MPD and Non-MPD Staff: A Clear Call and United Front

By on May 18, 2021   /   Leave a comment

This is us! Not only is this a popular TV show but it also depicts the unity within a family in who they are and what they do. We all want a “this is us” mentality among staff. But when it comes to staff funding among those on MPD, those who aren’t, and some sort of hybrid of the two, the atmosphere of our organizations can easily turn from “this is us” to “us vs them.” In a mixed funding model, it takes intentionality and care to cultivate a healthy culture that produces a united front in fulfilling your organization’s mission.

As we lead within our respective organizations, here are three keys to creating a united front:

*Reject comparisons

*Recognize each other’s complementary calls

*Reinforce the mission

Reject Unhealthy Comparisons

Comparison is the death of contentment. Yet, the “grass is greener” mindset is real in the human experience. These covetous comparisons are born from a hyper-focus on our perceived lack and are fueled by a limited view of what’s actually on “the other side”.

For non-MPD staff, the “greener grass” could be that:

● MPD time is actually “vacation time”- where MPD staff get away, travel, and hang out with friends.

● Those on MPD can determine their own salary and bonuses at will.

● Only MPD staff are making an impact in the Great Commission.

● Missionaries on MPD operate under much less supervision and accountability.

For MPD and hybrid staff, the “greener grass” can look like:

● Stability of provision (especially to those struggling with MPD)

● Set work hours that don’t extend beyond 40 hours a week.

● Clear and more predictable work and rest boundaries.

In both cases, vision turns from an “upward call” to a call to “over there.” We see this change in vision when Jesus asked Peter thrice if he loved Him and then told him to feed his sheep. Peter, then asks about John, “over there”: “When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’” John 2 1:21-22

Comparisons will begin to fade as we focus on the upward call. Then staff will thrive and you will, collectively, be more effective in fulfilling the mission you’ve been entrusted with.

Recognize “the call”

The “armor” of MPD is not for everyone. God has provided unique skill sets, talents, and graces in the expression of His body within your organization. Embracing a “one size fits all” model or mentality will stifle the unique calls and gifts within your organization. Subsequently, the cumbersome armor of MPD, when placed on staff who are not called to it, will become a painful burden rather than a blessing as the ability to meet expectations for success are not met.

In Acts chapters 4 and 6, we see the complement of God’s grace among those called to partnership development and those called to other roles, indicating that not everyone is called to MPD. In Acts 4 the grace of the apostles, or “sent ones” is displayed as believers freely laid resources at the apostle’s feet.

In Acts 6 an issue arises in the distribution of those resources. The apostles’ response to the situation was two-fold. First, they recognized the distinction between their call and the call to the need that was being presented. Second, there was a process created for qualified individuals to respond to the call of this specific portion of the mission.

So, they choose seven individuals “of good repute, full of the spirit, and of wisdom” to administrate and fulfill these tasks. These seven were no less anointed and just as called, but to a different role. This appointment by God released even greater organizational giftings into the Church. The apostles and “administrators” thrived, the mission was fulfilled, and everyone was blessed!

As Paul recognized what he was and was not called to do, it made room for Stephen and others to embrace what they were called to do. Should we not do the same as we recognize the varying calls among the roles in our organization?

Reinforce the mission

Regardless of the means of funding or role on the team, each member’s “upward call” is an essential piece in fulfilling the mission. But it’s the mission that is the primary unifying point that has to continually be brought back to the forefront. The key is for staff to connect their “upward call” to the fulfillment of the mission.

For MPD staff, their calling is broader than just personal support. Those called to partnership development in Acts 4 were graced to not only develop partnerships for their individual needs, but also for the entire operation of the mission.

Conversely, it’s important to help non-MPD staff see the connection between their work and its impact on the field. Finding ways to intentionally make the connection for them in communication from both leaders in the office and field staff will empower their pursuit of the “upward call.”

What’s then championed by everyone is a shared call that enables the bold declaration of “this is us!”

The implications of embracing the clear calls in the unified mission are vast. They include discussions on vacation time, clear seasons of focus on MPD, and compensation to name a few. All of which are for later discussion. The bottom line is that the call God has given to your ministry is great! It will require more than just an “all hands on deck” approach; it will require a “united front” approach in order to fulfill it. In doing so, remember:

● Reinforce the mission: Keep the mission at the forefront.

○ In the work of daily tasks, projects, and processes within your organization keep the long-term mission in mind.

○ Ensure MPD and non-MPD staff deeply connect with and represent the big picture and not just their role in it.

● Recognize each other’s complementary call: The grass is greenest wherever you’re walking in God’s call.

○ Identify what you are called to, whether it’s MPD or not.

○ Take the necessary steps to follow Jesus in living out that call.

● Reject comparison: The grass is never greener on the other side.

○ Embrace what God has entrusted to you.

○ Stoke each other’s sense of calling and belonging in your ministry family.


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