Missionary Training Center – Part 2
In the first stage Merritt Consultants Ltd. will interpret the cultural profiles of these two organizations across six comparison standards: 1) Organizational cultural type, 2) discrepancies between where the two organizations currently are and where they would prefer to be, 3) the relative strengths of each organizational culture and their degree of dominance or balance, 4) The degree of congruence between the two organizations efforts, 5) Comparisons between organizations in similar industries and 6) Organizational cultural trends and the directions they are leading their respective organizations.
1) ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURAL TYPES
Global Frontiers Missions is a dominantly clan-type organization that began simply and humbly with a single missionary couple making disciples and planting churches in a few of the least reached villages in Oaxaca, Mexico. From hosting short-term mission trips and summer internships this young couple eventually started an indigenous Bible school to equip local leaders in evangelism, discipleship, and church planting among their own peoples. GFM’s staff and vision began to steadily grow until they felt called to the purpose of seeing disciples made and churches planted among the remaining unreached people groups of the world and they started a missionary training school to equip even more people to go and serve among the 2.9 billion people that have never heard the gospel.
Guardian Centers displays the characteristics of a predominantly adhocracy-type organizational culture in which a unique training center has been designed specifically to train first responders across a wide range of disciplines in exceptionally realistic scenarios. Their 840 acre compound located in Perry, Georgia boasts a full city block of collapsed structures that are used for rescue training, over 16 blocks of multi-storied training structures suitable for military and police operations and even a simulated subway system. Guardian Centers is capable of fully supporting any organization and their training requirements. Their knowledgeable and experienced staff has the capability to deliver customized training solutions to meet specific client requirements.
The greatest single discrepancy between the two organizations is their difference in religious focus. While both organizations seek to grow, GFM is continuously looking for more partners who will spend most of their efforts serving among unreached people groups, while the Guardian Centers seeks new partners to allow various agencies to plan, converge and execute an operation so they are better trained and prepared to respond to emerging threats while working alone or alongside other organizations. GFM seeks to serve in the Great Commission to take the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth, while Guardian Centers is focused on supporting organizations that are facing the increasing challenges caused by either natural or man-made disasters.
The strengths of both organizations are substantial as well as unique to their respective fields:
The GFM model has proved successful across a large geographic area and today they currently have “home hub” locations in Atlanta, Houston, Richmond, and Sydney, Australia. The focus of a “home hub” is mobilization and pre-field training for missionaries before they launch out to the mission field; and they currently take a predominantly an urban-based approach. Their goal is to continue expanding into a new rural location in order to provide missionaries with a great cross-cultural experience in a more austere setting before they head out into the nations.
The Guardian Centers proven specialty is for accurately replicating every conceivable type of environment and providing the most realistic role player support. When it comes to scenario realism, immersion and training value Guardian Centers is unmatched. They take care of recruitment of any number of role players, role player briefings, costumes, staging and reset.
GFM has a global mission focus on the “10/40 window”, a term coined by the Christian missionary Luis Bush in 1990 to refer to those regions located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator that have 95% of the remaining unreached people groups. They want to build a rural missionary training school enabling them to equip even more laborers to make disciples among the remaining unreached people groups in that part of the world.
Guardian Centers also has a global mission focus. Natural and man-made disasters happen all over the earth, and their instructor staff has the capability to deliver almost any type of training either in the United States or abroad in almost any part of the world. They have significant experience in delivering successful training and exercise evolutions across the nation and in multiple countries, and they are ready to meet training objectives wherever they are needed.
Our initial assessment comes from comparisons between organizations in similar industries. From the general descriptions provided, GFM appears to fall under the category of a predominantly clan-type organizational culture where the leaders are considered mentors and a supportive and almost family-type atmosphere prevail. The emphasis is on the long-term development of people and attaches great importance on cohesion and morale. Success in these types of industries is normally defined in terms of sensitivity towards and concern for the people served by the organization.
While the Guardian Centers displays a predominantly adhocracy-type culture characterized by a dynamic and creative work environment. In similar industries, the leaders are considered innovators and risk takers and it is the shared commitment to experimentation and innovation that keeps the team together. The organization encourages individual initiative and freedom and success means gaining new products or services that are considered to be on the cutting edge.
6) ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURAL TRENDS
In addition to its current two US based training schools, an Australian based training school and an online missionary training school, GFM also has a new “field hub” in South Asia and wants to continue moving towards its vision of mobilizing, training, and sending laborers into the Tribal, Hindu, Unreligious/Chinese, Muslim, and Buddhist cultures. The missionary training school in Sydney, Australia serves as a “home hub” outside of the United States enabling missionary access to Southeast Asia countries such as Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia. The trend is towards expansion into such highly urbanized “gateway” cities such as Istanbul and Dubai where new missionaries can get accustomed to new languages and cultures, but does little to prepare them for the rigors and lifestyles they will encounter in rural environments.
The Guardian Centers is established as a premier training and validation center for military and civilian first responders. Their business model is structured around advanced curriculums, flexibility and responsiveness to the client and they are recognized internationally as a destination one-stop shop for training exercises, validation and certification. However, the current trend is for its facility in Perry, Georgia to enable realistic, large-scale disaster response exercises and to help first responders from different agencies work together to act swiftly and decisively in times of crisis. Despite its extensive capabilities of exercise planning, design, and validation services, Guardian Centers is not currently configured to assist the specialized discipline of missionary field work in rural environments in a manner that will challenge GFM to reach its maximum potential.