Can you tell me what the mission of your church is? Do you know what the key points in your mission are? Most people can generalize, but few churches have a mission statement that most members can clearly articulate.
The "Mission Statement" of a church first and foremost demonstrates an understanding of the biblical mandate given by Jesus Christ. While the statement should reveal some individual expression, a biblically balanced statement must reflect the mandate.
Recently, I was invited to coach a church in strategic development. Several years ago I helped this church through pastoral transition with positive results. When they began to consider a new stage in strategic development, they realized the value of the coaching process based on the previous experience.
After a preliminary evaluation with some feedback from the leadership team in the church, I quickly realized that before focusing on strategic development they should refresh their mission and vision. Meeting with this group of unified and teachable leaders, we were able to begin what I believe will become a great strategic plan.
Often churches try to do strategic planning without a clear mission and vision. A clear Mission Statement has many values. Below is a brief overview of these values with biblical references:
- Preserves Unity (Ephesians 4:1-3) - Building a clear mission statement begins with a call for unity in the leadership team.
- Prevents Frustration (Isaiah 49:4) - A mission statement helps to prevent wasted effort.
- Promotes Cooperation (Ephesians 4:11-16) - A mission statement helps leaders to equip the saints for the work of ministry.
- Provides for Evaluation (Proverbs 16:9) - A mission statement expresses our plans but is always subject to God establishing our steps.
- Protects Resources (1 Peter 4:10) - A mission statement helps people to see the need for using their gifts.
- Provokes the Church (Hebrews 10:24) - A mission statement exhorts and encourages people to do the work of ministry.
A "Mission Statement" clearly defined provides a foundation on which to make decisions that build strategic steps. Churches that fail to define and clearly communicate the mission are generally ineffective in most areas of ministry. When you look at growing churches you will discover they have a clear mission that is the foundation of strategic planning and is clearly communicated to the church.
The same is true in our personal lives as well. Having a personal understanding of what we believe is our God given mission helps us in every decision.
While building a mission statement it is good to define a few terms:
- "Core Values" are what is at the heart of the church. Often theses are expressed in a constitution. However, they are often lost either by not being reminded of the constitution or the wording in the constitution is old failing to express values in the terms of our culture. A constitutional review particularly of the purpose and doctrine are a good starting point.
- "Mission Statement" should be an expression of the biblical commission to the church that can be articulated and communicated clearly. This expresses WHY the church exists.
- "Vision Statement(s)" should reflect the mission in terms of "dreams" of WHAT the church desires to be and do.
- "Strategic Plans" identify the HOW and WHERE the church will plan to fulfill the Mission and Vision.
When a church builds a ministry with these four aspects it can greatly increase its effectiveness. The same is true in our personal lives. Beginning with an understanding of your biblical mission (purpose) provides direction in decision making.