We refer to a "church mission and vision statement" in the same breath so often, we can start to think they're synonymous. But it's important to maintain their distinction. Because though they are tied together, each one serves a different purpose.
In this post, we'll dive deep into what makes each one unique, share some great examples, and share how you can draft these statements for your church, then launch them to your members.
A church vision statement is an articulation of a church's ambition. It is a clear and concise declaration of the desired change resulting from the work they do.
Every church leader longs to impact the surrounding community and change the world. Your vision statement is a proclamation of that desire.
Think of your church's vision statement as an "elevator pitch" for your church. In fact, crafting it as a quick and simple way to communicate with a stranger about your church in a way that piques their interest is a great approach.
Ultimately, your vision statement needs to answer one question:
The answer to that question is your church's vision statement.
Redeemer Presbyterian Church - The Redeemer family of churches and ministries exists to help build a great city for all people through a movement of the gospel that brings personal conversion, community formation, social justice, and cultural renewal to New York City and, through it, the world.
The Church of Eleven22 - The Church of Eleven22 is a movement for all people to discover and deepen a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Christ Community Church - Making Gospel-centered disciples among all people for the glory of God.
Metro Church - Our vision is to reach, connect and serve a multigenerational, multicultural, multi-class, and multiethnic group for Jesus Christ.
A church mission statement is a brief summary of what your church exists to do, helping a church guide its decisions and priorities. By articulating your church's mission, you make it easier for your leaders to understand what their ministry goals are. This keeps the ministry work each individual is doing in alignment with everything the church is doing.
In other words, a good mission statement is supposed to create unity around a common purpose.
Your mission statement needs to answer one question:
Knowing your mission statement makes it easier to keep your leaders moving together in the same direction.
The Church of Eleven22 - We are a community that seeks to glorify God by surrendering to Jesus, making disciple-making disciples, and transforming communities.
Metro Church - Our mission is to win the lost and teach the word of God for practical spiritual transformation.
North Point Community Church - Inspire people to follow Jesus by engaging them in the life and mission of North Point Community Church.
Mosaic Church - To be a church that lives by faith, is known by love, and is a voice of hope to the world
Your vision for your church must come before your mission statement for your church.
This is because the process of crafting these statements is much like planning a road trip. You can't plan your route unless you know your destination. Read the "Why You Need Both a Vision and Mission Statement" section below for more.
It is possible to have just one of the two (North Point Community Church mentioned earlier does not have a vision statement). But it's best to have both.
On its own, a church vision statement offers inspiration for leaders and members. However, not pairing a mission statement with it leaves everyone unsure of how to reach your organization's dreams for the future.
On its own, a church mission statement provides clear objectives for what leaders and members should do. However, not pairing a vision statement with it leavers everyone unsure of what the organization's desired goals look like.
Giving your people both a vision and a mission removes ambiguity and gives everyone the information they need to help the church flourish.
If the relationship between a vision and a mission statement could be boiled down to a sentence, it would be this:
Imagine your church is going on a long road trip. Your church vision statement is the destination on the map. Your church mission statement is the route you will take, including all the stops you will make along the way.
If you are about to launch your church plant, a new pastor at an established church embarking on revitalization, or it's time for a rebranding at your church, it's imperative that you bring both your mission statement and vision statement into sharp relief from the very beginning. With the Bible in hand and these statements established, you can lead your church with greater clarity and passion.
Communicate with your leaders to collaborate on these statements so the entire team is on board.
If you're just getting started with the process of crafting a church vision statement, follow the tips below to help guide you.
Your church vision statement isn't a treatise or graduate-level thesis. This is meant to be a concise articulation of the future of your church.
Your vision statement must be compelling and inspiring. In fact, the church's vision statement will likely be what motivates newcomers to become invested members of your church.
If you're just getting started with the process of crafting a church mission statement, follow the tips below to help guide you.
Your mission statement isn't a 12-step program. Ideally, you would keep it to 3-5 action steps. Also, the steps do not need to be highly detailed or paired with a lengthy set of instructions.
When writing your mission statement and action steps, it's best to keep the concept of "Decentralized Command" in mind. These steps aren't meant to tell your people exactly what to do but to empower them to serve in ministry and advance your organization.
You've got your mission statement and vision statement ironed out. That's 50% of the work. Now it's time to roll it out to your flock.
The worst thing you could do is walk into church this Sunday and announce your church's new mission statement without any warning or without prior communication with your leaders. Below are how to introduce your new statements to your church in a way that gets everyone on board.
Just as you and your leaders should pray throughout creating these statements, your members need to intercede on your behalf. This will help prepare their hearts to receive what God is inspiring you to do, and will also help them feel invested in this new initiative.
This is the most crucial step. If the other leaders aren't on board, you might as well not have a vision statement or mission statement at all.
Ideally, you would have consulted with your team as you formulated these foundational statements and incorporated their ideas. Doing that will exponentially increase the adoption rate of these ideals across your leadership team.
However, there are some scenarios where certain leaders will have to be brought on board. Perhaps they joined the church after the statements were crafted, didn't speak up during the initial brainstorming and prayer sessions, or even expressed disagreement and dissatisfaction. It will be worth your time to learn what their barriers are to adopting the mission statement and how you can work together toward unity on this front.
Note: No one can be forced to adopt something they don't feel passionate about. Bringing a new team member into the vision and mission of the church isn't about compliance and control, but a partnership. I'll cover this in more detail in a later section of this post.
The other reason you need to unify your team is so that you can rely on them.
Once your team is onboard with this initiative, ask them to share these new statements with the volunteers they lead. Get your Sunday School or small group leaders to announce share the statements with their group members. This will go a long way toward getting more members to embrace this initiative because it increases how often they encounter the statements as well as ensures they hear it from people they are close to.
When the day comes to officially announce it to your congregation, make it a celebration! If you're not excited about how God is moving in your church, your members won't see the point.
The most effective way to educate the congregation on your unique church mission statement is to repeat it often.
I've been to churches that educated their congregation on their mission statement so well that I can still recite their mission statement to this day, despite not attending that church in years. That's because they declared their mission every week in multiple ways.
Ministry in the church has to be prioritized at every level, otherwise your members won't embrace the vision and mission you have for the church and make it their own.
Build outreach programs, equip members to do ministry, and create fully devoted followers of Christ. Do whatever it takes to bring people to Jesus and live out the mission of your church and watch your members get swept up into the work God is doing through your church!
In a word: No
First of all, you already have one. It's the same mission every church has:
That mission is all a church truly needs. Whatever you and I come up with is just window dressing around the Great Commission.
The key is this - Your church needs a vision and a mission. Whether you articulate it in your own words or turn to Scripture, what matters most is that you have a vision for the future of your church and know how you will accomplish that mission. Not knowing means you and your church are taking the mission of the Church for granted.
The Church has thrived for 2000 years without every leader crafting unique statements for their church. If your church has been following the Great Commission and is united in that calling, you genuinely do not need a vision statement or a mission statement.
In fact, a mission statement can cause division as easily as it can create unity. If a person isn't on board with the church's mission statement, requiring them to prioritize it in their ministry work can feel coercive and manipulative.
Take a quick assessment of your church. If the mission statement is causing strife or contention, it may be worth making adjustments to the statement or removing it altogether.
Remember - The mission God has given every church is more important than a unique mission statement you create yourself.
Every church needs a vision and mission! Do you have a vision for the future of your church? Do you know how your church will accomplish that vision? If not, prayerfully plan with your leaders, dream big, and celebrate God's love and power with your church members to connect people to what God is doing.
Make God's mission for your church your mission today!