I just finished drafting a vision and mission statement for a church I’m praying about planting. Some of you may wonder why such a statement is necessary. I believe both vision and mission statements are important for the following reasons.
1. They provide direction.
Suppose you are planning a trip across the United States to Los Angeles. If you’ve never taken the trip before, you’d be foolish to attempt it without some form of direction. If you have unclear directions, or worse yet, none at all, you’ll likely get lost or end up in danger. The same is true for the work of ministry. If you don’t have a plan to get where God has called you to go, it’ll be difficult to go where God wants you to get. You need to be keenly aware of where God is leading. You need a plan. You need direction.
God did not place you on mission to fumble about. He wants you to pursue the destination to which He has called you. His sheep know His voice and follow His lead (John 10:27). A vision and mission statement will help you remember what He said. It will keep you on track.
2. They promote unity.
It’s a powerful thing when a team is unified around a goal. Vision and mission statements give everyone on your team a common language which can create an environment of unity. Unity within your organization or church will carry you further than a constant flurry of activity ever will. Besides, lots of people appreciate moving forward in unison with the help a common goal. Unity within a church is a sign of good leadership. A vision and mission statement should not be thought of as an idea killer in any way. It is a useful tool that brings people together.
3. They keep you focused on your call.
Without a clear vision and mission, a church can be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14). There are a lot of good ideas out there that can dismantle a new congregation without a sense of direction or calling. God has established your church with a goal in mind, be sure not to lose focus by fixating on things outside of your call.
4. They help outsiders know what you stand for.
In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul warned his readers against confusing outsiders by their worship gathering (1 Corinthians 14). Our church gatherings should be about more than just getting “filled up” personally. Like an orderly service, a well-crafted vision and mission statement can prove very helpful to unbelievers or outsiders. We must avoid the temptation to create “spiritual clubs” that only cater to the needs of seasoned believers. A good vision and mission statement will be sensitive to the lost in your community. Before they even decide to participate, they can learn about your love for God and people from your vision and mission as a church.
5. They foster good decision making.
Many mission statements will include a list of core values. These values can be used to make decisions within your church or organization. Any time a decision needs to be made, ask yourself whether or not it corresponds or supports the mission or values of your church. If a decision would contradict or depreciate your values in any way, it should be abandoned. Many good things can be done within a ministry, but not all things are helpful or move you closer to your goal.
6. They protect you from church and ministry fads.
Like the culture around us, the church often develops fads. Not all fads are bad. Some fads, like the current house church movement, can be very helpful because they point us back to a biblical model or truth. However, some trends can be distracting and cause you to lose focus on the mission God has given your church. By returning again and again to your vision and mission statements, your church will stay focused when the newest ministry craze arises. You can stay alert to your call when so many others around you are changing like shifting shadows.
7. They are birthed out of conviction.
As the old saying goes, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Well-written vision and mission statements are birthed out of biblical conviction. Your love for Jesus and the gospel should be evident within them. There is no foundation more solid than the hope of Jesus dying and raising again for the pardon of guilty sinners and the restoration of all things. Your vision and mission statement provides a great opportunity to share the gospel over and over again with your congregation and the outsiders coming in.