Mission, Vision, and Action - Issue #211 (November 14, 2014)
This is an excerpt from a PDF download. To download the full text of this document click: Mission, Vision, and Action
Have you ever heard someone say something like “This is a waste of time! We wrote a mission statement ten years ago, and all we did was file it somewhere. We don’t need a mission statement; we need to decide what we’re going to do!” Exercises in writing mission statements will be pointless unless they represent how the people discern God’s call in their lives and inform how the people will worship, learn, and serve together.
Memorial United Methodist Church in Gladstone, MI, is an example of a congregation learning to live out its" stated mission: "We live to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ." Leaders in the congregation have discovered that their challenge in embodying the mission is primarily one of interpretation: What does this mission really mean to us? What does it mean to participate in this mission?
Each area of the church’s ministry is attempting to answer these questions by developing a vision statement that illustrates how the mission will “look” when it is lived out. For example, the team that plans for faith development envisions a “spirit-filled, joyful community of believers that is contagious to all.” This team is committed to offering opportunities in faith development for all ages that will connect people’s hearts to God and to one another.
To help people in the congregation understand the church’s mission, the church started several small groups that used Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations to explore significant aspects of congregational life. Each group decided when, where, and how often they would meet. Discussion revolved around how the five practices relate to discipleship and how the practices are incorporated into the life of the congregation. The goal was to create a passion for living as disciples of Jesus Christ, thereby moving mission and vision statements from words on a page to action in people’s life.
Questions for Discussion
- How would participants in your congregation describe your mission?
- In what ways does your congregation offer opportunities to explore the connections between mission, vision, and action in daily life?
- How does each ministry team use your mission and vision to plan and evaluate ministry throughout the year?
You can visit Memorial UMC online at www.gladstonechurch.org and on Facebook.