When you plan a vacation, before setting out in the car or boarding an airplane you would have already decided upon your destination. Establishing a new ministry is similar to a trip, and in order to properly prepare yourself for the journey, you must first decide where you want to go--what you plan to accomplish. A mission statement defines the purpose of your ministry and provides a focal point at which to direct your endeavors.
Your mission statement should succinctly describe the reason for the existence of your ministry, it can be a paragraph in length or as brief as one sentence, and it usually contains the following: the name of your ministry, a description in the form of a motto or slogan, to whom you want to minister, and how you intend to reach out to them.
The specific call to ministry that you received from God can act as the foundation for preparing your mission statement. For example, I am a Christian life coach, and the slogan for my ministry is "practical life coaching from a Christian perspective." That was the purpose for which I believe God called me to become a life coach, and it is incorporated into my mission statement, along with a description of how I plan to put it into practice:
The mission of [name of ministry] is to offer practical life coaching from a Christian perspective to individuals via telephone and e-mail. Specific areas of coaching include: identifying your values, determining your purpose, discovering your spiritual gifts, building self-esteem, rekindling spiritual passion, transitioning through change, revolutionizing your prayer life, coping with grief and loss, and offering ministry and leadership support. (1)
If you lead a congregational ministry, your mission statement will be somewhat different. Here is an example of a one-sentence mission statement for a church in my community:
[name of church] is a congregation whose mission is to enable every believer to live a passionate Christian life in the power of the Holy Spirit, working to serve others, to break down barriers, to unite generations, and to restore the arts. (2)
Another church in my community has adopted the motto "God. People. World." and has integrated it into their mission statement:
We exist to help connect people to God, Others and the World. Simply, we desire to create environments where you are inspired to connect to your God-ordained destiny through a personal connection to Jesus Christ, to others in small groups, and to the world in service. (3)
For many other examples, you can visit www.missionstatements.com (click on "nonprofit entity" or "church"), or search the Internet for church websites and read their mission statements.
Carefully preparing a mission statement at the inception of your ministry, and referring to it often as your ministry grows and changes, will help you maintain proper focus on your vision and ensure that you keep your ministry and its programs in line with the objectives and goals that God has anointed you to accomplish in your work.
(1) Adapted from the mission statement of NewJourney Christian Life Coaching.
(2) Adapted from the mission statement of Smyrna Assembly, Smyrna, Tennessee.
(3) Mission statement of First Baptist Church, Smyrna, Tennessee.
Read more articles by Lynn Jacobs or search for articles on the same topic or others.