How To Write A Compelling (And Memorable) Mission Statement For Your Church
Does writing a mission statement for your church seem daunting?
Let me start with a bit of advice and a warning: your mission statement is important, but if wordsmithing a sentence is causing months-long delays of progress, then it’s time to stop overthinking, accept “good enough”, or hire a consultant to help guide you through the process so that you can focus on what you’re really called to do.
Where Pastors Get Stuck When Writing A Mission Statement
Whether you’re a church planter establishing a new church or a lead pastor reorienting your church for a new season of ministry, writing a mission statement should not be that hard.
And yet, a lot of pastors get tripped up on it.
- They want it to be memorable.
- They want it to be biblical.
- They want it to have an astronomical amount of alliteration (see what I did there?)
- And just for funsies, they want to throw some buzzwords in along the way.
In theory, that sounds like the perfect, marketable mix, but more often than not you end up with a slurry of words normal people don’t use and run-on sentences full of complex ideas.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
What Does A Good Church Mission Statement Need To Include?
The Bible actually gives us a cheat code for this in Matthew 28:18-20.
Every church’s mission statement should be rooted in The Great Commission.
Putting your own spin on it so it fits the unique nature and culture of your church, unfortunately, is where things tend to go off the rails.
A Church Planter’s Story
Recently I’ve been guiding a church planter through developing his church’s mission statement.
He struggled with producing complex concepts that often prioritized being clever over being clear. He’d then go back to the drawing board and rewrite it again, and again, and again. With each ebb and flow, one element or another would move further from the target.
- Did the examples point back to The Great Commission? Not always.
- Was it clear? Not always.
- Was it repeatable? Not always.
Frankly, it’s all too relatable. When we overthink, we don’t produce our best work. Rather than refine, we reinvent. And before long so much valuable time gets wasted.
This church planter has been working on his church’s mission for months. Yes, months. And that reality means it’s holding him back from progressing to vision and more important things.
The process does not have to be complicated, but trying to get it just right can feel absolutely exhausting.
In the end, I offered this simple, memorable, and Great Commission-oriented mission statement as a solution:
“We exist to help people embark on a journey of faith that’s worth sharing with others.”
It summarizes the core of The Great Commission, includes the natural use of the church’s name (Embark), and even incorporates a keyword from their brand language (“journey”).
This simple, concise mission statement checked all the boxes of why they exist while still feeling like them.
How To Start Writing A Mission Statement For Your Church
So where do you start? Here’s where I recommend you begin when writing your mission statement:
1. Reread The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.
2. Get the basic idea outlined in your own words. This should be your raw, unedited response. Do not wordsmith anything. It can be full sentences or it can be bullet points – it doesn’t matter.
3. Then, rephrase your initial idea around the framing of “We exist to_____”.
4. Rough polish.
- Is it simple? If there’s anything that doesn’t fit, get rid of it. Don’t get lost in the weeds with detail. Remove nonessentials and words that don’t change the overall meaning of the text.
- Is it clear? The language shouldn’t sound like it came from a doctoral thesis of a theologian.
- Is it memorable? Avoid lengthy or complex statements.
5. Refine. If key words or phrases naturally fit, now is the time to incorporate them. However, if doing so compromises the simplicity, clarity, or repeatability of what you’ve previously established, SKIP IT.
Final Review For A Clear And Memorable Mission Statement
- Does it address The Great Commission?
- Does it sound like you?
- Does it use accessible language?
- Did you eliminate unnecessary words to make it as short as possible?
- Is it easily memorable and repeatable?
If you answered “yes” to all of the above, then you’ve successfully written a powerful mission statement for your church. Congratulations!
Still Stuck On Your Mission Statement And Want Someone To Guide You Through The Process?
As a Certified Church Consultant, I’d love to guide you through this — as well as developing your vision statement. Schedule a 30-minute discovery call where we can talk through your sticking points and the next steps of hiring our team to get you on the pathway to progress.