Met a new state denominational leader this week. As we were considering a new partnership between the organization and our church, he said something surprising.
He said that the state denominational organization has an identical function as a local church, but the only difference was that the denomination organization works through a local church. Because that was a startling statement we asked for clarification, “But surely you don’t mean worship and practicing the ordinances and directly caring for orphans do you?” His answer, “yes”.
Besides theological confusion, this is an example of mission creep. Mission creep is when an organization begins with clear and limited goals and over time grows to try to do more than it is capable of accomplishing.
One example is the US armed forces trying to create a constitutional republic in Iraq in a few years; another is the International Mission Board (IMB) trying to deploy personnel and develop a strategy for every known people group around the world. The example today is the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) trying to fulfill all the functions of the church across the state with flawed church planting models. All three of these will likely end in failure because the level of resources and expertise needed for the goal are far more than the resources that are allocated to the mission from the organization.
The cure for mission creep is to focus your strategy on what you can or should accomplish, define your resources, and halt anything that you can’t do well. This would require a drastic, but needed change in the current strategy of the US armed forces in Iraq, the IMB, and the Baptist Convention of Iowa.