When I coach a ministry leader about mission clarity I often make a distinction between the purpose of the church and the mission of the church. The ultimate purpose of the church is to glorify God and please Him in all that we do. (I Cor. 10:31) The mission of the church is the calling on the congregation to accomplish a particular task. As I understand the scriptures it is to accomplish the Great Commission. With that said we must individually determine what the Great Commission exactly means and how we are called to fulfill it.
I believe there are at least five strong reasons you should clarify your calling as a congregation so everyone understands what your church is to do and how they are to do it.
First, knowing your mission gives meaning to your congregational life and existence. If you find the giving in your church to be below what you know it should and could be then you might look at your mission clarity. If you find that your volunteer involvement is below what it should and could be then you might look at your mission clarity. If your mission is unclear and people don’t understand why you are gathering as a church other than to hold regular services then you might want to give some attention to your mission statement. Is it clear, concise and compelling? Does it stir the hearts of your people so they want to give their lives to fulfilling it? Does your calling as a church energize your congregation?
Second, knowing your mission simplifies your congregational life. Mission clarity can help you define what you do and don’t do as a congregation. Your mission becomes the standard your leadership team uses to evaluate which ministry activities are essential and which are not. Mission clarity can help you develop a sieve through which you run every existing and new ministry ideal through to determine if it qualifies in helping you fulfill your calling. Without mission clarity you have no foundation on which to base ministry decisions, allocate resources and correctly use your ministry times. If you don’t have this nailed down you will tend to make decisions based on political pressure, circumstances, and the mood at the moment. You will have a difficult time judging when you have completed your mission if it is not clear what your mission is.
Third, knowing your mission focuses your congregation. Mission clarity helps you and your congregation concentrate their energy and effort on what is most important. It helps you become effective by being selective. We all struggle with staying focused and we easily get distracted by other issues in life. Without mission clarity and a commitment to it your congregation may keep changing directions and never keep at a particular set of ministries within your church design to give them time to work effectively. Staying fully focused is key to long-term fulfillment of your calling and the health and fitness of your congregation.
Four, knowing your mission motivates your congregational life. If you find the people in your congregation, and particularly the key leaders, to be passionate about everything else except your congregational calling you have a problem. Mission clarity should motivate your congregation to action. It should energize your people. If your volunteer involvement is sluggish and irregular you might look at the clarity of your mission statement. Is anyone motivated to fulfill it? If your cause is not God sized or a good fit for your church then you might need to give some attention to perfecting it.
Five, knowing your mission prepares your congregation to invest in eternity. It is human nature to expend our resources, personal energy and so forth into the now and now. A clear mission that is eternally focused will help your congregation self correct their priorities, passion and efforts to what last forever. A clear mission will help your people prepare for eternity and the judgement that is to individually come once we are there. We need to focus on what is important to God and what He would have us to accomplish while here on planet earth. Mission clarity will give your congregation a leg up on doing just that.
Source: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren