“To share the good news of Jesus Christ across the street and around the world.”
It’s the indelible tattoo across the heart of Team Impact, the blood we bleed, and the dream that enlivens our sleep---to share the Good News about Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected for the forgiveness of sin.
It’s the “who,” “what,” and “why,” of our existence.
It's our mission.
But recently, we’ve had to rethink everything we do and ask the question, “How do we want to accomplish our mission?”
This might seem like an obvious answer. Team Impact is a “feat strength ministry,” performing feats of strength as a means of bridging the divide between an entertainment-driven culture, and the profound need for Christ in everyone.
That is how we go about our ministry, as in the particular package we use to present the Gospel. But what we needed to rethink and the question we had to ask was, how to do what we were doing, as in the paradigm through which we would operate.
The answer came down to whether we wanted to be rock stars or missionaries.
A recent Vice article chronicled the history of feat strength ministry, and the rise and fall of John Jacobs, and the ministry movement he began.
As I read the unbelievable origins of feat strength ministry, what struck me most was the image of feat strength ministries: Rock Stars.
The selling point for John Jacobs (prior to his fall) and his team was not just that they were men of God who could clearly, and passionately articulate the Gospel...but that he and his team were rock stars.
They had comic books, tapes, and CDs made about them; the bassist for Nirvana wore their T-shirts. This was, in part, what allowed them to pack arenas and stadiums, and become Christian celebrities before such a thing really existed.
It wasn’t just a John Jacobs thing; this was a "style-of-ministry" thing. So we had to ask: Does Team Impact need to be made up of rock stars to accomplish our mission?
It’s not as silly a question as it sounds; take out the prideful component and you have a legitimate ministry question. Is "rock star status" the way for us to build influence to share the Gospel?
We found our answer in the example of Harold Johnson, a missionary in the Czech Republic. As I spoke to him, he shared with me that after spending 11 years grinding away in ministry, his church plant was finally launching, with Czech leadership.
It really was unbelievable: to hear a man so committed to his call and his people, that no matter what it took; no matter how hard or long he had to labor; he was called, committed, and busting his butt for the sake of the Gospel. (Click to Tweet)
No fan fare needed.
And there it was. That’s the paradigm we want Team Impact to operate from.
Not a group of athletes. Not an organization of world-class speakers. A team of missionaries, grinding away for the sake of the Gospel, regardless of the size of stage or paycheck. Committed to the cause until the return of Christ or death.
The New Mantra
We’re embracing the reality that we’re missionaries, and everything that comes along with that.
We’re leaving no stone unturned: how we fund the ministry, how we present what we do (“events” are now “campaigns”), how we recruit team members, how we allocate resources and pay our staff… we’re examining everything.
It’s the filter through which everything we do is strained: Is this a decision that a rock star would make, or a missionary?
Even after 15 years of influence, everything we do must now answer this question. There is no tenure on ideas or processes. If it doesn’t move our missionary efforts forward, we cut it.
While that means in some ways our ministry is changing, in other ways it’s being amplified.
The Mission Continues
I can never express how proud I am of what Team Impact has done over the last 15 years. The men who started Team Impact (and once worked side-by-side with Jacobs) had a crystal clear, God honoring mission. And that mission remains untouched: “To share the good news of Jesus Christ across the street and around the world.”
And it's because of what those who have gone before have done, that moving forward, Team Impact is committed to working harder, making more sacrifices, and grinding more than we ever have before. We’re going to new places, trying new things, developing new strategies ... so that one person might come to new life in Christ.
This is the heart of Team Impact. This is the heart of a missionary.
Here’s to fulfilling the mission as missionaries...and letting Him be the rock star.
This post was written by Team Impact's Lead Evangelist, Stephen Mackey. When Mackey isn't speaking in schools and churches around the world, he's hanging out with his wife and two kiddos in Dallas, TX.