5 Ways Church Vision & Mission Statements Fail You.
Most pastors understand the importance of their church vision and mission. These statements hold key church leadership onto a path with a clear destination. They’re critical! Most churches invest into several months of internal investigation, soul-searching, and artistic crafting, in order to pen the perfect vision and mission statements. Some even itemize values to coordinate and unite ministries.
But church vision and mission will rarely build your congregation. Here’s why they’ll fail you:
- They’re internally focused. Church vision and mission are developed from strong biblical guardrails, current ministries, members, and leadership. Once someone attends your church for awhile, they may understand why these statements are important. But they’re not intended to bring an outsider into your church. The people who might be attracted? A disgruntled church member who doesn’t like their church’s vision and mission — and like yours better.
- They’re too complex and pithy. Because of the technical nature of these statements, there’s added adjectives and adverbs that clarify the uniqueness of scriptural application for your local church. Scripture is quite simple when it comes to why a local church exists and the requirements for leaders and members. Most church vision and mission statements don’t reflect that simplicity. Instead, they’re so intellectually differentiating to separate yourself from other ministries, that they’re long and often overly clever.
- They’re rarely unique or memorable. When we conduct church focus groups, seldom do church mission and vision statements ever arise in the conversation about the church. If they do, many can’t remember exact wording. When asked, the member infrequently thinks their mission and vision is unique from others in the area.
- They’re not usable in promotion. Because of their complexity and difficulty to remember, mission and vision will rarely be used in promotional materials. Why? It’s not aimed externally to bring unchurched through the doors. Rather, a simple thread (the mission and vision converted for external use) rolls off the tongue so it controls the reasons when a member is asked why they attend. What else I’ve discovered? The lead Pastor thinks, because of his internal knowledge of the vision and mission, that everyone knows the statements; so slowly, they’re not mentioned or included anywhere. No wonder why most don’t remember them!
- They need an explanation to be beneficial. People regularly attend a church and are active with organizations that are helpful, needed, and beneficial. A solution to a need or path to a goal. Church vision and mission are an explanation of path parameters for the church. They help define why someone would continue with a church — but it often requires a greater explanation. Most people start with the explanation and drop the formal vision and mission statements.
Instead, every church needs a church branding thread. It converts the church vision and mission into an outwardly-focused, beneficial, needed, unifying, and usable tagline that’s usable by your members. When heard by your community? It gets their interest and gives them THE reason to attend.