Mission Drift

2017 Orlando Work as Worship Conference

It might begin with a small decision here or a quick hire there. Before we know it, we’ve strayed far from the original mission of the company. Organizations will always lose focus, but there is a way to stay on track. In this 26-minute session, Peter Greer, President and CEO of HOPE International, speaks about the concept of mission drift and offers ways to fight against it. 

Peter Greer is President and CEO of HOPE International, a global Christ-centered micro-enterprise development organization serving throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. He is an author and sought-after speaker. Currently, Peter serves as the entrepreneur-in-residence at Messiah College and as a Praxis Venture Partner. 

Peter began by telling a story about his temptation to drift from mission. When faced with the decision to either take a seven-figure grant and downplay faith, his organization began to question the mission of the company. They realized faith played such a critical role in their non-profit that they couldn’t abandon it. Their experience with mission drift prompted them to research why certain organizations drift from missions while others stay the course. 

What is the mission of your organization? How does faith play a role in that mission?
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Have you ever faced a similar situation to Peter—where you were asked to downplay your faith for the sake of business? If so, what did you do and say? How did your actions affect your company? If not, what might be your reaction in that situation?
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Peter shared some examples of organizations that drifted away from their original missions. Pawn shops have their origins in the church and several institutions of higher education (such as Harvard and Yale) built their foundations on biblical principles. We also see mission drift in the Bible—the people of Israel strayed from God not long after being rescued from Egypt.  

What strikes you from Peter’s examples? What other examples of mission drift have you witnessed? How are those stories similar to the ones Peter shared?
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Peter said the natural pattern in humans and organizations is to fall away from the mission. How have you been tempted to stray from the mission of your company? What about from God’s mission for the Church?
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Looking at your life and your organization, would you say you or your organization are experiencing mission drift currently? Why?
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Peter outlined three characteristics of people and organizations that avoided mission drift. They remained on mission because:
  • They held a core conviction that the full mission mattered.
  • They knew they weren’t alone.
  • They knew mission drift can start in their own hearts or the hearts of the leaders. 

Peter said that conviction of belief leads to changed behavior. That means every decision we make at work should be guided by our faith. How has your faith changed the way you act at work? How does what you believe shape your decision making?
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Despite our tendency toward isolation, we need each other. We are on mission to further the kingdom of God, so we need to see each other as co-laborers instead of competitors. Who are some industry friends or other business leaders you can rely on? What could you do to show they that you view them as co-laborers, not competitors?
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Mission drift begins in our own hearts. If we aren’t on mission for God in our everyday lives, we can’t expect our organizations to remain focused. How do you keep yourself focused on God’s mission in your life? How do you consistently apply what you learn from God?
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What could you do this week to fight against mission drift in your personal life and in the life of your organization?
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It’s possible to prevent mission drift from happening in yourself and in your organization. This week, sit down with other leaders in your company to evaluate the mission. Look at ways you are remaining consistent and correct the areas where you are falling astray. Also, take an inventory of your own life. Are you living on mission for God each day? Come up with ways you can obey God in every area of your life.  

For more information on the Work as Worship Conference or how to attend next year's event, visit www.workasworshipconference.org.