Resource to mission – mission to resource

by Kurt Burger, Lt. Colonel – 

by Lt. Colonel Kurt BurgerPresident George W. Bush is convinced that tax reduction stimulates the economy. With one tax cut already completed, he is trying to convince Congress to approve a second. Economists know that a tax refund, say, of $500 will result in consumer spending of somewhere between $1,000 to $1,500. In other words, consumers spend about two to three times the amount of the refund, thus stimulating the economy. For example, they use it as a down payment on a new refrigerator, a big screen TV, etc. Applying it to our own setting, should THQ grant a “tax cut” in order to stimulate the ministry? Not exactly! The Kingdom of God cannot be manipulated into growth through fiscal policy. But what we can do is to direct the maximum level of our resources to mission. Keep our overhead cost as low as possible, conduct our fundraising campaigns as cost effectively as possible, and run our thrift stores, our social service institutions, our corps, our divisional headquarters and THQ in the most efficient and professional manner possible. It always means walking a fine line: administration is not the mission, but mission cannot happen without administration. Therefore, it is important to look at administration as a ministry; a ministry of support, coordination and stewardship. Administration provides a large window to the public. We often rightly claim that the only Bible non-Christians will ever read (see) is the lives of committed Christians, the way they live, act and model their faith in Christ. We can also claim, from an organizational point of view, that the only glass through which the public can see clearly the Army’s Christian commitment, integrity and dedication to mission is the way we do administration: the quality of our financial statements, the truth in our “advertising,” in our fundraising, our personnel administration, our stewardship of buildings, vehicles and so on. However, mission also must meet resource: if we claim that ours is to win souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity, then that is what we must do. To direct resources to a mission that is not taking place is misleading at best, dishonest at worst. As Peter Drucker points out: “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done.” To William Booth, mission was always first and resources second: fulfill your mission and resources will follow. It is part of the early stages of an organization’s life. Later, as it matures, the tendency is to reverse the equation: get the resources first, then we can do mission. Neither approach is feasible in today’s environment. Let me propose a “Resource to Mission—Mission to Resource Manifesto” which could read something like this: • As Salvationists, as well as an organization, we will keep our mission entrusted to us by God ever in the foreground: with or without resources we will preach, live and apply the Gospel. • As Salvationists, as well as an organization, we believe that God promised to meet all needs: “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV) • As Salvationists, as well as an organization, we will first ask “how does this look to God?” and second “how does this look to the public?”: we will raise funds with the right motive. • As Salvationists, as well as an organization, we will run our administration on the highest level of integrity, pleasing to God and acceptable to our public: good management assures maximum resources going to mission, not overhead. • As Salvationists, as well as an organization, we will practice tithing on all levels: it is a spiritual act of worship, not “a cost of doing business.” Following these principles will assure The Salvation Army will never “go off track.” Resources to mission—mission to resources is an individual as well as an organizational responsibility: it’s part of the mission. POINT 6 Direct resources to mission

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