There has been a trend in Christian circles towards emphasizing getting our personal priorities straight. Basically the argument goes something like this:
In the past, people have valued ministry before their families and often their families suffered as a result. Now people have recognized this as foolishness and are arguing that the family is the most important ministry anyone can have. Our families are our most important disciples. Therefore our priorities should be in the following order: 1) God, 2) Family, and finally 3) Ministry.
Ministry is very important, but only God should be valued above family.
Okay, maybe you've heard this. Now I'd like to propose a similar paradigm shift in the way our churches and missions organizations order their priorities:
In the past, organizations have valued their mission before their people, and their people have suffered and been burned as a result. Now people should recognize that their people are the most important part of their mission. Our people are what God cares about far more than our idea of what our "mission" or "vision" is. If people aren't on board they may not belong with us, but we can at least send them off in love. We are foolish if we ever believe our calling is the whole of God's Kingdom. And more than foolish when we risk burning out wonderful men and women of God. If someone comes through our ministry and discovers they are called to something else, it is absolutely our responsibility to release them to do what God has called them to do even if it means losing one person on board with our mission/vision.
Our mission is very important, but God's mission is much more important, and his method is people.
Our mission is important, but only God should be valued above God's people.
We must value the people God loves over our thin view of what we're called to do in God's Kingdom. Love them, send them out lovingly. If we can help a follower of Christ love Him more even in another area of ministry then we will have contributed greatly to the Kingdom of God. If we give one follower of Christ so horrible of an experience in ministry that they burn out and never serve again, then we will have some answering to do when it comes time to account for our contributions to the Kingdom of God.
Our priorities should be ordered thus:
Personal: 1) God, 2) Family, 3) Ministry.
Organizational: 1) God, 2) Our People, 3) Our Mission.