Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mission Statements?

I was at a board meeting last night where there was some discussion about our church's mission statement... namely, that no one knew what it was. Our mission statement is posted on our church bulletin every week, it's on our website and our youth ministry website, it's everywhere but on the walls of the church and no one but a select few knows what it is.

So today I've been pondering our mission statement and trying to own it as my own.

Our Mission is...
to seek to share with all people the reality of God's saving love as it is expressed in the life and message of Jesus Christ.
To empower our members to grow as followers of Jesus Christ and as persons of faith.
To send our members out to share God's love with the world through acts of faith, love and compassion.
If taken seriously, that is if our community were passionate about this mission and could rally around it, it could be a powerful tool for our community both in our personal spiritual work and struggle and in that of our whole congregation. It seems to me that all Mission statements could be powerfully useful. But they're useless if they're not known and referred to. What's the use of them anyway? For the pastor and a couple of staff members to have memorized? If it's truly the mission of the church then the whole church needs to own it. Every board and every member should have it in the back of their mind as they talk about ministry, mission, and even money.

Does your church or community have any sort of mission statement? What does your community do to inspire each other to be passionate disciples of Christ? Can a Mission statement fulfill its' purpose?

4 comments:

Elliott said...

My mission statement is as follows:

...to seek out and dismantle any power structure, to mitigate any circumstance, and to eliminate any individual that infringes upon the basic rights of, or causes suffering for any member of the brotherhood we call the Human Race.

Because this is the only life we get.


I know that probably puts me at odds with your mission statement :)

nate said...

Good thoughts Wes.

In my mind a Mission Statement is to answer the question, "Why are we doing this?"

If one doesn't know why their doing something, nothing is happening.

WES ELLIS said...

Elliott,
I hope our Mission is not at odds with yours. I admit that often times the Church as an institution (a "power structure") certainly does infringe upon rights and causes suffering... but that's not our mission at all. Actually, to me, your mission sounds like Jesus' mission (except for the "eliminate" part... I don't think Jesus would have wanted "eliminate" any "member of the brotherhood we call the Human Race").

Nate,
That's a good way to look at things.

Elliott said...

I was hesitant to phrase it as 'eliminate,' and in retrospect, that commits me to a bunch of stuff I'm not willing to defend (although there are certainly cases where elimination would be an appropriate recourse). Maybe something closer to 'disempower' or 'remove from authority' would be better. Eh.

Jesus and I may have a similar mission statement, but the means by which we arrived at it are totally different and foundationally contradictory. My version hinges critically on the absence of an afterlife. There's something supremely empowering about realizing there's nothing after this. And I think that realization can impart a deep and reverent respect for life in its ephemeralness. That's an integral part of my mission statement, and it's only in that sense that "[we're] at odds."