August 1, 2005
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank


Dear Marketplace Friend, 

      Stand-alones are different than installments. My normal approach is to begin and end a thought on a page ... with some curious distractions along the way. Some of my downline says that they read Point of View just to see if they can predict where my scrambled mind is heading. They may need more meaningful things to occupy their time ...

      As declared last week, for the first time in 15 years this weekly tome is engaged in a serial dialog ... with you and your co-readers. Over six weeks, we're going to ponder our perspectives regarding the Drucker Questions.

      A world-class consultant, Dr. D forces leaders to step back from the action that defines our days to confirm that we understand why we are doing what we are doing ... and whether our doing is more distraction than deliberate.

      Five questions: What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? What is our plan? Leaders should call time-out until they've asked - and answered - those critical queries ... and are satisfied with their conclusions.

      Today is Q #1: What is our mission? It's easier to be one of the 12 Apostles than it is to be you, today. For "The 12" (that's the original class, minus Judas, plus Paul), they had no confusion over that one: they heard it from the lips of the Boss, speaking from his resurrected body: "... go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you... (Matthew 28:19-20). In classic Christian terms, those 34 words (in the English of the New International Version translation) state the summation of three years devoted to their leadership preparation. If Drucker had a meeting with The 12, they would have aced Q #1 - and cited Jesus as their source. If that was their mission - and, it was - what is yours?

      For the purposes of this discussion (for the next three minutes, anyway), I'm going to mint a word that will frame a thought: it's "(sub)mission." Stay with me here ...

      Usually, that word carries cultural calamity. No one in our modern-era, Boomer, Buster and X Generation world longs to be caught dead in "submission." It implies a lack of challenge and creativity; it presumes unimportance, beneath the privileged class. Independence, pursuit of potential, high energy engagement all assume avoidance of "submission." Set that aside; think about it ...

      The mission of the Kingdom of God has not been retooled by a modern-day Executive huddle, convened to contemporize the Christian campaign. The Great Commission is still in-process, at the macro level. When God looks down on the resources of the redeemed, he still expects them employed in the Prime Directive, issued by the King of Kings and, as yet, unrealized. But, within that larger view, what is the mission for which your forces have been deployed? Under the Great Commission, your one-of-a-kind assignment is your (sub)mission ...

      In TMP, we maintain that leaders are not really leaders unless they can demonstrate the three essential elements of leadership: vision, strategy and followers. Two out of three don't qualify...

      If you have followers, you're probably a leader. If you're the leader, you must know your mission. Your mission is not the Great Commission: that's the whole pie. What slice of that pie - the thinner you can slice it, usually, the better - is yours? How will your contingent of Kingdom soldiers capture a strategic high-ground ... that will advance the cause of the world-wide initiative called the Great Commission? What is your (sub)mission?

      In The Master's Program, our (sub)mission is "to prepare Christian leaders to change their world and build God's Kingdom through their irresistible lifestyle and influential works of service." I'm the leader; that's my answer. It's the foundation upon which our enterprise is built.

      On behalf of you and your followers: what's yours? Q #2 next week ...

Bob Shank


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