Mission Statements and the Declining Church

About 15 years ago, First Christian came up with a mission statement. As far as I can tell, it was designed and then was set aside. As mission statements go, it’s not the most exciting statement. We have toyed with the idea of working on a new mission statement for the congregation. Lots of churches have them and some do try to live by them.

Earlier in the year, Alan Bevere noted that there is already a mission statement for the church; the Great Commission:

But does the church need to develop a mission statement when Jesus has already given us one?
And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:18-20).
I know that when churches develop mission statements they mean well, but in doing so do they unintentionally suggest that they can improve upon the mission Jesus gave the church some two millennia ago? We are to go to all the nations in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and that mission has not changed. Perhaps we feel the need to have a second mission statement because we want to add our two cents, believing we have to have a say in what we should be doing as the church.

Is Alan right? Should churches just forego trying to craft unique mission statements and just live out the statement given by Jesus?

I don’t know. My aspie mind tends to dismiss things like mission statements. They seem like Christmas lights, things that blink and flash for no other reason that to look pretty.

What do people think? Do churches really need mission statements?


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