Churches have not always had the short, pithy mission statements that we hang on the wall and put on our website. When I was a pastor of churches, we put together many of them.  My first one was created by a team in the small church I served back in 1985.  We had a logo and everything.  I think they have value as we help our church focus on the main thing, but they are also not world-changing as we work to bring our church community, new and old, on board with the mission/vison of the church.

People must have a clear place to invest in the mission/vision if it is going to have the impact, we want it to have.
  • How are we going to do this?
  • How can I invest in this mission?
  • What are the next steps in this work?
  • What are the narratives where this is happening?
  • How can I learn what I need to learn to partner in this mission?
  • Where is the concrete work going on that reflects this mission?
If a mission statement for a secular organization is “Save the Whales”,  people must be told why they need to be saved. What kind of whales are we talking about?  Is this a crisis, how big a crisis is it?  How are we all impacted by whales and saving them?  How can I help?  Where can I give? What difference is it making? Can I be hands on and get in a boat and save a whale? What do I need to learn to help save whales?  Where are the fruits of our labor?

If there is not a concrete connection between the church people and the mission/vision statement, then it is just a nebulous idea that makes us feel better and might look good on the wall.
Mission/vision statements should be a driving force for the church, the members, the guests, the budget, planning, building, and operation of the church that helps birth an ongoing new future.
Somewhere, someone, must be in a boat protecting the whales from unethical whalers that roam the ocean. Someone must teach the world that eating whale meat is destroying the future. Someone must know that when they give and gather with the “Save the Whales” organization they are building a better world for their children where whales have their healthy place in the ecosystem. Somewhere people must celebrate the effectiveness and results of this mission.

For the church, people want to know who we are, what we are doing, what we are going to do, how we are going to do it, and how they can participate.  A pilgrimage that is biblically undergirded, Holy Spirit filled, Jesus directed, compelling and exciting.  People do not want to go to church. They want to be churched.

Rev. Mike Ramsdell, Executive Director
Center for Evangelism, Mission & Church Growth