Some Thoughts on Church Mission Statements

Mission statements are interesting things.

It seems that most companies have one. Some are more known than others. Some are clever. Others catchy. I’ve seen long ones and some that are only a few words. And there are a growing number of churches that are creating and adopting one in our generation.

I don’t remember ever having a mission statement in the churches in which I grew up. That does not mean that those churches did not have one. But if they did, it wasn’t obvious.

A few years ago our elders took a weekend retreat to focus our attention on reviewing our purpose and mission. Those were unforgettable hours of discussion, Bible study, and prayer.

The end result was a mission statement for Mission Road Bible Church.

Creating that statement for our church was an unexpected joy.

I have to admit having been suspicious of church mission statements before. I’m not exactly sure why, probably just intimidated by them. How can you possibly synthesize all you want your church to accomplish in a single statement? At the same time, as the saying goes, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

That weekend exercise was a very helpful process that ended up being way bigger than the final product. The discussions that landed us on our statement taught me some things about mission statements. Here are some things I learned.

First, you can’t say everything, but saying something is better than saying nothing. The process of trying to capture the goal and purpose of our church was a discussion that forced us to identify essentials, eliminate peripherals, and sharpen our focus.

Second, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We borrowed a phrase from another church’s statement.

Third, you should be open to tweaking and sharpening. We regularly review our mission statement as an elder team and ask if it needs to be clarified.

Fourth, you have to be ready to defend what is in the statement and what is not. We’ve discovered that we certainly say more about our church than is in our mission statement, but we could not say any less.

If you are a part of the leadership of your church, I hope you will take the joyful- though challenging- opportunity to develop and/or review a mission statement for your church.

One of the things I regularly do in the worship services of our church is to read it while it comes up on the screen in the front of our church. It is a great way to introduce what we are about to visitors as well as remind everyone what we are about.

Here is our mission statement at Mission Road Bible Church as it stands.

We exist to magnify God and spread a passion for His glory by making disciples and shepherding them to value Jesus Christ above all else, in every dimension of life, as regulated by the Word of God.

 

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