Every organization has a mission. The mission is the reason that the organization exists. Some organizations focus on improving quality of life, others on keeping people safe, some engineer products, some exist to create entertainment, others help people create financial security, and some exist to help people learn. There is an endless list of possibilities. Whatever the mission, leaders must help every person in the organization understand its mission and how to help fulfill it.
However, leaders should also look beyond the mission to purposes that are larger than the organization. No organization exists in a vacuum. It “lives” in a community of other individuals and organizations. They share space and time and they influence this ecosystem of people and organization—hopefully for the better. There are many ways for an organization to contribute to and improve the larger community. Some offices serve meals at soup kitchens. Some companies host benefit dinners, silent auctions, and golf tournaments to raise money for relief efforts. Some organizations encourage their personnel to use work time volunteering in programs such as Junior Achievement. Again, there is an endless list of ways to contribute to the larger community.
Today, I worked with 140 other volunteers to pack nutritious meals that will be sent to hungry children all over the world. In about 90 minutes we assembled and packed almost 35,000 meals! About 20 of these volunteers were friends from the karate school I attend. The mission of our karate school is to promote healthy living and discipline in the martial arts. Why would a karate school encourage its members to pack food for kids in other parts of the world? Because we also know it is important to make a difference in the world beyond ourselves.
When people work together for greater purposes they also build stronger bonds with one another and with the community. It wasn’t just the kids who will receive these meals in the next few weeks who were blessed today. My friends and I were blessed and our connection with one another is strengthened, facilitating our ability to work together on our mission.
I know that many people reading this blog are church leaders. Don’t think that just because your organization is a church that by default your focus is beyond your own walls to a greater purpose. On the contrary, I have seen many churches that are very inward focused and isolated from the larger community. They have forgotten their God-given mission.
Does your organization have a greater purpose? How much of your focus is on your own “membership” versus others who are unrelated to you?
The event I attended today was facilitated by Feed My Starving Children. I encourage you to learn more about FMSC and other organizations that work to feed hungry children.