Executive Mission Formation

By Brendan Collins

Adventist Health’s System Board recently tasked the Office of Mission to continually clarify the Adventist Health mission and to appropriately and proactively guard the organization from mission drift. Alex Bryan, Chief Mission Officer, immediately began constructing designs for leadership training and initiatives focusing on alignment to the mission of Adventist Health.

As a result, the Executive Mission Formation curriculum has been established. This includes an annual three-day learning experience and ongoing reading, reflection, and mentorship throughout the year, with participation from all executive-level leaders expected. The curriculum is designed to help all executives (regardless of personal theological beliefs or religious practices) to manage the company aligned to Adventist Health’s mission identity—leading with fidelity to our story, our mission statement, our values, and our church heritage.

Continual clarification of the Adventist Health mission, finding purpose, and protecting the heritage of the organization is more important now than ever. “Moral leadership matters,” said Alex Bryan. “The personal character and ethical impulses of leaders in an organization have a direct impact on the values, priorities, and commitments of that organization. Executive Mission Formation is designed to grow our leaders in the ways and means of Jesus. In church-world there’s a name for this: discipleship.”

With the constant change in the healthcare environment and our world, fidelity to the Adventist Health mission is more important than ever before. Staying true to our values while also using the heritage of the organization as a catalyst for continuing to move forward will prove to be interesting but important work. “The apostle Paul challenges us not to passively ‘conform to the pattern of this world but [to] be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s]’” explains Alex. “This (the Executive Mission Formation program) is serious, proactive work.”

To lead the curriculum and program, the Office of Mission has asked longtime Adventist Health associate Kristine Johnson to step into the new role of managing the program and coordinating all aspects of the curriculum. “Kristine Johnson has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ, a faithful investment of nearly two decades in the healing ministry of Adventist Health, a unique ability to connect with people in a mature and inspiring way, and a unique skill-set in producing quality learning experiences” said Alex. “Kristine will be collaborating with the entire Office of Mission team in building faculty, curriculum, and ongoing learning experiences that will positively impact the missional growth of nearly 200 executives and other strategic leaders.”

Kristine Johnson’s deep appreciation of our mission was clearly echoed in her reflection on the future. “With a mission statement as aspirational and important as ‘Living God’s love,’ it’s essential that we dedicate the time and energy to discover, develop, and demonstrate the characteristics and behaviors to the leaders of this organization.” She continued, “The Executive Mission Formation will be the foundation that sets our hearts and minds on the course that will allow the organization to live our mission in an impactful way.”

The Office of Mission will launch the program starting early 2021 as we develop the integrity initiative. It will include participation from every executive in the organization, and will provide space for board members and other key stakeholders. For the latest updates, download the Simply Mission app at www.AdventistHealth.org/SimplyMission.