Why Your Mission Statement Isn’t Really Your Mission Statement

Mission statement wordle

Mission statemMission statement wordleents don’t matter that much. All over the world, some probably tore their clothes in mourning over that statement, but I’ve found it to be true when it comes to churches. Church mission statements all read similarly. Because most churches anchor themselves to Christ and Scriptures and read them similarly when it comes to the big stuff, each tends to have three components–something on worship/devotion, something on loving others, something on evangelism. If one of those isn’t in a church’s mission statement, I’m usually rather surprised.

Where things get interesting is with regards to philosophy of ministry–the “how” of achieving the mission statement, and the emphasis put on aspects of the mission statement. It’s easier to come up with one broad sentence and adhere to it than it is to explain what precisely you mean and how you hope to achieve it.

“Love God, Love Others,” for instance, is quite biblical. It’s simple and memorable, but also largely unhelpful with regards to ministry because nearly everything most churches do is aimed at one of those two things. What’s better is to work on the core values/purposes behind, “Love God, Love Others,”–and I might even work one layer beneath that.

If you can achieve clarity on the “how” the “what” will be just fine. Don’t mishear me. You need to have a firm grasp on the “what.” It’s also possible to focus so much on the “how” that you lose sight of the big picture. However, if you’re unclear or have conflict over the “how” the “what” is unlikely to occur. Achieving your mission statement’s objectives depends less on adherence to the mission statement than on clarity and dedication to the values and “how” choices that under-gird it.

Once you have your mission statement, be at least as rigorous (if not more) about the “how” statements that under-gird it. Otherwise, mission drift and conflict over the “how” is nearly certain.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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