to nest within and ultimately aim to contribute to, Godís mission.
Arriving at some general resolution at activities, outputs, mission and vision levels will help determine indicators. Basically, how do you know when you have achieved what you set out to achieve?
Go to the Indicators page where this is explored more.