Remember life before Mission Statements?
I remember back to the good 'ol days, before mission statements, vision statements, measurable goals, strategic plans, and purpose driven everything. In those days life was simple, Chubby Bunny, DC Talk, the 4 Laws, and Pizza ruled the day. And somehow by God's grace, churches grew, people came to know and love Jesus, and some of those people even felt called by God to go into ministry.
As corporate language has invaded the church there has been a sharpening of focus for churches and for ministry. This corporate language is not the point of this blog, and I apologize if you went into anaphylactic shock because of it. Yes, I agree the church isn't corporate and we hate all things corporate (except Apple). But every church I have been to and every youth worker I talk to says that they want their church and their ministry to grow. And while they assure me that growth means spiritual growth, we all know what we mean, numerical growth. And the people who have been leading the charge are those who have taken the best of the corporate world and used them in the church.
A list of mission statements:
And this is where vision statements come in. When you know what you are about and what you are aiming for, you actually have a shot of getting there. "If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time." So the question is what are we aiming for? After spending 10 seconds googling, I came across this list:
- Building relationships with God and young people
- Engaging young people with God
- Connecting with youth in an appropriate way, so they understand God is relevant to them today.
- Enabling today's youth to be tomorrow's Christian leaders
- Planting seeds of discipleship to grow great Christians
- Preaching, teaching, leading, and living the Christian life to excite and inspire young people.
- Fishing them to be fishers of men
- Impacting young people through the message of the Bible to create young men and women who love Jesus
- Using all appropriate methods to excite, inspire, capture and ignite young people for Jesus
- To enable young people to understand and recognize who Jesus is, and what it is to live for Him only.
- Bringing the contemporary message of Christianity to today's youth
- Building solid Christians on the foundation of The Solid Rock.
This is a decent list. I am sure your statement is much more compelling, but this is still a good list all the same. Each of these statements do exactly what a mission statement is supposed to do. It focuses where you are going and then hopefully everything you do and all the things you say no to doing happen because the don't meet with that mission.
I have found that the longer I have been doing this the easier it is to become disillusioned with youth ministry and with mission statements. Mostly because the things we are trying to do are way to big and totally out of our control. I love this list because there realistic and measurable goals as well as just Christianese gobily gook.
Because I wanted to fit in, I spent some serious time over a few hours and thought about my ministry. I looked at what I do and wrestled with why I do it. I reflected on my ministry career and looked for the values that have shaped all that I have done. I look back at my successes and failures over my tenure. And then reexamined why I counted certain things successes and others. failures. And after this process, I came up with my mission statement.
The more that I have reflected on this statement and its implications, I am becoming more and more convinced that this may not be the most inspiring mission statement, but it is the mission that youth workers are truly called to do.
The Mission Statement of MCC's Student Ministry:
To make the Christian Faith and the Institutional Church a viable option for our students in their adulthood.
Don't rush to judgement. Think about it, think about our students, think about what we truly want for our students 10-20 years from now. Think of all the criticism that gets levied at the church and at the Christian faith, and think of the ways you are trying to combat that. After you have given it a little bit of thought, what do you think? Is yours better? If so, please share :)