A mission statement is an essential part of your ministry. It defines your church’s very purpose. If your church is new or hasn’t had a mission statement in the past, it’s hard to know where to begin. Here are some tips to get you started.
The Difference Between a Mission and Vision Statement
Mission statements and vision statements are often confused with each other, but they are very different. A vision statement is focused on the future of your church – what you’re working towards. A mission statement defines your purpose and calling. Think of them in terms of the “why” and the “what.” Mission is the “why” your church is here, vision is the “what” you hope to do in the future.
Tips for Creating the Mission Statement
When you set out to create a mission statement for your church, it’s important to involve your entire leadership team. You might even seek input from the rest of the congregation. This statement is a vital aspect of your church’s branding. It will define who you are to the community.
Here are some things to consider when writing your mission statement.
What Do We Do?
If your church has existed for a while, you can look at its past work in the community. What projects has it taken on? What causes has it supported? Is there a common theme in its past work? If your church is new or hasn’t been formed yet, focus on what type of work you feel called to.
Who Do We Serve?
This is closely tied to the work you’ve done. In the course of your church’s history, what groups have you served? Or, what groups do you wish to serve?
Why Did We Form This Church?
What motivated your team to form this church in the first place? Has that motivation changed over the years? Try to articulate why you’ve put in this effort so far. The answer to that question just might give you a working draft of a mission statement.
What Are Our Values?
Values are closely tied to mission. Most churches will share common values such as generosity and obedience to God’s will. However, for this purpose, you should narrow your focus to the most important values – the ones that matter the most to your congregation.
What Is Unique about Our Church?
Lastly, consider the unique aspects of your church. What sets it apart from other churches in the area? How do you differentiate (or plan to differentiate) yourselves in the community?
Keep It Brief
Remember to keep your mission statement brief. Generally, one sentence suffices. Think of it like a motto or slogan; the shorter ones usually stand out.
Use a Template if Need Be
There is nothing wrong with seeking out a template for your mission statement. Visit other church websites and see what they’ve written. Use them as a model for your church.
Here are some examples from Barnabas Foundation of phrases you can adapt for your own purpose:
- The mission of (the Church Name) is to …
- Our mission is to …
- (The Church Name) seeks to …
Some churches keep the statements shorter, using phrases like “to create,” or “to equip.”
Write Many Drafts
When creating something new, you may need to go through multiple drafts before you find the best version. This even applies to a mission statement. As you go through the writing process, keep every statement you create. You never know when phrases or fragments from different drafts will come together beautifully.
Pray and Discuss
Once you have a few solid mission statements written, you need to do two important things. Take them to prayer and discuss among your leadership team. Through open discussion and God’s guidance, you will find the very best mission statement for your church.
A mission statement is a core aspect of your church. You should take the time to craft one that truly reflects your congregation. This will involve effort and input from many members of your team, but the end result will clarify your purpose.
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