The 3W Team Approach Explained

Last week, we had our first Three-Worlds team meeting here in Berlin.  All of our crew was here (except for one), for an all-day meeting that covered a wide array of topics

In our region (Europe-Middle East), we are doing a team approach to mission and ministry.  I've shared with you that our top priorities are to 1) Engage young people in cross-cultural ministry 2) Support empowered leaders under 45--that respect accountability  and 3) create healthy inner-connectivity in the CHOG in this region and beyond.  Through it all, we will help churches process the three worlds of Christianity: Traditional, Post-Christendom, and Non-Western Christianity.

Why a Team Approach?

As a result of making Mosaic, it became very clear that a lack of coordination and organization has left the Church of God in a very fractured and weak state.  Our efforts are rarely unified, we create islands of isolation around the world, and it is always unclear who is accountable to who.  In order to prevent this kind of chaos in our region, we will have to have a clear strategy and set of priorities (see the paragraph above).  On top of that, we will have to be coordinated in our approach (hence the Three-Worlds team) to prevent making the mistakes of the past.

What has been our track record with teams?

Frankly, it's been awful.  Why? Because teams are assembled in a haphazard way and (in typical CHOG fashion) we assume things will just work out.  The reality is that people are complicated, they have different agendas, different skill-sets, different personality types---and all of these things complicate the picture.  That is why it is vital for their to be clear leadership, a clear ethos, and a clear direction for any mission team.  When these things are absent (or things are just assumed) usually disaster is soon to follow.

Is this centralized, autocratic rule?

No, because it is a team approach.  The goal is to have people using their skill-sets to their full ability.  To have people put into places where they really fit and can succeed.  And the hope is that with a higher level of processing our mission-fields will be far healthier.  They will not be subject to the whims of one person making decisions on their own that then doom everyone around them.

In order to get to that place, however, it requires strong leadership that is clear about how and what that team will attempt to do.  That is where Jamie and I come in.  We've identified the top challenges facing the CHOG, and we are mobilizing our efforts to that end.  We are not trying to be all things to all people (that's non-strategic and unrealistic).  Instead, we are focusing on what needs to be done, and what we can do well.

What kind of things were covered at the team meeting?

Here are some of the issues we covered:

*Introducing Patrick, Jamie and Marco
*RC role delegation for Patrick and Jamie (who does what)
*Explaining the 3W concept and how you can explain it to your churches
*New ways of engaging our churches and doing itineration
*Economic Forecast
*Practical ways of dealing with the economic downturn
*Future Team Retreats
*Determining additions to the team
*Our 3W media presence
*Top Ministry priorities for 2010-2011 (assessment year)
*Nachtigalls calendar (scheduled visits 2010-2011) and field-visitation philosophy
*Member Care Issues
*Bi-Annual team reading assignment (and announcement of first book).
This is part of the agenda.  As you can see, we cover many issues--but in all issues, there is clarity.  Who does what? What are the top priorities?  What can missionaries expect from us as leaders?  How do we present our strategy to people outside of the group?
Will the Team Grow?
We hope to keep the team relatively small.  Someone saying "they have a call" to join will not be enough.  That is far too subjective.  Other questions will have to be examined.  Do they have a track record of successful ministry?  Do they communicate well with young people?  Can they engage all three worlds?  Do their personality-types fit into the 3W personality type?  Can they submit to leadership and direction?  And on the other side---if given freedom, will they be able to structure their lives well when given some degree of autonomy?
Chances are that few people will fit this profile.  And that is okay.  Because team unity comes first.  If a team can't be united, it makes a mockery of the Gospel.  Furthermore, we are not trying to plant missionaries in new countries for 50 years.  We are in a post-post Colonial era.  What is primarily needed in our region is strengthening up the fields that we do have and making sure that the younger generations are being adequately supported and trained.
The bulk of the missionary force nowadays should come from China, or Africa or Latin America.  Not always, but often.  And in that case, we have the history and connections to be in more of a support role than in those days when all missionary activity came from Europe and America.  It's a new age and our focus must adjust.
We've learned a lot about what works and doesn't work in the last 100 years.  We need to apply those lessons learned to our work now.
PHOTO: Most of our 3W Team---Photo taken by Marco.