Tomato plants are vines, so they tend to grow along the ground as they produce their fruit. Some really smart people have realized that when tomato plants are supported up off the ground, they are healthier and they produce a lot more fruit. Some plants can even grow to nearly two meters tall with the right kind of support. Can you imagine how much more fruit this produces?
Okay, so what does this have to do with Mission Adventures? Well, everything, duh! See in Mission Adventures we’re a little bit like the tomato vine. We need support in order to reach our maximum fruit-bearing potential. And in fact, that’s the whole reason my job exists, it’s why we have Mission Adventures Leadership Teams and why we bother to create themes and such stuff like that.
So in this post I want to describe to you what structure looks like in the Mission Adventures Network. This way, you’ll be able to develop stuff that helps your MA ministries flourish with fruitfulness.
Here’s what a tomato plant support looks like. Not much, right? In the same way, we want the supportive stuff for Mission Adventures to be minimal. We don’t want to create some sort of cage or box that prohibits growth, we want to create structure that maximizes growth! So here’s what structure looks like in the Mission Adventures Network:
The Network is primarily relational. We’re all part of the same YWAM Tribe and in a way that makes us like family. In fact, as our mission enters its 51st year, our global leaders are emphasizing how important the metaphor of family is for us. So all of the leadership structures in Mission Adventures will emphasize healthy relationships.
Elders give guidance, provide covering, and care for those they are serving. So our structures will have an eldering function. This is not an authoritative kind of leadership, instead, it is like a spirit of adoption. The motivation of our elders is similar to how parents want to care for their children. It’s an eldership that has godly ambition for those that are doing the work of Mission Adventures ministries. It is an eldership that is in submission to the Word of the Lord.
Freedom in the Spirit
There is freedom in the Spirit to hear, to know, to obey and to trust the Word of the Lord. Even the newest one of us can hear God’s voice. This freedom is under the authority of the Word of God and not in tension with the eldership. Instead the Freedom our structures create is in harmony with eldership we exercise. .
Marked by Service
The structure we created is known by the service that’s provided to those that do the work of the Mission Adventures ministries. This service does flow in both directions, but the primary flow is from the elders to those that are actively leading MA ministries.
Marked by Humility
All of us should be able to smell the aroma of Christ in the structure we create together. There is no status associated with our structure. We intend to be great only in our serving.
Inspirational & Influential
The support systems in the Mission Adventures Network are primarily inspirational and influential, not directive or authoritative. The idea is that the elders and leaders among us work to inspire and influence those that operate MA ministries. Encouragement, exhortation and any correction should all be aimed at inspiring our leaders to the maximum God has for them.
We attempt to model the trinity by being in mutual submission to one another. This is not a hierarchical structure in a pyramid shape. This is a family structure that reflects the nature and character of God. Jesus’ submission to the Father shows us the pattern we are to follow.