I look at a lot of church websites, sometimes for my current job as a web designer and other times as part of my process of looking for a pastoral position. One of the first pages I go to is the church’s mission and vision. Most church mission statements are pretty similar, which is not a bad thing. But you can still get a good feel about what a church chooses to emphasize, discipleship or evangelism, relevancy or tradition, and on and on.
Just about every church has a codified mission. But I wonder how many effectively live it out in all they do? I recently visited a church that was quite intentional about not only aligning all they did with their mission, but also communicating to the body why and how each event/program/decision aligned with the mission. I came away with a sense that this church had a real desire to see its members engaged in gospel-centered worship, community, service and multiplication and they were actively working to make that a reality. It is a model for all churches, regardless of your mission, ideals, theology, or programming.
There are two questions to ask when aligning your church activity around your mission. They are simple questions, yet often overlooked.
1. Does this activity/program/etc. align with our vision and mission?
This seems like common sense, but there are plenty of churches that skip this step. It could be that we want to encourage members who display a passion or competency in a ministry that is worthwhile but doesn’t quite fit into your church’s vision. Or perhaps there is another, more successful church down the road that has a program you want to “borrow.” Regardless the reason, if you ask whether an activity fits with the vision God gave you for your church and the answer is no, don’t do it.
2. Do our church members know this activity/program/etc. aligns with our vision and mission?
Equally important, and equally forgotten, is the question about communication. If you share your mission statement every time you open your mouth, but fail to demonstrate how it is put into practice in the workings of your church, then it becomes nothing more than a nifty slogan. When making announcements on Sunday morning, take an extra 30 seconds to explain how that class fits in with the overall vision of the church. Your vision will become more than just a catchphrase. It will be the embodiment of the way God is driving your church to achieve His mission and vision.