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Mission | Vision | Strategy | Values – What’s the Difference?

Have you ever been confused by the terms mission, vision, strategy, and values?

Join the club.

I’m certainly no expert on the subject. But, in this series of posts, I’ll share my thoughts on each one along with their distinctions and how they can be used in our family ministries.

Throughout the series, I’ll use the analogy of a road trip to help us relate to each term and see how they work together. I’ll also include some common handles and discuss how it all relates to family ministry.

Part 1 – Mission
Part 2 – Vision
Part 3 – Strategy
Part 4 – Values

Mission

What question does our mission answer?

Mission answers the question – What is our purpose?

For churches, this one should be pretty easy. It’s not decided by us. God gave the Church (all Christians) our mission when Jesus declared we should “go and make disciples” (The Great Commission).

In the road trip analogy, mission is the reason for the trip

Sometimes people take road trips for no reason other than to spend time exploring. Most trips, however, have some specific purpose. The purpose of your trip might be to get to Disney World. More than that, though, the ultimate purpose is probably to create some lasting memories as a family. It’s the reason you’re on the journey in the first place. Our journey as the Church is different in that we never arrive as we carry out our mission.

What should a mission statement look like?

Our mission statements should be brief, as in 6-12 words. It’s a re-wording of The Great Commission shared above. Here are church mission statements from some well-known churches:

  • Leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ – North Point
  • To turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ – Willow Creek
  • To reach people far from God and teach them how to follow Jesus step by step – Newspring

How does this relate to Family Ministry?

I am of the opinion that a church should have one common mission statement and that statement should be used in every ministry of the church. I don’t think it’s wrong, however, to come up with mission statements for each ministry for example. Something else I’ve seen is where churches make a slight modification of the mission for each ministry. I think that’s okay too.

However, in my opinion, the more complex something gets, the less people remember it and the less they own it. Therefore, I lean towards having one mission statement for the church and not creating separate statements for each ministry.

Action Step

Make sure your church mission statement is clear, concise, memorable and true to The Great Commission. This is the most important of the four items we’ll discuss because without a clear mission it doesn’t really matter if we get the other things right or not.

What questions do you have about mission statements?