Going slow to go fast Despite having lived in England since 1989, like most people born in New Zealand I am a keen supporter of the All Blacks rugby team and am hoping that 2007 will be the year when they manage to win the Rugby World Cup for the first time since 1987! Based on their current form they might just do it. They now have the best record of any All Black team in history, having won 33 of their last 37 internationals.
How has such a small country managed such dominance? Part of it is surely that New Zealanders care more deeply about rugby than they do about anything else. A surgical colleague of mine once placed a rugby ball and textbook of surgery in his new-born baby boy's cot in the hope that they might have some influence in shaping his future.
But All Black success is due to more than just obsession, passion and vision. From primary school the structures and processes are in place to train and develop the stars of tomorrow. Almost every boy plays in a weight-graded school team with people his own size, so the smaller boys with real ability have a chance to develop, and the whole year is carefully planned and organised so as to be full of fixtures and tournaments that will nurture talent. At national level the Super Twelve, National Provincial, Trinations and Autumn international programmes are carefully integrated and well-funded so that the clubs, provinces and the national team all get to field their best players. Inspiring top-level coaching completes the mix. This combination of passion, vision, grass roots involvement, leadership, systems and structure delivers results. All this in turn came about by careful planning – 'going slow to go fast'.
CMF is currently accepting the challenge of 'going slow to go fast'. God has mightily blessed us since 2000 – and thanks to the generous support of members our annual income has grown from £500,000 to £1.2 million and our staff numbers from ten to 28 resulting in many new ministry initiatives and much fruit for God's Kingdom. But we have achieved this growth without giving similar attention to our systems, structures and processes, and without any real increase in our membership. And so for the last six months we have been giving careful attention to these things as a platform for the ministry challenges of the 21st century. What will this involve?
When we first received the news that Partnership House, our rented home for 32 years was to be demolished this year, we asked ourselves, What on earth is God doing? We now see it as God's way of preparing us for the future. We have launched a capital appeal and have put in an offer on a property in central London which we think will be just ideal for our future ministry needs. It will also enable us to build further our strong partnerships with Christian nurses, lawyers, therapists and mission agencies through providing accommodation, conference and meeting facilities. You will have already received the appeal literature and at the time of going to press we had raised £623,000 of the £2 million required. Please do pray about this and give generously.
New staff structure
Our basic staff structure, that of the General Secretary and Chief Administrator relating individually to most staff, had not changed appreciably since 2000. With all the ministry growth this basic structure needed remodelling. To do this we have been working with Mee-Yan Judge, a gifted Christian management consultant, and her team from Quality and Equality. This has helped us to think and plan much more strategically and to mend structures and processes that were creaking. We are now in the process of reorganising staff into a number of ministry departments, each headed by a senior staff member, so that each member of staff can specialise and work more efficiently. This will mean that we can manage ministry growth in a much more carefully planned way in the future. This will involve some change and reshaping of roles for key staff – and in the first stage of this our Chief Administrator Giles Rawlinson, after seven years of faithful and fruitful service, has handed over to Joshua Wathanga, and Andrew Fergusson has rejoined us as locum Head of Publications and Communications (see page 8). The whole new structure should be clear by April. Watch this space.
CMF has four aims – discipleship, evangelism, mission and proclamation – but of these we believe that the most important is discipleship – equipping Christian doctors and medical students to serve Christ better in their families, churches and work. To this end we want to focus much more on our grassroots ministry amongst members – strengthening local fellowship and boosting our membership. A big part of this will involve freeing up our medical staff from administrative work in order to 'get out more' amongst members. This will help foster local groups, and encourage all of us better to 'stir up one another to love and good works' as we see the day of Christ's return drawing near.
Let's continue to seek God's grace and enabling as we work our way through realising this vision and getting the processes, structures and systems in place to build our ministry to advance Christ's Kingdom in and through medicine in the 21st century.
'To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen.' (Jude 24,25)