Grow2serve partner, Missio Nexus, is the largest and most inclusive expression of Great Commission oriented evangelicals in North America (US and Canada) that fosters shared learning, opportunities for collaborative action, and produces increased effectiveness through its many mission-orientated products, programs, and services. This resource is authored by by Ken Harder and Vicki Gascho.
Field leaders typically navigate four dimensions in their roles: personal, organizational, stewardship, impact. The authors give guidance on how to address each of these.
Mission executives readily acknowledge that frontline missionaries are essential to accomplishing the organization’s vision and mission. Yet, too often, the on-field leaders tasked with guiding those ministry personnel and giving direction to the organization’s vision at the country or local level are left on their own to traverse the messy, multi-faceted realities of their roles. Perhaps even more sobering is that the extent of the field leader’s role is seldom fully identified by the organization, so intentional, well-rounded equipping and support cannot be offered to the leaders. Yet, Bob Fetherlin, vice president for international ministries for the Christian and Missionary Alliance, explained the importance of leadership health this way: “As goes the health of the field leader, so goes the health of the field.”
The Four Dimensions of Responsibility
Field leaders’ roles are complex and demanding. A wide variety of resources are needed in order to respond effectively to the realities of their work, to increase their capacity to lead and manage well, and to develop healthy habits in all dimensions of their lives. This complexity was confirmed in the confidential responses in the research and during several structured dialogue times with executive mission leaders. Whether their roles are in well-developed or emerging ministries, the research results and subsequent focus groups suggested that field leaders typically navigate four dimensions in their roles:
• Personal holistic health, including one’s ministry calling, family life, and emotional and spiritual health
• Distinct organizational duties
• Stewardship of people responsibilities
• Impact role