A mission statement is the rudder that points the ship in the direction it’s called to go, and therefore must be sure, strong, and clear so that there is no doubt by anyone where the ship is going. The purpose (mission) of the church is to make disciples. Each church must wrestle with its setting and calling to vocalize their contextual mission precisely, but ultimately making disciples is the briefest and clearest statement available to us. With this in mind, one of the goals in developing a church’s mission statement is that, once it’s completed, there must be no doubt by anyone as to exactly what the local church has set out to accomplish. And if the members can remember it, the leaders embody it, and the church embed internalize it, then all the better.
There are often two related “parts” of a mission statement. The first is the full statement that clearly and unambiguously states the church’s mission. Here are three I’ve come across in local churches that serve as good examples:
- Inviting our neighbors to become disciples of Jesus Christ; Growing them into faithful followers; Caring for one another; and Sending them to do ministry in Jesus’ name.
- Connecting people with God and helping them to become effective disciples of Jesus Christ.
- Offering hope through faith; healing through Jesus; health through discipleship; and wholeness through loving one-another.
The second part of a mission statement is the “Tee-Shirt” or “Bumper Sticker” slogan. It’s the shorthand that makes it onto logos, letterhead, etc. For each of the above statements, the corresponding mottos were developed:
- Invite, Grow, Care, Send.
- Connecting people with God.
- Offering Hope, Healing, Health, and Wholeness.
None of the short statements fully communicate everything the fuller statements contain, but they contain the nugget that can be carried and shared (and expounded upon) with others.
Ultimately, the three key questions to ask of every mission statement are:
- Is its heart disciple-making?
- Is it crystal clear?
- Is it memorable?
If it does all three, then you’ve probably got a winner that will steer the ship unwaveringly into the deep.