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02 – How to Design Church as a Rocking Organization

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The mission statement of a church should be about how it can best serve the spiritual needs of its community.

It doesn’t need to be clever but it does need to be clear, simple, and inspiring.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt

I have participated in long, sometimes fruitless, team meetings trying to hammer out a meaningful mission statement. Hours of effort. Mixed emotions of frustration and exhileration.

Then a breakthrough. We finally achieved agreement on a carefully crafted statement.

We joyfully put it out there for everyone to see: website, church sign, bulletin cover, coffee mugs, video announcements, sermon series.

Then we shrugged, yawned, and went back to business as usual.

Why do we exist?

That is the question behind every mission statement. Unfortunately, many of the church mission statements I have seen are bland, generic and well, long.

They tend to use biblical phrasing, which makes them appear sound but I think they miss a great opportunity.

Don’t make your mission statement a list of everything you do such as worship, discipleship, fellowship, etc.

Rather, bring your mission statement to a single focus that captures your distinguishing trait.

Move from generic to unique

The exciting thing is, each church – like everything else God has created – is unique.

Of course, every church should be committed to the Great Commission and the Great Commandments. That’s the starting point, the common ground we all share.

Your church consists of one-of-a-kind people in a one-of-a-kind location at a one-of-a-kind time in history.

Your mission statement should reflect that distinctive identity and embrace the special opportunities that come with it.

Three examples of the kind of mission statements I prefer are:

“We are a sanctuary of transformation.”

“We are a lab where everything is an experiment. There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet and we’re more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes.” (National Community Church)

“We exist so that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ.” (Elevation Church)

Examples from the Bible

Jesus declared his mission in a variety of ways: I came to seek and save the lost. I came to destroy the works of the devil. I came to give life, abundant life. I came for the lost sheep of Israel (all of which flow from Luke 4:18-19).

Paul had a clear sense of his mission: I was sent as an apostle to the Gentiles. I lay the foundation so others can build on it (1 Cor. 3:10).

Just answer one question

Mission is an “umbrella” statement; a summarization of what follows.

Stick to a single question: Why do we exist?

Don’t try to say everything here. There are 3 more pieces to the “core” so save something for later.

Bottom line

Go for uniqueness, focus, and clarity.

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Copyright © 2014 Steve Brimmer. All rights reserved.