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Cultivating Purpose: Crafting Your Church's Unifying Mission Statement


A diverse group of cheerful people serving and sharing food in a soup kitchen with large pots and ladles, embodying community service and fellowship.
Living our mission: The joy of service reflects our church's core values, as we gather to meet the needs of our community with open hearts. Image (c) Joy Church App

Creating a distinct and effective mission statement for your church is essential for guiding your congregation towards a unified purpose. Your mission should not only reflect your church's values and beliefs but should also serve as a roadmap for your community engagements and spiritual journey. In this blog post, we'll delve into the key steps for crafting such a mission statement, ensuring it resonates with both your congregation and the larger community you serve.


Begin with Prayer and Reflection


Establishing a Foundation in Faith

Start the mission statement crafting process with a foundation deeply rooted in prayer and spiritual reflection. This is essential for ensuring that the mission statement is not just a collection of words, but a true representation of your church’s faith and calling.


Gathering a Diverse Leadership Team

Assemble a team of leaders from various backgrounds and roles within your church. Diversity in this group is key, as it brings a range of perspectives and insights, enriching the process of defining your church's mission.


Seeking Divine Guidance Together

Encourage this group to engage in collective prayer and spiritual discussions. This process helps in seeking divine guidance and ensuring that the mission statement is aligned with the broader vision and spiritual direction of the church.



Identify Your Core Values


Listing Key Values and Beliefs

Before drafting the mission statement, it’s crucial to identify the core values and beliefs that define your church. These values are the building blocks of your mission statement and should reflect the heart and soul of your church community.


Values Driven Leadership, Discovering and Developing Your Core Values for Ministry by Aubrey Malphurs warns, "The greatest challenge in uncovering the core values of a congregation is the willingness of individuals to release their personal agendas and allow a sense of corporate values to emerge. This takes great objectivity and can be difficult to do.


Once the values are discerned and articulated in a statement, it is imperative that the congregation allow the understood values to shape ministry, guide decision making, set goals and priorities, plan budgets and determine the best use of human and material resources. This focus can maximize a congregation’s potential for living into its Godgiven mission. "


Collaborative Filtering and Prioritization

With your leadership team, engage in a process of filtering and prioritizing these values. Discuss and determine which values are most crucial and should be at the forefront of your church's mission statement.


Reflecting Community and Faith

It’s important that your core values not only represent your leadership's vision but also resonate with your wider congregation. They should be inclusive, reflecting both the community you serve and the faith you uphold.


Filter and Prioritize


Refining Core Values for Impact

With a comprehensive list of values in hand, the next step is to refine and prioritize these values. Engage in thoughtful discussions with your leadership team to identify which values are most essential and strongly resonate with both the leadership and the congregation.


Assessing Congregation and Community Needs

Understanding the needs of your community is vital. This can be achieved through various methods:

  • Conducting Surveys: Utilize surveys to gather feedback from your congregation on what they value most in the church's mission. Surveys can be conducted online or during services for broader participation. Joy Church App's integrated polling feature allows you to send, receive, and analyze surveys at any point to help you with this endeavor.

  • Hosting Focus Groups: Organize focus group sessions with different segments of your congregation to delve deeper into their needs and expectations. Read Tips for Facilitating Focus Groups from the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace.

  • Engaging in Direct Conversations: Encourage church leaders to have one-on-one or small group conversations with members to gain more personal insights into their spiritual and social needs.

Involving the Entire Congregation

A mission statement should be a reflection of the entire church community:

  • Soliciting Broad Input: Actively seek input and feedback from all congregation members, ensuring diverse voices are heard and considered in the mission-crafting process.

  • Creating Ownership and Buy-in: By involving the congregation, you create a sense of ownership and buy-in, which is crucial for the mission statement to be embraced and lived out by everyone. For more insight into this, read 7 Reasons You Need to Let Your Congregation Catch Up With the Vision from the Center for Healthy Churches.


Draft the Mission Statement


Crafting a Mission Statement That Resonates

The art of writing a mission statement lies in striking a balance between clarity and inspiration. Your mission statement should encapsulate the essence of your church's vision in a way that is both memorable and succinct, typically no more than a sentence or two to ensure it sticks in the minds of your members and the community. Anatomy of a Mission Statement - Plus 5 Quality Examples by Sriram Palaniapan reminds us that, "The mission statement is the first and most important tool for strategic planning. A good mission statement should be concise, clear, and consistent with your values. It can be used as a compass and a benchmark to guide your organization."


Infusing Uniqueness into Your Mission

Distinguish your church by spotlighting what makes it unique. Reflect on your church’s specific approach to worship, community service, and spiritual programs. This distinctiveness will help your mission statement stand out and resonate more deeply with your congregation and the broader community.


Jim Baker, in an article named 12 Sources For Discovering Church Uniqueness says, "God has purposefully designed each church distinctive and unique from any church that ever has or ever will exist. With that unique design comes a calling and a set of ministry assignments that are distinctive.


Just as an individual must discover their personality, gifts, abilities, experiences and passions to effectively discern their Kingdom calling, each church must learn and understand its divine DNA to discern the ministry assignments God has uniquely created them to pursue."


Collaborative Refinement

Engage in a collaborative refinement process. Present the draft to your church leadership and a representative group from your congregation. Encourage honest feedback and be open to revisions. This iterative process is key to crafting a mission statement that truly reflects the collective vision of your church.


Effective Communication of the Mission

Once you have a final version, communicating the mission statement effectively is crucial:

  • Preaching the Mission: Launch the mission statement with a sermon series that unpacks its themes and its relevance to the church’s vision and day-to-day activities.

  • Digital Presence: Make your mission statement prominent across all digital platforms, including your website and social media profiles, to ensure it's seen and embraced by all, near and far. In the Joy Church App, your mission statement can be included on the home page for members and non-members alike. Simply incorporate your new Mission Statement into one of your "quotes" sections.

  • Incorporation into Printed Materials: Feature your mission statement in all printed materials, from bulletins to outreach brochures, as a constant reminder of your church’s foundational beliefs and goals. Keep print material brief and to the point. Print pieces are the most effective when they are a “highlight” of information, so create action steps that are clear and simple.

  • Ongoing Reinforcement: Regularly reinforce the mission statement in church communications to keep it at the forefront of your congregation’s mind. This can be through weekly sermons, Bible studies, newsletters, and strategic meeting agendas.

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Crafting a mission statement that is both distinct and effective is no small feat. However, by grounding your process in prayer, identifying core values, involving your congregation, and making strategic decisions about wording and communication, you can create a mission that not only guides but also inspires. Remember, a well-crafted mission statement serves as a compass that aligns all the activities of your church, ensuring that you are focused, purposeful, and impactful in fulfilling your spiritual and community responsibilities.

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