Purpose Statements

Monday, March 03, 2008

Many will remember back in the 90's when the big "Purpose Driven Church" movements came into existence. At the time I was a clueless 15 year old who just kind of went along with it all, but I did remember that we were challenged by our youth pastor to memorize our "Mission Statement". In fact, we were expected to know it at a moments notice and could even win $1 if we asked a leader to recite it and they didn't know it.

I never did memorize it...it was like a paragraph long. But I DO remember the key words: Reach, Connect, Grow and Discover! I never read Purpose Driven Church or Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. I guess I just dislike program oriented churches.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with some individuals that I know and trust and laid out all the challenges that we are facing in our student ministry. I drove home with the conclusion that we just flat out lack a vision.

Vision is different than a purpose statement.

Vision is a matter of the heart.
Purpose is a product of the mind.

You can have the greatest purpose statement in the world that is short, quick, easy to memorize and even say a lot about your organization, but if it lacks vision it's just a lot of words on paper. Vision is what drives people, not purpose. Let me give an example from a mission statement I found (and actually happen to like):

" Youth Ministry is a church wide ministry which strives to provide a variety of opportunities and experiences to draw teens into active, responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the faith community and the greater church."

I like this because it has vision! You can sense that the person(s) who wrote this, had a wide view of what a church ministry should look like. Two years ago, I had a vision. Today it's been twisted and misguided into every day pressures and influences. I would like to make a stop to that and regain the vision I once had.

So now I need a vision.


jeremy zach said...

Great distinction. I have heard the words of: Mission, purpose, and vision statement all grouped together. However each stand for a specific trajectory.

Vision should reflect the pulse and heart of the ministry while the mission instructs how the vision will be accomplished.