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This page is for all who struggle with Mission Statements and the like; it may help in identifying the place and mix of the so-called sacred and secular.
Before exploring mission statements, note that Jesus first of all gave us two clear commands, § both being to love....  It's worth considering how necessary it is to make this clear - does your target audience already see this as your foundation?  Only when we love others the way God loves us are we safe to get on with the Great Commission that Jesus gave to his disciples: Go to all nations....  §.  It's worth noting the differences between a commission and a mission.

The Bible records that the apostles had no idea what they should do without their master ("I'm going fishing"! §), so perhaps they needed to know why they had been chosen.  Here are a few thoughts to help you explore the differences between Commissions, Mission Statements and Visions, along with some practicalities.

Mission Statements are made up of three definitive elements: economic, life quality and the affected parties.  For example: This organisation aims to improve both the economic well-being and the quality of life of all stakeholders.  It explains why this group or church exists.  It'll be easily understood by all who read it in your locality; the townspeople and media will be encouraged to know you're part of the community.

A church's examination of this against the Great Commission § may determine that making disciples improves the spiritual fortune - or lot - of the affected party, and healing improves the quality of life of the person here on earth.

Jesus' commission was achievable - he didn't declare that we should change the whole world, just make disciples of all nations.   However, the commission is only achievable in his way, his humility, his power - for example, healing.  When we write our church or group mission statement, make it achievable.

When considering your church mission statement, you may want to show how God's love infiltrates all your activity, intentions and target audiences.  You may develop the perfect textbook statement - but end up sounding like a clanging gong, a clashing cymbal §.  What would you change or include in this first example:

Choir mission statement example:  This choir strives to enrich the Church by leading us into the glorious presence of God

Vision Statements should inspire the team or congregation to greater things.  For example, the vision of a football club may be to win the cup.  While it may not be as achievable, it should remain credible - not many teams aim to lose!  It is up to the leader or leadership to express the vision in such a way that the team are hungry to work towards it.

Choir vision example: The choir seek to explore new heights and depths in worship

The Aim of a project, group or church is more easily achieved.  The soup kitchen aims to feed all who are needy in their remit, even if the minestrone ends up a little thin.

Choir aim example: The aims of the choir include all members attending weekly practices, singing in tune and staying awake in the sermon.

Any group setting Objectives may wish to make use of the SMART acronym:   make sure that your objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.  A standard objective for the music director could be: The hymns, songs and carols for Christmas this year will be chosen, printed and practised twice by the first week in Advent (or: before you eat the first chocolate in your Advent calendar!).

Choir objective example: Each choir member is expected to bring their music folders, complete and tidy, to each practice

Exercise for your organisation

* Consider your existing Vision with your leadership team and upgrade it if there are any doubts about its purpose, content or ability to inspire your audience.

* Create an achievable Mission Statement which all your group can understand.

* Encourage your leadership team to help each other draft aims and objectives for their teams and groups.

Small Group Exercise

Use the thoughts in this House Group Exercise to create realistic mission and vision statements for your church/group:

Mission:  All in our House Groups know that they are to welcome new and existing members from their neighbourhood to help them grow, week by week, in their faith and as part of the wider church group.

Vision:  Each House Group is looking forward to being able to split and plant new House Groups in the area.

Aim:  Our House Groups will help you learn more about Christian faith and how to apply it in your life.

Sample objective:  This month our house groups will work through another of St Paul's Epistles to examine and understand how the Holy Spirit changes and empowers our relationships with each other and with God.

It may also be worth exploring the qualities of a leader to see who would be best at helping secure the buy-in of the congregation...