Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Getting Every Last Drop" out of Triage

* A lot of what I say on this post makes more sense if you have read "Milking" Triage and "Milking" Triage even further first.

On the mission field, it makes all the difference in the world whether or not you get to choose the team you will be on, and whether or not everyone "signs on" to the team "core values" from the beginning. I imagine this principle transfers to most any walk of life. But as a missionary, missions is the one with which I am most familiar.

Aubrey Malphurs, in the book Values-Driven Leadership, talks about the need for Pastoral Candidates and Pastor Search Committees to each identify their own "core values" beforehand, and to openly talk about them in the interviewing process, in order to avoid unnecessary friction and misunderstandings in the future.

On a missionary team, when it becomes apparent that things aren’t working out, things can get messy, and feelings can get hurt. From what I understand, situations like this are actually one of the leading causes of missionaries leaving the mission field.

For this reason, I believe it is much better to define expectations from the ground up. But sometimes circumstances just play out differently. In the midst of all of this, the different parties concerned can choose to react in different ways. We can go our own way. We can agree to disagree. We can hold grudges forever. And we can get "stuck"…

A "serendipity" on the mission field has been seeing how people, who for one reason or another we decided it would be best not to work with on the same team, have since come to be counted among our best friends. Then, there are others with whom, although you try your best to treat them courteously, there is no real basis for a true friendship.

My question is: how does all of this I have described on a "micro" (individual team) level play out on a "macro" (entire denomination) level? In the SBC, some have felt the rules have been changed on them in the middle of the game. At times, though, for the overall good, it is necessary to make difficult decisions. And, unfortunately, there is sometimes "fallout."

Some of you church history students out there will have to let me know if I am off-base here or not…

It seems to me the original church "creeds" had to do with "level one" triage concerns. If you could not agree to everything in the "creed," you were considered "anathema." (I know, I know, the word "creed" or "credo" just means "I believe"). The Baptist Faith and Message (whatever year you please) consists of both "level one" and "level two" triage concerns. I wonder if it would help us to heal as a denomination to clearly communicate to those with whom we have gone our separate ways due to "level two" triage issues that we do not consider them to be "anathema."


Paul Burleson said...


I don't know how this fits into the scheme of things, but, it seems to me, a lot of our time and energy as a denomination and maybe even in local churches, [include the Blogs here] is spent in debating the boundaries of doctrinal beliefs to the exclusion of relationship principles or skills.

1 Corthians was written to a group debating who had been the best pastor, Paul, Apollos, Peter, and practicing other things certainly of questionable behavior, but Paul told them their ground of unity was the person and work of Christ and not opinions on other issues like who had baptized them.

Differences of belief amoung people must be worked out but biblical relationship principles/skills must be excercised. I'm afraid we don't know those principles/skills or, at least don't hold them to a high enough priority for them to make a difference.

What am I saying? How we act toward one another EVEN IF WE DISAGREE ON SOME ISSUES is certainly as important as our doctrine. This would, I assume, hold true on the Mission field as well as a local churh in the States. Maybe even our families. It certinly holds true for our denomination IMHO.


tim rogers said...

Brother David,

I have a book by Aubrey Maphphurs "Pouring New Wine into Old Wineskins". In the book he clearly spells out that churches need pastors that think like them. His premise includes pastors knowing who they are and what makes them function.

I agree with Paul Burleson's comment, we are a denomination that knows our principles, but are not practicing it when one disagrees. Practice is as important as Doctrine. The ends certainly do not justify the means.

As to the level of Triage we need openly state the BF&M2K clearly spells out levels one and two for a Denomination. How the individual agencies apply those levels, I believe, is what we have before us to debate.


Ken Sorrell said...


I will do my best to keep this short. As an organization, our appointment process does not allow for us to sit down and really discuss values and teaming issues. We can put this on paper in a job request, but agreeing with something on paper and having a face-to-face conversation with someone is two very different venues for agreement or disagreement.

BTW the latest IMB attrition report places MK education and aging parents above missionary relationships as the reason folks are leaving the field.

To your question regarding the "micro" and "mcaro" implications of our discussion, it seems to me that the more micro you get, the more issues that will arise that need discussion and agreement with for working together. On a macro level, the issues tend to be broader in nature. To put it another way, I would think on a denominational level our focus would be level one. But if you and I are going to work together, both level one and some level two issues will determine if that happens.

We may vote at a convention for a certain position, but I do not see how it can be expected that all SBC churches and members will be in one accord at levels two and three. If this is where we are attempting to go, we are indeed headed for stormy weather.

IN HIS NAME said...

I agree with Paul and the Heart's of Missionaries called by God's for their Love of Jesus Christ. To follow and do the great commission Jesus gave us to further HIS Kingdom here on earth. Go and make disciples and Baptize them in My Name.

A Brother in Christ

Gordon Cloud said...

I think perhaps at the micro level, we are more goal-focused and willing to be more cooperative.

Perhaps one reason for this is the lack of peer pressure that is present at the macro level. At that place, you are apt to find many more who agree with you, thus causing you to be more hesitant to cooperate, fearing that "cooperation" will be mistaken for "compromise".

Paul Burleson said...


Forgive the failed use of spell check on the earlier comment. :(