Leadership, Pastors

Vision and Mission Statements (I Know You Hate Those Words)

I roll my eyes whenever I hear the words. I’m shocked you even clicked on this. A ridiculous amount of time has been wasted by churches trying to drum up (and perfect every word of) a vision and mission statment. The results of this painful process are often as horrid as the incredibly amateur church logo.

Because of the ridiculousness, I think it’s become cool in some circles to ignore vision and mission statements, but that is just as foolish. Every church has a mission and vision; it’s just best to know what it truly is and be intentional about fulfilling it.

Yes, we could argue about what the difference is between a vision and mission statement. My assumption is that vision is a clear and compelling picture of the church’s future, and the mission is what your church does all the time to make that vision a reality.

Let’s be honest, lots of churches’ mission and vision statements are, “Don’t change anything”, and their vision statements closely follow with “To be the same in the future as we are now”. In other churches, the mission statement is really, “Do what the pastor thinks is cool at the time”, which leads to the vision, “Whatever is cool whenever it is in the future we’re talking about”.

Other churches combine mission and vision statements, but that doesn’t make sense to me unless you can include both in a sentence fragment. Which leads me to Ben Arment.

Ben Arment’s book Church in the Making is a great resource, not only for church planters, but pastors of existing churches. For example, when discussing mission statements, he writes that if you can’t tattoo your mission statement on your arm, then it’s too long and probably sounds like legalize (anything written by a committee probably sounds like legalize). The point is to make them short and instantly memorable.

Some of Ben’s suggestions:

  • Just Jesus.
  • Love God. Love People. Prove It.
  • Jesus. Period.

I also like mission statements that describe the process of evangelism and discipleship.

  • Willow started it all with: “Turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ”.
  • Church of the Resurrection expanded it to include nominally religious people: “Creating a community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming committed followers of Jesus Christ”.

More ideas:

  • Follow Jesus. Everything else is boring.
  • Recreate the world.
  • No perfect people allowed. (a tagline I once stole from Vince Antonucci)
  • No one stands alone. (another tagline I once stole from Vince Antonucci)
  • Love God. Love People. No, Really.
  • Love exists.
  • Your story is our story.
  • Jesus.
  • Jesus, Not Christians. (I love this one. It makes me laugh. Great stuff!)
  • Followers of Jesus, Not Christians.
  • Doing our best to follow Jesus. (Not flashy but honest)
  • Love Our City.
  • Repair the world.
  • People following Jesus who never dreamed they would. (My favorite)

For more of these, check out http://www.innovationatchurch.com/2008/03/church-mission-statement-problems.html

For info on values and purpose statements: http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/2009/09/purpose-values-vision-mission/

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One thought on “Vision and Mission Statements (I Know You Hate Those Words)

  1. Good point about throwing the baby out with the bath water. These statements are helpful in gaining accountability and making sure responsibilities are measurable – we can compare what we do or want to do with who we say we are and why we say we’re here, particularly if we believe that God inspired our thoughts about both of those. In the missional environment where resources are precious, it is often fatal to be constantly throwing whatever you have at whatever comes up. Being able to focus matters, IMHO. And those are great examples, too. Thanks!

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