Our Mission: Plain and Simple

Matthew 28:16-20

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I’ve always been amazed by organizations that know what they exist to do, do it well, and evaluate everything they do by their stated mission. Effective businesses and churches should share this trait.

One of the companies I love to watch as they continue to examine what they do and why they do it is the Coca-Cola company. Just take a look at the first part of their mission statement. Look at how clearly, compellingly, and succinctly they put together their mission:

From The Coca-Cola Company: The Introduction

The world is changing all around us. To continue to thrive as a business over the next ten years and beyond, we must look ahead, understand the trends and forces that will shape our business in the future and move swiftly to prepare for what’s to come. We must get ready for tomorrow today. That’s what our 2020 Vision is all about. It creates a long-term destination for our business and provides us with a “Roadmap” for winning together with our bottling partners.

Our Roadmap starts with our mission, which is enduring. It declares our purpose as a company and serves as the standard against which we weigh our actions and decisions.

Our Mission

To refresh the world…
To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…
To create value and make a difference.

They have a clear mission. They have a clear understanding of their identity. They know who they are and what they do and they do it excellently.

What is the church’s mission? This is actually a powerful question to wrestle with among the leadership of our church. There is a lot to accomplish, and we can’t do it all today, so let’s just begin with mission. Why we exist – our purpose for all we do.

Here’s the easy part for the church: our mission has already been given to us! We don’t have to form study committees or listening posts or neighborhood chat groups. We don’t have to form a team to craft the words and put them together.

Our mission is clear: We exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. That’s it, that’s the list.

You know the funny thing? So many churches have gone through hours, days, months, and some even years to craft elegant mission statements. I can’t imagine how many hours we’ve wasted trying to craft mission statements that now hang in the church library somewhere. If you can find the mission statement behind portraits of former pastors, you can see that the leadership of the church took great care and time to form a beautifully written mission statement. The problem is – no one in the church has any idea what it is.

As I search the internet for church mission statements, here are a few I found…

Mission Statement of Riverside Community in Eagle River, Alaska

At Riverside Community Church we’re not about “having it all together” or even pretending we do. We’re just a family trying to grow together toward a God who knows us and can help us put all the pieces of this sometimes bizzare world into perspective. We may not have all the answers but we know someone who does. In fact He not only knows the answers…He made up the questions.

I’m not really sure this is a mission statement, but I love the line, “We’re just a family trying to grow together…” Sounds like my 13-year old making another excuse about why she didn’t finish her homework. Here’s another…

Mission Statement of Friendship Church in Pittsburgh, PA.

The mission of Friendship Seeds of Hope is to sow “the Seed of Hope,” Jesus Christ, in the hearts of many in Bloomfield, Pittsburgh, and to the ends of the earth. Our context is the emerging post-modern culture. Post-moderns have rejected the “trinity” of modernism: reason, nature and progress-and the church that is built on it. Lacking a metanarrative, post-moderns turn to a sort of primitive tribalism, or bury their pain in technology or consumerism. Our mission involves creating a Church that can be a safe gathering place for post-modern people to come experience the grace and forgiveness of God; a family of believers where they can find healing for the things that have hurt and wounded their souls; where they can “belong to believe”-that is, where they can be nurtured and discipled into faith in the one true God and in Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

This one befuddles me. The first sentence is a mission statement, but I’m not sure how the rest of the thing ever becomes anything more than, “blah, blah, blah.” Now, this last one I really like. It is simple, clear, compelling, and best of all – biblical…

Mission Statement of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Jacksonville, FL

Make Disciples

St. Peter’s Catholic Church gets it and our churches need to get it. If we don’t know our mission, then we have no hope of accomplishing it. We must do a better job of proclaiming a clear and compelling mission to ourselves to help us stay focused and guided along the path of our ministry. Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Everything we do in the church should be evaluated in light of our mission. If we don’t know why we exist, then how can we know if we are devoting our time and resources correctly?

If you want to hear more on this, then visit www.wesleyssi.org/listen and check out my February 20th sermon “Making Disciples for the Transformation of the World”

1 thought on “Our Mission: Plain and Simple

  1. I really enjoyed the perspective, John. It seems we sometimes see “wordiness” as effective. I suppose it works if you're selling cars or teying to convince yourself of whatever!

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