5 Essentials in a Mission Statement

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An effective presidential campaign slogan can be memorable and powerful for years to come. It’s intended to be a rallying cry, promising change or a new direction in our country. The best ones are memorable, regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on. Here are a few you probably recognize:

  • I like Ike – 1952 Dwight Eisenhower
  • Let’s make America great again – 1980 Ronald Reagan 
  • Hope – Change we can believe in – 2008 Barack Obama 
  • Make America great again – 2016 Donald Trump

The Way I See It…

Your church mission statement should be a rallying cry, declaring direction for your church. Like presidential campaign slogans, it should be laser focused and point to what every church member should do.

Here are 5 essentials when writing a mission statement:

  1. Be Biblical but contextual – Every evangelical church has a clear mandate from scripture, the Great Commission. The Great Commission should be lived out through the lens of the Great Commandment. But every church is located in a unique context with unique people who have unique passions and giftedness. No two congregations are exactly alike so their mission statement shouldn’t look like anyone else’s mission statement.
  1. Be brief and descriptive – Mission statements like campaign slogans should be short and easy to remember. My rule of thumb is to keep it under 12 words. More difficult than being brief is being descriptive. Mission statements are the church’s daily marching orders, so you need to be precise in the words you choose. As one church consultant has said, “Words build worlds.” 
  1. Lean into your local gospel need – The Great Commission is clear: Make disciples. To make disciples requires intentionally reaching out to the community around you to engage the lost. A compelling mission statement asks two questions: What are the needs of people around us? And how does the gospel intersect with these needs? Another way to put it is how is God specifically calling us to connect the gospel with the felt needs of people in our area? The answer gives you a starting point to rally your church around.
  1. Be simple – Notice how simple the presidential campaign slogans are. Every person can understand what is meant by those slogans. In other words, a mission statement should not need a theologian to explain what is meant.
  1. Answer one key question – What do we do? This is a key directional question for the local church. Christian writers and pastors write many books about HOW to do church – how you should do worship, how you should connect and assimilate people, how you should grow leaders…the list goes on. However, if the church isn’t clear on what it is to do, then programs, strategies, and structures will drive the church instead of mission.

Let’s be honest, most presidential campaign slogans fall short of delivering what they promise. But church mission statements don’t have to. If well thought out, they can inspire congregations and intentionally move every member to do their part to fulfill the Great Commission.

Need a mission statement assessment? I’d love to help.

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