Drifting off course is a constant danger in any oversea voyage. A skilled navigator must make adjustments to account for wind, weather and geography. Being off course by as much as one degree can make a vast difference over a long journey. Organizations are also prone to drift. The intentions of the founders become forgotten or set aside over time, and a congregation or non-profit can look very different than it did at its inception. Internal pressures, like the makeup of the board and changes in leadership, and external pressures, such as funder unease about the mission and societal change, can all cause an organization to lose focus and move off course.
Mission Drift by Peter Greer and Chris Horst addresses this drift in Christian institutions. Their research focuses on case studies of “mission untrue” organizations that have moved away from their founding commitments and those that have, against the odds, remained “mission true” to the spiritual commitments of their founders.
Although written for Christian organizations, any congregation will find the stories of “mission true” and “mission untrue” organizations worthwhile. Additionally, each chapter provides a distillation of the research-based characteristics of “mission true” organizations that have held to their core commitments and that can be applied to any organizational context.
Each chapter deals with one aspect of mission drift and, individually, could be helpful as conversation starters at leadership or board meetings.
“Our aims are fairly simple.We want to name and illustrate the causes of mission drift. We want to help you clarify the missions of the organizations you most love. And we want to equip you with the safeguards to reinforce and protect them,” proclaim the authors, Peter Greer and Christ Horst.
This book is available in paperback, hardback and e-reader versions.
For additional resources to assist your congregation in thinking about its mission, contact the Center for Congregations.