What was at the core of their trip experience was transferable to their lives at home, being more a function of their intentionality to band together in a common desire to be used by God than anything having to do with a particular place. It was about getting up each morning with the intention of watching for God’s action in the world around them, giving themselves in ongoing service to others, and debriefing their experiences with one another.
Significantly, I was struck that, while there was common purpose, each member of the team found their particular place. Some cut wood, some cleaned, one or two would pray or spend time with a devastated homeowner while the others worked. There was rhythm and there was balance.
Upon reflection, my conclusion was that there are at least three dynamics which create the “mission” experience: there is a clearly delineated set of people, giving themselves to a particular place, and sharing a common purpose. The place and purpose are important, but it is common identity and mutual commitment that seem to “tune” us to see God’s healing work all around us.
I came across something written by Peter Greig in his 24-7 Prayer manual that reflected these three categories and with an important insight. He writes
Too many ministries and organizational look relational, but in fact they are working to a formula that goes like this: vision + task = friendship. In this system, when people stop fulfilling a task related to the vision of the group, they quickly find that the friendships they thought were deep were in fact merely the by-product of functionality. After years of relationship, they find themselves forgotten, and understandably they feel used. A far healthier organizational model is this: vision + friendship = task. This model can look very similar to the function-driven one, but it has a significantly different starting point. There is still work to do—tasks to be completed—but these flow from the exciting chemistry of friends dreaming together. When someone is no longer able or willing to fulfill a particular task, he or she is still in the loop of visionary friends (154-155).
If you share our vision, you will find your place.