Does your church have a mission statement? Could most of the people in your church repeat it?
If the answer is ‘no’, I have one word for you.
You don’t need to call an emergency vision-casting meeting to remind everyone that they need to ‘Know, Grow & Go’, ‘Love, Learn & Live’ or ‘Become fully devoted followers of Jesus.’
If church members can’t recite your mission statement, it’s okay. People don't become fully devoted followers of Jesus when they can say the words, but because they’re doing the work. It's about discipleship, not well-crafted statements.
Writing a mission statement should be one of the last things a church does, not the first. Because the only real hope that a church will follow through on their mission statement is if it’s based on what the church is already doing.
The Problem With Our Mission Statement Obsession
Starting about 25 years ago, virtually every business was told they had to have a mission statement. So they wrote them, then started ‘empowering associates’ instead of hiring employees. But if you ask someone if all the hoopla actually changed anything, the likely answer is that nothing changed at all.
Mission statements aren’t bad. The church I pastor has one. (It’s Exploring, Living & Sharing the Truth of God’s Word, if anyone cares to know. And no, most of our congregation couldn’t quote it, either.)
But great mission statements don’t make great churches – or fix broken ones. We have to do the mission first. We shouldn’t put anything into words until we’re already putting it into action.
Christian leaders shouldn’t be surprised by this. James 1:22 tells us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
That’s a powerful, scary truth. If we know the words but aren’t doing them, we’re living in self-deceit. Obviously that verse is about God’s Word, not our self-written mission statements, but the principle still applies. Having a mission statement without living it is a form of self-deception.
The Pattern Jesus Gave Us
The Apostle Paul told us, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power.” (1 Cor 4:20)
We see that truth in the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus was the greatest wordsmith who ever lived, but he was a doer first.