Do you need another church mission/vision statement? Many of us church leaders have over the years spent hours and hours and gone to countless workshops trying to develop that perfectly crafted vision statement. The statement that is memorable, catchy and interesting and of course has clear biblical values. Most mission statements sound great. But what difference do they really make?
I remember in the early 90s as we were starting out in ministry and beginning our first journey in to church planting. I remember spending days working on a mission statement trying to get the wording right, changing words around trying to get it to a nice concise pithy statement that everyone on our team would understand and get behind. This brief sentence would define who we are, express our values and get us excited about what we do. In those days you just had to have a mission statement. Every church and church plant had to have one.
I can still remember the mission/vision statement that we chose “To see the great command and the great commission become a reality in the lifestyle of every believer”. At the time I thought it was brilliant. It was clearly biblical. It said what I wanted to see occur and what I wanted our church plant to become. At the time to me anyway it sounded great. I still think it is a very good statement. Loving God and each other and being a disciple of Jesus who makes disciples is the heart of our work today and with the Lord’s help I don’t ever see that changing.
Today research suggests that rather than value statements shaping our behavior, our actions can actually shape our values. The practices and actions that a society endorses in turn shape the way people of that society think. Have we been focusing too much on transferring values to the exclusion of passing on good habits? Good habits are those practices we nurture in our lives that unite us, that connect us more deeply to Jesus and each other. Maybe we need to focus more on habits that energize us in becoming more like Jesus. Rather than just teaching values, we could focus on fostering good missional habits. Creating habits that become rhythms of blessing, spending time with each other, spending time listening to the Holy Spirit, learning from Jesus. If you commit to these kinds of habits it would be fair to say you’ll become more Christlike, and gradually see yourself as a missionary right in your own community.
Do you need a mission statement? I think mission statements do have value but not as much as we like to think. Our actions our habits can actually shape our values more successfully.
Here is a good little resource by Michael Frost. The 5 Habits of Highly Missional People.
Would love to here your comments.