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How to write a church mission statement

man writing church mission statement with yellow pen

What is a mission statement?

Your church mission statement can be used as a tool to inspire and lead. It’s foundational and every church should have one. 

But what exactly is a mission statement? Your statement takes what the church does and consolidates it into one or two concise sentences. Sometimes, but not always, the why is included.

Many church mission statements are too long. A good church statement is clear and memorable.

It’s an abbreviation of the church’s calling so anyone who encounters your church, knows what you are about right away. Your mission statement serves as a reminder to yourself, staff & volunteers why they show up to serve.

Four parts that are essential to the mission statement are:

Value

The value the church adds to the world

Motivational
Inspires people to want to be part of the church 

Specific
It’s straightforward and clear

Grounded
God can do anything, we know that. The main thing here is that we want to be led by Him, avoiding pie-in-the-sky visions, instead making sure the mission is grounded in prayer and scriptural wisdom.

With these four parts in play, people walk away knowing the value your church adds and are inspired to be a part of the mission. The mission is crystal clear and they are convinced it can be done because it’s a God thing, and He is the one to accomplish it through us.

How to write a mission statement

  1. Prayer & 3 Questions
  2. Brainstorming session
  3. Narrow it down
  4. Write a first draft
  5. Refine

1. Prayer & 3 Questions

Before setting out on what might seem like a daunting project, know that you are not alone. You are simply clarifying what you already know and most likely, what God has already placed on your heart. And He will definitely be there with you through the process. There’s no need to rush, take some time to pray that this will be led by the Spirit.

There are three questions you’ll want to answer next. What does your church do, how do you do it and why do you do it. Try to answer through the lens of the church body, community and, of course, yourself. Use the following four points we mentioned earlier to help you.

  • Value
  • Motivational
  • Specific
  • Grounded

Working on these questions reconnects you with the heart of the church and clarifies your unique purpose.

2. Brainstorming session

You can do this step on your own or with a team. No need to try to decide anything at this meeting…it’s purely a creative/fun meetup. 

Star the meetup by sharing the questions and answers you came up with in step two and open up the floor for keywords and phrases that answer the answers.

Encourage your team by expressing that there are no wrong answers…throw out whatever words come to mind and have fun with it.

3. Narrow it down

Now it’s time to narrow it down to your favorite keywords and phrases that reflect your church the best. Maybe you opt to reach out for feedback from trusted friends or do this on your own…whatever works best for you.

4. Write a first draft

Using your whittled-down list, set aside some time to work on forming sentences from the words and phrases. Check them against your answers from step one often to see if you are still on track, making sure it has all four key elements. Remember, we’re not writing a paragraph…just a sentence or two will be more effective.

5. Refine

After you have finished the statement it’s a good time to take a break. You’ll want to take some time away before refining.

Now you can return to the first draft and see if there are any places where the wording can be tightened or more precise. See if there are any “fluffy” words. These are just big or superfluous verbage 🙂 that sound pretty but are a distraction from the main thing…clearly articulating the mission.

Because your mission is action oriented, let’s keep it in the present tense.

Stay flexible with your church mission statement

I do want to note that your church mission statement may change over time, and that’s ok! We want to know and be able to explain our purpose but also be open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He guides us and changes our path.

Honestly, we could probably insert prayer before every one of these steps. A church mission statement is not so different from a business statement in its form or function. But there is a HUGE difference in where the inspiration comes from! 

All we’re doing here is expressing the mission God set out for us in advance to do. 

For we are God’s handiwork, Created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared IN ADVANCE for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Let Him guide you to the best possible way to describe it in words.

Statement examples

Here are some examples of church mission statements ranging from very short ( 2 words ) to highly descriptive (40 words.)

  1. Calvary Chapel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL): Making Disciples (2 words) 
  1. Westover Hills (San Antonio, TX): Making New, Making Great (4) 
  1. The Rock (San Diego, CA): Save, Equip, and Send (4) 
  1. City on a Hill (Melbourne, Australia): Know Jesus and Make Jesus Known (6) 
  1. National Community Church (Washington, DC): To make the name of Jesus famous in our generation (10) 
  1. Granger Community Church (Granger, IN): Helping people take their next step toward Christ…together (9) 
  1. Glad Tidings (Omaha, NE): A church where anyone can be transformed by the story of Jesus (12)
  1. Seacoast Church (Mt Pleasant, SC): To help people find God, grow their faith, discover their purpose, and make a difference (15) 
  1. Church of the Highlands (Birmingham, AL): We’re here to help people know God, find freedom, discover their purpose, and make a difference (16) 
  1. Perimeter Church (Duluth, GA): To make and deploy mature and equipped followers of Christ for the sake of Family, Community and Global Transformation (19) 
  1. Mosaic Church (Hollywood, CA): To be a church that lives by faith, is known by love, and is a voice of hope to the world (21) 
  1. Woodlands Church (The Woodlands, TX): To help people experience Christ rather than man’s creation of religion, so they can grow strong in Christ and take the Christ experience to the world (26) 
  1. Cornerstone Church of San Diego (National City, CA): Turning the hearts of youth and families to God and each other. Developing our God-given potential in order to win in every area of our lives. Advancing the Kingdom of God, first throughout our circles of influence, then the nations abroad (40) 

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I'm Meridith

A mom and wife based in Arizona. I love good design and have worked in small churches for lots of years. Now I’m sharing my collection of sermon graphics and some things I’ve learned along the way.

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