MISSION FORWARD - Using Acceleration to Push Nonprofits to New Frontiers of Change
The other day a HUGE tree fell on our street. It wasn’t storming or windy. The sun was out - it was a beautiful day. It just fell, completely blocking the road. You couldn’t get up or down the street. This HUGE tree was keeping neighbors on our street from moving forward.
Just like that tree blocking my street, there are “huge trees” or roadblocks that prevent human flourishing in our world: poverty, illness, oppression, injustice, racism, and violence, to name a few. These roadblocks prevent people from flourishing, from experiencing a quality of life that all people (by virtue of being human) deserve, from moving forward.
Fortunately for our neighbors, VDOT came out pretty quickly and removed the tree from the street so that it was passable again. To return to the metaphor, like VDOT, there are people and organizations that dedicate their lives and work to cutting up those huge trees that block access to flourishing. The bad news is that sometimes those organizations and people hit roadblocks themselves.
That’s why three years ago, some friends and I launched a "ministry accelerator." While we aren’t able to remove every kind of roadblock organizations face, we recognized that we could help mitigate internal roadblocks hindering their success. Over time the ministry accelerator has transformed into MISSION FORWARD with a similar goal of accelerating the impact organizations are making in people’s lives and in their community but adding in participant workbooks, standardized curriculum, and wrap-around planning and training. In January, The Spark Mill will pilot MISSION FORWARD in the New River Valley with support from the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.
While the acceleration experience has many components and details, here are a few aspects that better equip people and organizations in their work.
3 Focus Areas of Mission Acceleration
Groups make three different connections: within their teams, with a mentor, and with the other teams. These connections contribute to the creativity and network of the teams.
We are intentional about the strategic journey we walk groups through and The exercises & conversations we lead are important for every organization. The goal is to help them get clear on their mission, their client, and their model so they can fully engage in their communities for greater impact and ultimately transformation.
Charting a Path
helping organizations create movement from ideas to action. At the end of the two days, teams walk away with a 30-60-90 day action plan they created in connection with what they discovered or learned through the experience.
Most accelerator participants are so focused on helping others they haven't taken the time to think deeply about their own organizations. Every time we run an accelerator event, it is inspiring to be with people and organizations who work so hard to remove barriers to human flourishing. Their passion, commitment, and love for others is powerful. And, it’s a privilege to be able to come along side them, to help them move forward so they can help others move forward.