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August Activate Post: Avoiding Mission Drift


I heard the following story 25 years ago, and it had an incredible impact on me.

There was a coastal strip that was known for particularly dangerous areas which were prone to shipwrecks. Along that same shore, there was a lighthouse with a few devoted members who kept the light shining. They also had a boat that they would use to rescue those who were victims of the shoreline. These brave members worked tirelessly day and night to rescue those at peril of being lost to the sea.

Soon word got out about their work, and others wanted to join them. They purchased more boats and trained the newcomers. Some of the new members wanted to be more comfortable in the lighthouse, so cots and furniture where brought in. A new name was given to the lighthouse. Eventually, a new annex was built to allow for more equipment, a gathering space, and a kitchen. Everything was updated and the new members were very comfortable in the new clubhouse.

Through all this, the lighthouse slowly morphed from a few people dedicated to saving lives to a clubhouse designed for gatherings. Saving lives, which had once been the sole purpose of the lighthouse, was now rarely practiced.

The light on the lighthouse stopped working, and nobody bothered to repair it. Instead, the money was used to upgrade the furniture. One day, a ship wrecked and nobody from the club wanted to go out, or had the skills to go out, to rescue the drowning. The few who survived the wreck made their way to the lighthouse, but they were turned away because the members decided that the sailors weren’t the kind of people they wanted in their club.

Now that you have read that story, think about your church. We may easily run the risk of drifting from our mission of making disciples if we are not constantly evaluating what we are doing and why we are doing it. We can be very busy doing things, but if those activities stray from our original mission, it will only be a matter of time until we become as off course as the lighthouse members.

God has gifted each church with resources of time, talents, passion, and finances to take part in His great mission. It is our job as a church to make sure that we are staying true to that calling!

For this reason, it is helpful to have a yearly evaluation of your ministries. If you have had an Activate workshop at your church, the church ministry staff at TMS Global can help you with this process. Together, we can access the past year and determine whether or not your church is accomplishing its vision for mission, or if your church has drifted from the path.

Contact us at for more information.

Ronda Dahlin serves as the director of church partnerships for TMS Global.

Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash.