In only 10 years of serving in different churches and having many friends serving in churches across the country it hasn’t taken me very long to see that many churches and pastors are not great at sharing their church’s mission and vision whether through preaching, ministries or through the lives of the congregation. Why is that? Why aren’t pastors better at clearly stating and strategically planning around their church’s mission? I mean, every church has a mission statement either being lived out in the life of the church or collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. Chances are it is the latter. But why?
I think it comes down to pastors not knowing how to strategically plan and having not shared the mission or vision either well, or more likely at all. Churches that do not have a clearly stated mission and strategically planned vision usually have stalled or have been declining over the course of many years (or longer!). Why does your church have the programs it does? Why does your church do the events it does? Why does your church continue to do some of the same things every year? These are all great questions to ask and if you don’t know the answer, it probably is because the mission and vision is not clear, or these programs/events haven’t strategically been considered in line with a mission and vision.
Simply haven’t a mission statement on your website that was written decades ago doesn’t mean a thing. A mission must be shared, agreed upon and lived out and worked towards together in all that a church does. A vision is created out of the mission of where is God taking your church and who is He calling you to be. If He is missionally calling you to “make disciples and make Him known,” great! But how will you do this? How is this being done in specific programs, classes and events? Pastors, elders, staff and whoever else is involved in the planning processes must work together alongside a shared mission towards a clear vision of where God is taking the church together. Having a shared mission and vision helps the whole church to know why they are doing what they are doing, why they are spending the budget the way they are, and why programs/events are created, continued or cut from the calendar.
If a church doesn’t know why it is doing things (mission) or where it is going (vision) then it is important for the pastor, elders and staff to work together to share the mission and vision with the church body in all that it does. As Fall season approaches this would be a great conversation to have together as a staff and elder/board. This is a great time to start the conversation together as a staff and elder/board of what the God-given mission and vision is for your church together. It will take about a year or so to go through a strategic planning and change process, so Fall would be a great time to start asking, “Does our church know its mission and vision?” looking ahead to next Fall 2016 to get things ready to set this plan of change in place. The process is hard and will take a long time, but I highly recommend that every church that is unsure about it’s mission and vision consider talking with someone who can help you as a whole church in beginning to think strategically about planning around your mission and vision. It will be the best and most important thing you do for your church and towards the Kingdom work your church is doing and wanting to do.
If you’re a pastor or desiring to start the conversation of knowing your mission and vision in your church, I’d love to talk to you in how you can start that conversation. Shoot me an email in the About Chris section. I have a passion for helping churches know and live out their mission and vision given to them by God and would love to help connect you with someone who can help.