Along with an obsession with church growth and numbers, we can thank the Church Growth Movement of the 80s and 90s for introducing to us the importance of having a “church mission statement.”
Today I want to talk to you about how mission statements can be a waste of time, and how mission statements can be worth your time. But first allow me to make a few observations concerning church mission statements.
1. Almost every church has a mission statement these days. This is a relatively new phenomenon.
2. I am always amazed at the amount of time pastors and their boards will invest in coming up with the church mission statement. One pastor recently told me that he and his board had just completed a three-month project developing their mission statement.
3. Despite attempts to come up with something new and catchy most mission statements basically sound the same.
I’m not suggesting that we throw out our mission statements or, if we currently don’t have one, that we don’t bother coming up with one. All I’m suggesting is that mission statements can be a waste of time, if…
1. They serve no purpose other then something to put on our business cards, letterhead, or website.
2. They are way too long for anyone to commit to memory.
3. The words chosen are confusing to normal people and thus require a constant explanation as to what our mission statement means.
On the other hand, mission statements are worth our time, if…
1. They remind us what we are in business for, what we’re “all about.”
2. They help remind the people of our church what we are in business for, what we are “all about.” (Yes, yes I know, we are not a business… you know what I’m getting at.)
So… if you have a mission statement, are coming up with your very first mission statement, or are revisiting or revamping your current mission statement, keep in mind:
1. Keep it as short and sweet and accurate as possible. Make it something easy to remember and repeat.
2. Revisit your mission statement often. Let it be the guiding light by which you program, plan, and preach. Your mission statement (not to be confused with your values, or vision statement) lets you know who you are and who you’re not. Knowing who you’re not, can be as important as knowing who you are.
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