I never thought mission and vision statements were that important until I came across organizations that didn’t know why they even existed. This is a common shortcoming of the least likely places including the church. The church should be the last place to be without vision or mission, but sadly, our mantra is often missed by people (and parishioners) our churches daily encounter. I have had conversations with congregants and pastors that were not able to articulate the vision or mission of the church. I have heard such comments like, “Well, I guess we exist to worship God,” or “Well, I’m not really sure what our mission is—maybe to be good people?” While yes, it’s great to worship God, it can essentially be done out of the context of Church. Yes, it is lovely to be good people but there are great people everywhere. So the question prevails, why does your organization exist? What is your purpose, where are you going and who are you doing it for?
An organization without vision makes it impossible to lead others to a destination. Leaders must be the ones to provide vision and to frame the “why” in everything you do. When crafting your mission statement make sure it has these two elements:
- Know the why in your “why.”
Do you know why your organization exists? Is it to make it easier for people to communicate? Or maybe it’s for people to have a transformational experience with Jesus. Either way, you have to actually sit down and think about what you’re hoping people will experience when they buy your product or walk in your doors. If you don’t know why you exist, chances are that people and customers aren’t going to know why they gave your product a chance and are less likely to return. Transformation starts with the vision and ends with movement—make it easier for people to do that through casting good vision and mission.
- Keep it clean so that it can shine.
There is nothing worst than coming across a mission statement that is impossible to memorize and quickly spout off. Make sure your mission statement is clear and concise so that it becomes second nature for people in your organization to articulate it. Making sure your mission statement is clear and concise will allow it to stand on its own and shine. By doing so, you’re leaving zero room for confusion as to what your purpose is. If your mission statement can’t be said in just a few words, you’re overthinking it and making it difficult for people to come alongside your goal.
I have a personal mission statement that I’m going to share for you so that you have an idea of what a clean and simple mission statement looks like. My mission is the following, “Creatively helping others pursue their gifts and purpose through a catalytic relationship with Jesus.” That’s it; there aren’t multiple points or even sentences. I can spout it off when someone asks why I’m engaged in ministry, or why I write—“to creatively help others pursue their gifts and purpose through a catalytic relationship with Jesus.” Having a clean mission statement helps me stay on mission and to not deviate away from where God has called me.
Okay, now that you’ve crafted a mission statement, say it, show it, and be it. Say it as often as you can in staff meetings, or on the stage of your church. Show it in all your literature, your website, and your branding. Be it in your ethos and values as an organization. Live towards daily expressions of your mission and you will notice more and more people getting on board for what you’re attempting to accomplish. Be missional, and be a visionary.