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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. ...

An Integrated Team

By Keith Kidwell
Mar. 3, 2013

As everyone knows, the visible part of an iceberg is just a small portion — actually about one-ninth — of the whole. This fact gives meaning to our common saying, “Just the tip of the iceberg.”

An inverted iceberg gives an appropriate mental picture of the Assemblies of God World Missions team. Scattered to the nations are the visible messengers, now more than 2,700 missionaries and missionary associates, who take the gospel to the tribes and tongues and peoples of the world. But less visible by far are the leadership and staff, numbering about 170, who perform vital roles in providing the support and services necessary to keep the AGWM global force supplied and on the field.

Some have likened the relationship of missionaries and staff to that of military field troops and their support force. While the analogy is appropriate, I would rather place the relationship in a biblical context — that of Paul addressing a problem of allegiance in the Corinthian church. Paul wrote, “What, after all, is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  Only servants, through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose” (1 Corinthians 3:5-8, NIV).

Notice that Paul’s question does not use the personal “who” to refer to Apollos and himself. Instead, he asks “what” they are. He answers his own question by saying they are only servants, tools in God’s hands, each assigned to a specific task in God’s gospel economy to provide an opportunity for people to believe the good news. No distinction is made between the planter and the waterer.

Paul goes further to say that both planter and waterer have the same purpose. There’s no artificial hierarchy here, just God’s choice of roles for his choice servants.

The successful team concept says a group of individuals working together under the direction of gifted leadership and in harmony with a common purpose, shared vision and clearly defined goals can accomplish much, much more than the same individuals working alone. The AGWM team reflects the successful team concept at its best: Individuals with God-given roles and abilities who are determined to work together so all can hear.

 Without referencing flow charts and organizational structures, the AGWM team can be described as concentric circles with the AGWM Executive Committee (EC) at the center. This cohort of 12 men and one woman meets every Wednesday morning for prayer, discussion and deliberation on topics that run the gamut from missiology to more mundane subjects, such as interpreting policy on computer purchases. The EC is composed of the executive director, the administrator, six regional directors and the directors of Communications, International Ministries, Mobilization, Personnel and Member Care, and Research. Outward from this central hub flow vision, direction and decisions via the next concentric circle: regions, departments and satellite ministries represented by the EC members. This influence flows onward through yet another ring of departments: Divisional Accounting, Financial Services, Missionary Services, Technical Services, and Word Processing. Ultimately, the result of all this activity reaches the outer ring of missionaries and associates on the field who are both beneficiaries and partners.

The people who are part of each circle have assigned tasks, but often the circles intersect, looking more like the Olympic rings than a bulls-eye target. That, however, is a result of intentional cooperation across the lines rather than organizational design. This is a holy band of people touched by God to touch the nations. United by one purpose, they have agreed to work together to “get ‘er done” so all can hear!

Whether it is sorting mail, filing financial reports, calculating taxes, inventorying vehicles and equipment, clearing shipments, filling orders, processing applicants, assisting with fund-raising, scanning and copying documents, posting expenses, answering phones, giving counsel or making coffee, the AGWM machine functions not as isolated individuals but as an integrated team. While God-given abilities are beyond our control, the ability to work together as a team is not. We are working to strengthen our team culture and be more mission-conscious, adaptable and flexible—with our ultimate goal in mind: stewarding more effectively the resources God has entrusted to us.

KEITH KIDWELL is AGWM administrator.

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