Making your mission statement count

By Wayne Schwab

What’s your church’s mission statement?

“Everybody knows it is to live the baptismal covenant!”   [Every church has some form of promises it asks of new members.]

Is that enough?  Does it really get into behavior?  Does it really get into what members actually do to make the world a better place?

In the Episcopal Church, the covenant is one and a third pages long (BCP pp. 304-5). The full page is about belief, regular worship, repentance for wrongdoing and return to the Lord.

Only a third of a page is about life in the world – about living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, loving your neighbor as yourself, working for peace and justice, and respecting the dignity of every human being.

How much the world needs members living that third of a page 24/7/365!  How much it needs members trying to live with love and justice wherever they are all the time!

That’s what your church’s mission statement should be about.

That means the primary purpose or mission statement of a church should be to help its members to live better every day.

What does such a mission statement look like?  Here is a short one for starters.

First Methodist / Annunciation Lutheran / Trinity Episcopal Church exists to support its members in their daily living as Christians.

Writing a mission statement?

by Wayne Schwab

Are you writing your church’s mission statement?  Don’t begin by asking everyone to describe what they want the church to be doing; drawing together all the responses; and presenting them to the church for approval; and filling up many meetings and many weeks.
What’s more, it’s the wrong place to start.  It’s centered in us.  Start with God and God’s mission.  Look for what God is up to in the world you see around you. Ask the church and each member.  Work from the biblical narrative – the prophets’ call to justice; Jesus’ call to love as well as justice; the gift of the Spirit to everyone.
So, begin with God’s mission to make the world more loving and more just.  Jesus came to live God’s mission for all to see. Your church’s mission is to continue God’s mission in Jesus Christ to make the world more loving and more just. In baptism and reaffirmation of faith, each member joins Jesus’ mission to make the world more loving and more just.