Mission and vision are not the same.
Mission is why you exist. Vision is where you’re going. Getting the two mixed up will lead to confusion for your decision-making and your people.
Your vision should compel people to join and participate. The vision should paint a picture of the future you want to create. And the vision should be an extension of the leadership’s passions and convictions.
But your vision will change because you change the future changes as we approach it, and what motivates people changes.
Mission doesn’t change like vision changes. Your mission is clearly laid out by a higher authority. Your job is to articulate it in a way that your people understand.
Examples of Church Missions Statements
Here are 13 examples of clear and effective mission statements.
- Rescuing one another from cultural Christianity to follow Jesus every day – Park Cities Baptist Church
- To become an equipping and mobilizing church that transforms our world for Jesus Christ – East 91st Street Christian Center
- To connect the unconnected to Christ and together pursue full devotion to him – Central Christian Church
- Helping people take their next step toward Christ…together – Granger Community Church
- Connecting people with God, through authentic relationships to serve communities – Newbreak Church
- To lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ – Life.Church
- Helping lost, broken people become passionate, devoted followers of Jesus Christ – Pathways Church
- To reach and influence the world by building a large Christ-centred, Bible-based church, changing mindsets and empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life – Hillsong Church
- To present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that turns non-Christians into converts, converts into disciples, and disciples into mature, fruitful leaders, who will in turn go into the world and reach others for Christ – New Hope Christian Fellowship
- Imperfect people, risking it all to make Jesus real one life at a time – Southern Lutheran
- Helping one another trade a checklist faith for real life with Jesus – First Baptist Concord
- Helping people find their way back to God – Community Christian Church
- To bring people to Jesus and membership in his family, develop them to Christlike maturity, and equip them for their ministry in the church and life mission in the world, in order to magnify God’s name – Gateway Church
You may notice a few things about this list of missions statements. First, they all say essentially the same thing, just phrased differently. Second, they are all a single sentence or shorter. Will Mancini champions the 12-word limit for mission statements, which he calls the Missional Mandate that drives a church’s decision-making.
How to Write Your Own Mission Statement for Your Church
Writing your own mission statement for your church shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. Include other people on the process. When you bring in other people on the process of writing a mission statement, you’ll find some very real benefits.
- You’ll have a broader perspective than just your own.
- You’ll take a step toward broad adoption by creating champions who’ve had input and ownership.
- Your language will more closely match the language your people use and are familiar with.
- You spread out the weight of the serious responsibility of articulating God’s mission for your congregation.
Working with your team, whether that’s staff or a mixture of leaders and members, you’re going to start by answering the fundamental questions, “Why do we exist?”
Most churches will point to pivotal Bible passages like Matthew 28 or Acts 2 when Jesus gives the new congregation in Jerusalem the Great Commission to make disciples. That’s an excellent place to start.
Doing vs Being
You can answer the foundational question from two angles. First, you can answer with a “doing” response. For example, “To connect people to God and one another” is a “doing” mission statement. It says that your congregation exists to do something specific.
Second, you can answer from a perspective of “being”. For example, “To be a place where broken people can find healing in Jesus”. It says that your congregation is tied more to an identity rather than a task.
Both perspectives on mission are good and correct. The kind of mission statement that most resonates with you and your team is what will likely most resonate with your congregation.
Make It Memorable
You may have seen mission statements printed and hanging on a wall in the church office. Mission statements of yesteryear were long-winded and thorough. Our forebears wanted to cover every aspect of a church’s mission, including how they planned to execute that mission.
Those mission statements tended to look more like a business plan. That format served its purpose with that generation, but our generation isn’t influenced by the Rockefeller model of business leadership.
Andy Stanley says that sermons should be memorable because memorable is portable. If your mission statement is memorable, then it’s portable, which means your people will take that mission with them when they leave your campus.
That’s what you really want. You want your people to know your mission so well that they can repeat it to friends and family in conversation.
Here are some rules to make your mission statement memorable.
- Keep it brief. It’s harder to remember longer phrases or multiple sentences.
- Use words that your people use because it will be easier to remember and more natural to use in conversation.
- Use visual language that catches people off guard. Mundane isn’t memorable.
Wait and Then Decide
Once your team has landed on two variations that you like, don’t decide right away. Take some time to pray about which variation is right for you. Of course, you’ve prayed for God’s guidance through the process, but there’s no reason to take time to ask for God’s continued gift of wisdom at this final step.
While you’re waiting and praying, start saying each mission statement variant out loud. Get a sense how each one sounds when you say it. Does it sound odd? Forced? Too formal? Too aggressive or too passive? Does it convey the message you want to convey or is the hearer getting something different?
Once you’ve taken your time and your team is ready to come together to make a decision, don’t draw it out. You’ve put in the work to explore and pray and practice. Now make a choice and move forward.
When you make the decision, you don’t need 100% buy-in from 100% of the team. It’ll never happen.
Instead, aim for at least 90% buy-in from 100% of the team. If you can get everyone on the team to be “almost completely happy” with the decision, then you’ll be able to move forward together confidently.