Copyright 2012 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
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Church Growth Basics
WHERE THE COMPLEXITY OF CHURCH GROWTH INTERSECTS WITH THE SIMPLICITY OF THE GOSPEL
…upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
— Matthew 16:18
The mission purpose statement of a church is a very important part of your church growth mix. One of the reasons people drop out of church is from a lack of affinity. When people don't know what the purpose of the church is, it will lead to confusion, fragmentation, and disappointment. This lack of affinity goes virtually undetected and cost the church unknown times in members, because it is often an overlooked part of the growth mix.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from
his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then
make my joy complete by being like-
So what is a mission purpose statement? Before making church growth plans for the future we must have an understanding of where God wants us to go. The direction God wants us to go, is our mission purpose statement. Isn't that a simple enough concept? Don't get the mission purpose statement and the plan or church growth strategies of accomplishing your mission confused. This is where most churches go wrong, and why most mission purpose statements are of no use. Your mission purpose statement is a very important part of your church growth mix, since it is the anchor of what you do. All your church growth ideas and strategies will be based on that mission.
In my home church, Idlewild Baptist Church, we have four words that explain our mission. This is the best example I can give you, and I didn't write it. (I wish I had.)
The four words are:
Wow! What more do you need to communicate your purpose as a church. Not only is it simple and easy to remember, it is also in order of a continuous cycle. Notice how short and simple this example is. How does it compare to others you have seen or heard?
You may be asking if the mission purpose statement is really that important. Would you buy property, build a factory, and hire a thousand workers without telling them what they were to build? Keep in mind, telling the factory workers what they are to build and how they are to build it, is two different things. In the same way, we cannot expect to mobilize a church by letting everyone presume what our joint purpose is.
I want to share this story that was first published about fourteen years ago in one of our church growth newsletters. In my daily travels I am in hundreds of churches each year for various reasons. During the week I was gathering notes to write "How To Write A Mission Purpose Statement", the Lord gave me an interesting experience. As I entered one church office, the secretary asked me to wait a moment while she answered the phone. I could not help but hear the answers given promptly by the secretary to the obvious prospective visitor on the other end of the line. The time of worship, the location of the church, the style of worship, and the mission purpose statement. Yes, they asked the mission purpose statement of the church. The secretary answered all the questions with enthusiasm, even that last one about the mission purpose statement.
I wondered how many secretaries, receptionist, even ministerial staff around the country would have been able to answer that question? Could your staff answer that question? How many of your members could answer that question? Could you even answer that question?
I felt as though God had put me there in that church at that very time to hear this conversation. It was a great experience, although I have opportunity to see many mission purpose statements throughout the year. Some are very good, and others, an attorney and an insurance agent together would have trouble reading those documents. (No offense to you professionals!)
Sometime last year as I worshipped in a Wednesday evening church service with excess of 1,000 in attendance, the pastor did something I had never seen before. He took some money out of his wallet, held it up and said, "If anyone can quote the mission purpose statement, I will give this to you." The response would have made an extremely boring episode of the game show, Jeopardy. This church has published the mission purpose statement on every bulletin, so it is available to all members and guests. The "winner" of the pastor's money was only "close enough" to the idea of the mission purpose statement.
Why could so many people not respond? In my estimation the mission purpose statement of that church is too long. In writing a mission purpose statement, don't make it difficult to remember. Don't use reams of paper, just keep it short and simple. You don't want to confuse your mission with your technique or tactics.
How does a church get started? The first thing I would suggest is preaching sermons dealing with the subject. This will prepare the church for the process. A scriptural basis, is a must. There are resources available to help with this important task. One resource is the workbook, "Planning For The Next Five Years In A Southern Baptist Church". If your not a Southern Baptist like I am, it will still be a useful resource, but this article may well be enough to help you.
Next, prepare a tentative mission purpose statement. You may be using a long range planning committee to do this depending on how your church is structured. If a committee of sorts will be preparing the statement, each member of that committee should write their own statement to be reviewed and edited later in the group. Here are some suggestions for editing the statement:
Be certain the statement defines the direction God wants the church to go and not the methods to be used to get there. Once the process is complete, more ownership should be generated through circulating the statement to deacons, church counsel, and other groups. Discuss with them the tentative statement.
We have a great statement, now what? You are ready to present the mission statement to the church for adoption. Once approved, publish it on everything possible. Above all, use it to determine actions the church will participate in. If the action does not work toward accomplishing the mission, then it should not be considered as an official activity of the church. Imagine every activity of the church working toward your mission. Would your church become less like a club house and become a more powerful force in your community? The answer is yes!
I pray this lesson will help you to understand the mission purpose statement and bring a confidence to tackle the task of revising or writing a mission purpose statement for the first time. You can use it as a guideline, adjusting the details to fit your church environment. Following these simple guidelines, you will be able to lead your church in creating an effective and useful mission purpose statement.
copyright ©2012 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
HOW TO WRITE A MISSION PURPOSE STATEMENT
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
HOW TO WRITE A MISSION PURPOSE STATEMENT FOR YOUR CHURCH