Why Do I Need A Mission Statement?
Developing a Mission Statement will direct you in your ministry and help you communicate what you do to others. The Bible, along with many years of proven building technologies tenets, affirms the necessity of building a firm foundation for any structure. This premise is certainly true in starting and building a ministry or organization or improving an existing one. The age old proverb given in Proverbs 29:18, “Without a vision the people perish” is as true today as when it was written many thousands of years ago.
What Is The Difference Between A Mission Statement and Vision Statement?
It is important to understand the difference between a mission and a vision statement. A mission statement describes why your organization exists and what it does; it addresses the near term. A vision statement, on the other hand, is a dream of what you would like your organization to become and describes your preferred future state. Vision comes from the heart as well as from the head. A vision statement aligns key players, energizes people to achieve a common purpose, and provides a compass for decision making.
Some biblical examples of visions include: Nehemiah – to build the wall, Moses – to take Israel to the Promised Land, David and Solomon – to build the temple, Jesus – creation, salvation and re-creation.
The Process For Developing Your Mission Statement
In developing your mission statement, you need to think through why your ministry or organization exists relative to: a) the Lord, b) your church, c) those you serve or will serve, d) those that serve or work for or with you, and e) non- Christians. Some other key questions related to mission include the strengths you have, the reason for being in this ministry, the shared values of your ministry, what differentiates your ministry from other ministries, and how you would like others to describe your ministry.
In developing your vision statement, you need to think through such questions as: a) what your dream is for your ministry, b) what you would like your ministry to develop into in the next three to five years, c) the common thread that you would like to have run through your ministry, d) what you would like to be unique or distinctive that would set your ministry apart from others, e) what excellence you would like your ministry to have, and f) what the attributes would be that describe success for your ministry.
Help With The Process
The process for developing your mission statement is to think through the questions above related to mission and circle the five words or phrases that best answer the question: (name of your ministry) exists to_____________________________________. You complete the thought using the words or phrases that you have selected from the mission questions above.
For developing your vision statement, you use much the same process by addressing the vision questions above, but this time completing the thought: (Name of your organization) will be or become_____________________________________. You complete the thought using the words that you have selected from the above vision questions.
When you have drafted your mission and vision statements, test them by selecting a few people you know and respect who know enough about what you are trying to do to provide you thoughtful input. Listen to what they have to say, and make meaningful modifications, remembering that you are ultimately the one responsible for the success of your organization.
The Next Step
Once you have laid a firm foundation with your mission and vision statements, use them for decision making, developing your plan, and assessing your organization’s progress and performance.
In the weeks to come I will be posting articles addressing the important topics of Mission and Vision Development, Effective Communications, Becoming a Learning Organization, Effective Time Management, Organizational Assessment (Accountability) and How to Continually Build Your Team
Article written by Larry Sagely, Director Christian Vision Alliance Inc.