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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

A Team in Mission

Mar. 3, 2013

One of the eight core values of Assemblies of God World Missions is working together in a team approach. Executive Director Greg Mundis says, “Someone jokingly explained that a team is essential because it allows you to blame someone else. This is certainly not our view in Assemblies of God World Missions. Teamwork — from institutional settings to pioneer situations — can prove to be immeasurably valuable. Scripture says, ‘In the multitude of counselors there is safety’ (Proverbs 11:14, NKJV).”

Randy Hurst, AGWM Communications director, recently interviewed Mundis regarding the “team concept” and its importance in fulfilling the mission of AG World Missions.

RH: How can a worldwide missionary family be a “team”?

GM: We usually think of a team as a group in close proximity, but Assemblies of God missionaries don’t have that luxury. Our missionary team is scattered around the world and is never at one location at one time. What cements us and creates the strong team that we are is the knowledge that we have a purpose that is greater than ourselves. The Great Commission is the glue that holds us together and gives us our marching orders. We function under the umbrella of understanding that we are called to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

RH: What personal qualities are helpful for those functioning as a team?

GM: In order for a team to function effectively, certain attributes are required. One of the most important attributes is humility — recognizing that you are not the center of the universe and your ministry is not the only ministry that exists. Humble people are eager to serve the Lord, and they understand their responsibility of doing what God has called them to do. Yet they also recognize that they are a part of something greater than themselves. If this mindset is lacking among team members, the entire team will fail. Being on a team means being willing to give and not just receive, willing to listen and not just speak. It requires a willingness to stretch and do things that might be a bit outside one’s perceived areas of gifting to keep the team functioning well.

Most of today’s illustrations of team come from the sports world. On each team there is usually someone who is viewed as the one who commands attention and is the main player. But without a team to support and facilitate the action, no one could accomplish anything lasting. Teamwork involves selflessness, putting aside the desire to be the star so the work can go forward.

RH: What unites the AG World Missions team?

GM: In our missions outreach, we are partners with God. The apostle Paul stressed this concept in 1 Corinthians 3:9 when he wrote: “We are co-workers in God’s service” (NIV). As partners with God, we know our personal calling and understand how that calling fits into the overall mission. Assemblies of God World Missions has a clearly defined mission — reaching, planting, training, touching … so all can hear. This mission unites us and bridges distances, time zones and diversity of ministries.

RH: How are our partnerships with national churches important to the overall mission?

GM: Not only do missionaries work in consonance with one another, but they also work as a team with our national church partners. We believe in the indigenous church. Once indigenous churches are established, we recognize them as equal partners in the Great Commission. When missionaries retire or are called home, when a crisis occurs or visa laws change, the national church will still be in place, and its leadership will be present to provide stability to the work.

As missionaries partner with new national fellowships in an attitude of humility and selflessness, they can help them expand their worldview. One of a missionary’s roles is helping national believers see ministry from a broader perspective. But sometimes the national church has a better grasp of biblical exegesis than those of us from the United States. A missionary must also see ministry through the eyes of national believers.

In every place where we go to establish the church, we must keep in mind that we are laying a foundation for what will eventually become a fellowship that will grow, mature and develop its own leaders. We are establishing values and an understanding of partnership that will be reciprocated.

RH: Do we partner in ministry with fellowships other than the AG and with non-Pentecostals?

GM: We work as a team within the missionary body and in partnership with national Pentecostal churches. But we also are involved in cooperative teamwork with the greater body of Christ around the world — evangelicals with whom we identify because Jesus is Savior and Lord. Wonderful opportunities exist to partner with other ministries in crusade evangelism, disaster relief and feeding programs.

In other contexts, however, our interpretation of Scripture and doctrine causes us to maintain a certain distinctiveness. Even then, we keep in mind that within the body of Christ, there is room for all. We celebrate being a member of the greater body of Christ and our position on the worldwide team of evangelicals, while at the same time remaining faithful to our Pentecostal distinctives.

RH: Can a person have a call to missions and yet not be called to our mission?

GM: Assemblies of God World Missions has a very clear mission. We understand who we are, what we want to do, and where we’re going. Our fourfold mission is reaching, planting, training and touching. Our purpose is so all can hear. These elements define our missiology, and they are nonnegotiable.

People sometimes contact Assemblies of God World Missions regarding a specific calling they have or a particular outreach they want to do. The first thing we as the Executive Committee must do is examine whether that calling aligns itself with our overall mission. God has commissioned us and given us a stewardship assignment for which we are responsible. We recognize a person’s calling, but that calling may not always fit our mission. Sometimes its fulfillment may come through another mission or another setting.

On the other hand, we celebrate when people’s callings are in consonance with our position and can contribute to the harmony of our team. Their calling fits our mission and our mission fits their calling. This kind of harmony is worth more than vaults of gold.

As a mission, we know where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. We have too much to do, time is too short, and the harvest is too great to get distracted or drawn into areas that take us away from our core values and purpose.

RH: Is the team concept in AGWM different today than it was in the beginning?

GM: Our forefathers first came together in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1914. They were 300 individuals with a variety of opinions and personal agendas regarding what God wanted to do. But these individuals had one thing in common: they had experienced a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit. As that small group met together, something happened. They developed a common purpose: to evangelize the world. We remain committed to that same mission today.

Ninety-nine years have passed since those defining gatherings, and as many as 4 billion people — more than twice the world population back in 1914 — do not have an adequate witness of the gospel. If our early leaders recognized the need to work together in cooperative fellowship, it is even more critical for us to do so today.

God has called us to reach beyond and go to the world’s neglected regions among people who have the least access to the gospel. Such a monumental task requires more than lone pioneers; it requires teamwork so that church planting movements can start and the body of Christ can be built up. God is calling us to work together under the umbrella of the Great Commission so the entire body of Christ can benefit.

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