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Today is for Team Building

by Brett Gleason on March 1st, 2011

Today is for Team Building.  For a team to be effective it must have a clear reason for existence and clear direction for the future.  It is not enough to have a mission statement - it must be lived out.  Its amazing how many churches have a mission statement posted on their website and printed in their bulletin but do not use that mission statement to guide their decision making process.

As Will Mancini puts it in Church Unique, the mission statement answers "question zero" - the question before all other questions.  Why do we exist?  The mission statement serves those who have joined the church - especially the leadership of the local church.  It gives direction to our efforts.  It sets a boundary for what we will and will not do that is empowering for ministry.  One reason that so many mission statements are not helpful is because they are written primarily as marketing pieces and not as guiding documents.  

Many organizations, especially those that are for profit, create their mission statements.  For example, Starbucks mission statement is, "Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."  That is a tall mission statement for a store that sells coffee (and acts as one of my virtual offices).

But the church does not need to create out of thin air our mission.  Our mission is rooted in the sentness of Jesus Christ.  Jesus says in John 20:21, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."  Or in Matthew 28, "Go and make disciples."  

The local church's mission statement should take this biblical principle and apply it to their local context in a way that is fresh and vibrate.  Here is a quick checklist from Mancini's Church Unique:

  • Remind the church that it exists primarily for those outside
  • Eliminate an us-versus-them mentatlity with outsiders
  • Emphasize the reality of "being the church" twenty-four, seven
  • Reinforce the lifestile of engaging in relationships and conversations with others
  • Connote process for both evangelism and discipleshipSo how does your mission statement stack up?  Does it capture these basic criteria?  

So how does your mission statement stack up.  If you are planting a church, this process must be guided by the lead church planter but he must include others in the dialogue for their wisdom and perspective.  What sounds perfect in the ivory tower might not work in reality.  Don't be in a rush, take your time, and let it develop.

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